Getting our Move in Gear: Shipping our Car

There’s a good reason for the crickets chirping on my blog this week…..WE GOT OUR ORDERS!!! (the link is to my SpouseBuzz post, so read that real quick and then come back to read this!!)

This is a very exciting thing, because it means we can go full-steam ahead. I can’t tell you how hard it is to be patient while you wait for the military to control everything regarding your move. (And if we’re friends in real life, thank you for putting up with—and continuing to listen—to my rants!) We’re still waiting for the dates when the movers will come take our things away, but at least we have the ball rolling.

Yesterday, my husband took the day off and we drove up to Atlanta in two separate cars. Why did we take both cars to another city? Because we had to drop my car off—it’s currently on its way to Italy! They put it on a boat (cargo ship) and it’ll cruise overseas to our destination.

Moving my car, it turns out, has been the single best experience of this PCS so far. The people at Atlanta’s American Auto Logistics VPC location not only knew exactly what was going on, but they were helpful, understanding, organized, and completely competent for everything. It was seriously amazing and I practically hugged everyone and told them I loved them before I left.

We had to show up with three sets of orders, registration and title (or a permission letter from your lease/loan holder), military ID, a full set of keys, no personal items in the car, have the car vacuumed and washed, and have 1/4 tank or less of gas in the car. 

If you’re ever going to siphon gas, don’t have plastic below the gas container. That’s a very big no-no, since it can apparently start sparks pretty easily.

We had everything but the last requirement. It turns out my car is pretty darn good with gas, and despite driving around and trying to waste gas (I think we’re the only people in America who tried to waste gas), we didn’t succeed and my husband tried siphoning it out. Unfortunately, we could only get about 1/2 a gallon out, so they’re going to run my car in idol to waste gas. 

Once they sign you in, everything in your car gets put into a box that’s signed, sealed, and stashed in the trunk until you get your at the destination.

No personal items may be left in the car—everything with your name must be taken out.
Then it’s on to the inspection. 

They do a very thorough job of checking out every dent, ding, and dimple on your car and make a note of everything. My car is in fairly good shape, but his inspection paper made it look like my car’s been through the ringer! The worry-wort in me wondered what would happen if: A) my car fell off the boat and B) if another car ran into my car on the boat. After laughing at my question for a solid minute, he insured me that—in his nine years on the job—neither have ever happened. Whew! It should get there in one piece…hopefully. 

While they inspected the car we waited in their little waiting area. Even though we don’t have kids, I appreciated the thoughtfulness of having a little kid’s corner. The whole process (minus the siphoning) took exactly 40 minutes, which was much faster than I thought it’d be.

Before we knew it, it was time to say, “adios” to my car. 

Sad face. It was hot, humid, and I looked horrible. Skip this photo and move on to the next.

He checked the odometer one more time and then….

…he was off!

The next time I see my car it’ll be riding along the streets of Italy!


  1. so crazy! i didn't even think about you guys taking a car! Good thing its small. We were surprised by how tiny cars are in Italy in general. Even their "big cars" are nothing compared to the size of US SUV's and crossovers.

  2. I know the feeling all too well!! Waiting for orders is the worst…especially when you HAVE to be somewhere by a certain day and the military personnel can't seem to get it together to get your stuff done! If we could do it ourselves, we would! UGH! It's so frustrating sometimes.

    Glad your car got off on it's way without a hitch! We sold both of ours before we left for Germany last month and bought a German spec'd car when we got here.It was just easier for us that way. My Murano would never fit in a parallel parking spot where we will be living downtown. I literally cried when we sold it. Something about watching your car drive away really solidifies the whole "moving to a foreign country" thing. Gook luck with the rest of your move! I'm looking forward to hearing about your journey to Italy!

  3. How exciting! Crazy that it couldn't just go on the boat with it's gas… then you wouldn't have to fill up in Italy 🙂

  4. For some reason this post reminds me of a story my grandma shares every so often:

    My grandparents got orders to move to France while my grandmother was pregnant with my dad (her 3rd). Just a few short months after my father made his entrance, they were off to France. My grandmother demanded they bring their station wagon (with the wooden panels) with them because she did not trust the French cars and wanted space for her growing family.

    She has so many stories of the antics that she made it through in that silly car. Caught in riots in it, proving she really didn't know the language (hello, American car!) and inter-Europe road trips. That little car racked up stories over the years!

  5. Yay for getting your car shipped! That was a big worry for me when we moved to Hawaii and like you said, the people and the VPC were very nice and proficient. However…one of our headlights got busted in transit. I know the guy you spoke to said nothing had ever happened {and it may not} but don't get your hopes up on having your car returned perfect. I didn't even consider the possibility that our car would be harmed in the process and was very upset that the headlight was busted. The VPC did pay for the damages, but it was still upsetting. Not to mention hard to drive at night until it was fixed!

  6. @Sarah yeah, they did say that if anything happens they'll take care of it, so I know it's a possibility. I'm pretty sure he was laughing at my comment about it possibly falling off the boat!

  7. It's hysterical to me that they have to drive your car around just to burn gas! Oh well, at least that means you have good GPG. Hope it gets over there ok!!

  8. Congratulations on the orders and the car shipment!! I was definitely relieved, excited, and nervous when we finally got our hard copies. We're now past the point of dealing with the packers and movers (that was an experience!) but we still have about three months before we move ourselves to Hawaii. Thanks for giving me some insight on how shipping the car will be though, since we've yet to do that. It doesn't seem so big of a thing now so I won't worry about it as much! =)

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  10. Sounds just like our car experience. We also had to look into international car shipping when my husband got transferred. And of course the OCD person I am, I hate having less than a half tank of gas. So we had to drive the car around until it was lower than a quarter too. Of course cars these days don't waste gas that easily! But thankfully they were able to get the gas out and we could use it again in our other car, so it wasn't a total waste. Once we finally moved, I couldn't believe that the car arrived just as we left it. Thanks so much for sharing your similar story!

  11. Great Blog. So choose the one which assures you to get your vehicle shipped to the desired destination, with damage free assurance and other benefits. The best auto transport company would always be equipped with the latest modern technology and relocating equipment.

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