Moving overseas isn’t quite the same as packing up to move across town. It’s not even as straightforward as moving to a new state. Unless you’re moving to, say, Canada or Mexico, it’s not as simple as driving across the border to haul your household goods to your new home—and even then, crossing international borders and the question of customs makes everything more complicated. If you’re preparing to relocate to another country for the first time, we hope you’ll have someone to guide you through the process. Whether you do or not, there will absolutely be some steps that separate international moves from even cross-country moves. For those preparing for that major life change, here are a few things you’ll need to help make your move a success:
International Moving Services
First and foremost, moving internationally is different because your moving service can’t simply load a truck and drive it to the new location. International moving services are a different can of worms because there are different steps to contend with, like shipping freight and dealing with various international customs processes. Your household goods will take longer to arrive in your new location, because most of it will probably travel by way of an immense cargo ship. Even your vehicles, if you’re shipping them, will take some time to arrive. The international freight shipping process means you’ll need to be more strategic about your planning and packing. It also means you’ll need more time to prepare than you would for a standard move. We highly recommend you begin working with an international moving company as soon as you know you’ll be moving in order to give yourself ample time to get organized and make your move a smooth one.
Something to consider, depending on your timeline, is arranging your international moving services in such a way that you can split your household goods into two shipments. Military movers are excellent at arranging things this way, and for good reason. Splitting your household goods into two shipments means you’ll go less time without your things—at least, enough of your things to live on. If splitting your household into two shipments is a possibility for you, we suggest taking roughly half of the things you need for day to day life and sending them ahead of you. Pack up things like dishware, cooking utensils, weather-appropriate clothing, and so on. You will probably also want to pack up some of your precious memorabilia and photos to hang when you arrive, which will help your new home feel more familiar and welcoming more quickly.
Pack Your Carry-Ons Early
The other part of packing up your household goods should be setting aside, if not actually packing, everything you’ll need right away. Yes, you’ll want to set aside the clothing, toiletries, and footwear you’ll need right away, just as if you were packing for a long vacation. However, you’re also moving house, and some things are better carried with you than shipped with your household goods. Ensure you have all of your important documents prepared to stick in your carry-on. Birth certificates, passports, even your financial documents are too important to risk them getting ruined or lost in transit. Also, it’s generally a better idea to pack your jewelry to take with you, rather than risk it getting lost in your household goods shipment.
Packing The House
When it comes to the actual packing, feel free to ask your international moving service as many questions as you can think of. They’ve done this process countless times before, so they will have the experience to guide you. There are a couple of important things to keep in mind when packing up your house, however. To begin with, check back to our previous blog posts and review the list of things no international moving service will pack up. The next thing to remember is that your household goods will likely be transported as shipping freight, which is generally charged by weight. Go through room by room and take the time to get rid of anything you never use or know you won’t need in your new home—and don’t forget the attic or basement storage! The other thing to keep in mind is that your household goods will be going the long way ‘round to get to your new home, and things will probably get rather damp in the progress. You’ll want to pack things more carefully than you would if you were loading your car or packing up a truck.
Heirlooms and Valuables
Items that hold sentimental value are always going to be some of the hardest to move because they are so important and irreplaceable. If at all possible, you might want to consider leaving those items behind with a trusted family member, especially if your international relocation is only a temporary one. However, if you are taking everything with you, you’ll need to pack with all due caution. You can leave it up to your international moving service to pack these items for you, as they’ll have the proper packaging and know-how to package everything as thoroughly as possible. However, if you are intent on packing up those irreplaceable items yourself, remember the conditions in which they’ll be transported. Invest in additional padding and wrapping, especially for your china, glassware, and other breakables. Honestly, if you think you’ve wrapped everything with enough protection, go ahead and add another layer, just to be safe.
Better Packing Materials
As we mentioned above, your household goods will probably be crated up and packed into a shipping container then sent, along with a slew of other shipping freight, to travel across the ocean to get to your new host country. There might be a few chances for moisture to seep in. With this in mind, you’ll want to invest in some waterproof or water-resistant packing materials for those items that would be ruined by water damage. This means sturdier boxes, more packing tape than you think you’ll need, plenty of bubble wrap, and potentially some large plastic storage containers for the items that really need some extra protection. Keep in mind, too, that your bedding, linens, and clothing make for excellent padding if you’re looking to stretch your budget.
The other supplies you’ll want to obtain are those you’ll need when you arrive. If you’re taking any electronics or appliances with you—which you may want to rethink—you’ll need to be sure you’ve got plug converters and voltage transformers as appropriate. In addition, organization will be key when it comes time to unpack everything. Stock up on permanent markers, potentially even a multi-color set, so you can label each box clearly. You probably won’t have a direct one-to-one room match at your new home, so give yourself an idea what’s in each box to help your future self with unpacking.
Choosing Moving Services
Finding reliable and experienced international moving services can make a world of difference in your moving process. To that end, Customer Advocate has taken the time to set up a merchant services reviews site that you can actually trust. Each customer review and each company is verified for accuracy and honesty so you know you can trust the information you read. Learn more about our process here and start searching for international moving services with Customer Advocate online!