In the initial stages of moving, you’re probably not thinking about what it will take to pack up and move every individual item in your home. In your mind’s eye, it’s easy to imagine just shoving everything into boxes, easy as pie. And, if you’re just planning to move across town, you don’t necessarily need to worry as much about how to pack the weirdly shaped or un-packable things. For example, you can just load your dog into the car and drive him over to the new house. Even if you’re moving across the country, moving a pet is (generally) fairly easy. But when you’re moving overseas, things get a bit more complex. That easy car ride for your dog is no longer an option when you’re moving to a new continent. Some of your household items, in fact, cannot be moved overseas, and some others will be prohibitively difficult. When planning your international relocation, it’s important to think about the following:
Let’s start with a fairly simple one. Many other countries use different plug shapes and electrical voltages. If you’ve ever gone abroad for a vacation, you’ve probably noticed the difference between their outlets and the plugs we use here in the U.S. When moving overseas, you don’t necessarily need to ditch every single electronic in your home, but you will need a plan for what to do with the electronics you’re bringing with you. There are plug converters, but be careful about these; most will not affect the electrical current, so you run the risk of frying your electronics if they aren’t made for the voltage used in your new host country. In order to use your electronics safely, you may need to invest in transformers to help convert the electrical current to the proper voltage. Of course, for less expensive items like, say, a hair dryer, you may want to just donate your current one and plan to purchase a new one when you get to your new home.
Another caveat about electronics: you probably won’t want or need to ship your larger electronics. Things like your washer, dryer, and dishwasher may not even fit in your new home, so don’t waste your valuable shipping space trying to move them. If you know you’ll be back stateside in a year or two, you have a couple of options. If you’re not selling your home, simply leave those bigger pieces as part of the rental agreement. If you are selling, see if family or a friend has somewhere you can safely store your big electronics. Or, if that doesn’t pan out, a small storage unit may be more cost-effective than selling them before you leave and buying a new set upon your return—you’ll need to do the math on that yourself.
Heirlooms and Art
Those treasured antiques and family heirlooms absolutely can be moved with you. However, there are definitely a few things to consider before you haul that antique hutch from the 1700s across the ocean. First, think about weight. Generally speaking, the cost of international moving services is calculated based off weight, rather than size. So if any of your heirlooms are large and heavy, they could drive your shipping costs up.
The other thing to consider is how easily the item in question can be replaced if damaged or broken beyond repair. Most international movers will take care when packing up your household goods, but there will always be some level of risk. If something would be impossible to replace, and you’d be devastated to lose it, consider leaving those pieces behind for safekeeping. If you don’t intend to move back in the near future, or ever, you’ll need to consider whether those heirlooms are worth the risk of moving. You’ll also want to ensure you have suitable insurance coverage for all your priceless heirlooms and art, and ensure that the policy provides coverage while everything is in transit.
Big, Heavy, Bulky
This is more a blanket reminder than a moving restriction, but moving the large and bulky items can be difficult. As we mentioned above, you’ll probably end up paying based on the overall weight of your household goods, so keeping the weight down will help will reduce costs. The other big thing that many don’t think about before moving is the relative difference in home sizes. If you’re moving to parts of Europe or Asia in particular, homes may be smaller. This means smaller entries into the home, so your lovely, oversized sectional may not be able to fit through the doorways of your new home.
But wait, there’s more! Be sure to check back to the Customer Advocate blog for part 2, which will include even more things to consider when preparing your household goods for international relocation. In order to make your international move as easy as possible, an international moving service can help guide you through the steps to prepare your home. We believe that finding a trustworthy moving service shouldn’t be a hassle and a half. Moving overseas should be an exciting adventure, not a trial mired in confusion, and your moving company can have a major impact on your international relocation experience. To make your process easier, start by reading reviews from customers like you, and trust that the reviews and companies listed have both been verified for veracity, because that’s what we do for every review and every company on site. Find trustworthy international relocation services with Customer Advocate today and get moving!