Moving or temporarily relocating to a foreign country is an exciting prospect for many people. There is a new language and culture to experience, as well as the new people, places and opportunities to look forward to. The fun of getting settled in a new home in a new land however can be reduced by the difficulty and frustration of a poorly planned moving experience, which can put a real damper on the situation. This is the reason it is so important to do some basic research and advanced planning before beginning relocation to another country.
Planning an International Move
The first thing to do when planning to relocate overseas is to determine the location of the new home, and what sort of items will be required in order to live there. For example, is the new home a rental? If so, is it furnished? Does this include linens and dining ware? There are many questions to ask before beginning to pack and plan, and a well designed schedule can only come from a great deal of information. Anyone moving to another country should:
• Work with a native real estate specialist who can find
them the type of home they require
• Understand exactly what is included in the home or apartment where they will be moving
• Select an international moving company to assist with everything possible
• Find local service suppliers for electrical, plumbing or other household maintenance
• Research what types of items they may legally or safely bring to another country. For example, most electronic equipment in the United States does not operate in other locations
• Decide upon a “moving budget” in order to understand what kind of transportation and services are affordable
The first thing to do then is locate the new home and identify what will be needed there, this may require anything from the purchase of appliances and furniture to simply moving in.
Selecting an International Moving Company
Next, it is important to determine what sort of moving companies will be able to make deliveries to the location, and what kind of services they will provide. For example, in the United States some moving companies work with third party vendors to install appliances on the moving day, and this may be necessary overseas as well. A good local or native real estate agent can be particularly useful for such an occasion, though the best method of handling such a large scale operation is to find an international moving company that will handle both the domestic packing and moving as well as the foreign hauling and unloading.
Additionally, it is a wise choice to work with an international moving company to ensure the best conditions and prices on shipping an entire household worth of goods and possessions. Such groups will be able to adequately prepare items for the rigors of overseas or air travel, and will know all of the necessary documentation required. Such experienced professionals will also help their clients to identify items which should be left behind due to restrictions or incompatibility with overseas electrical output.
Develop a Budget and Determine How You're Going to Move
Once a moving company has been selected they will help the individual or family to establish a workable budget and then determine the best method of transporting household goods, either by air or overseas.
For those who are relocating temporarily or to a furnished home it may be a good idea to “travel light” and place many possessions into temporary storage while living abroad. For example, a year or two in another country won’t require the transportation of a personal library, piano or large pieces of furniture. This means that most of the remaining possessions could be rapidly delivered via an air service.
Even those who have decided to relocate with most of their household goods are choosing air transportation because a comparison of the costs of storage facility rental or a furnished home can often actually exceed the cost of two-way air shipment of their belongings.
Those intending on a long-term or permanent relocation however may need to consider working strictly with overseas cargo ships as the way of sending their possessions to their new location.
Most international moving companies will deliver sturdy containers to the homes of their clients, who will then pack and load the containers with their household goods. On the pre-arranged date the moving company retrieves the goods and delivers them to a dock or port where a waiting freighter is loaded with the goods. Once the goods have reached their overseas port, the owner or the moving company will claim the containers and transport them to the final destination.
Just like domestic moving companies, international moving companies will offer full-service or self-service opportunities for their clients. Those opting for full-service moving will need to assist in the inventory of their household goods, which they must “sign off” on in both locations, and then the goods will be professionally packed and loaded into appropriate transportation containers for shipping via air or overseas.
Self-service movers will be instructed in the best methods of packing their household goods, and may be required to purchase heavy duty cardboard boxes or special shipping containers directly from their moving company. They will then have the larger freight containers delivered to their home for loading with all of the properly packaged containers. Self-service movers normally have their international moving company handle the documentation and arrange for port to home delivery as well.
Packing for an International Move
Packing for an overseas or air journey requires some special
• Customs restrictions and inspections – both air and overseas cargo will be inspected before release and it is critical that all of the appropriate documentation be accurately and honestly completed or there could be significant delays in the release of the cargo. Additionally, it is important to leave behind any items that may be illegal or difficult to “import” to another country. It pays to do some research about such issues before packing all household goods.
• Adequately protecting fragile or breakable goods – it is not only glass that is easily damaged in overseas travel, wooden furnishings and many other items can be damaged should they shift or topple during transportation. This is the reason it is especially important to package items with enough padding and support before loading them for overseas or air travel. Most international movers provide excellent instruction, or perform the services themselves
In addition to transporting household goods and possessions to a new home, some people will also need to consider the relocation of their vehicles and even family pets.
Moving Your Car Internationally
If you choose to bring your car along with you there are many auto carrying services that are glad to arrange for the transportation of a vehicle or two to an overseas location, but there are a few things to consider:
• Are there better options in the other country? For
example, fuel efficiency is a huge factor in European vehicles,
and with gas prices just as high overseas as in the United States,
the savings available for renting, leasing or even purchasing
a foreign vehicle may be quite measurable.
• How much is going to cost to ship a vehicle? While there are many companies providing comprehensive car shipping services, it can often be a fairly expensive operation, with customs fees as well as shipping and delivery charges. This should be taken into consideration.
• Is maintenance going to be reasonable? While many mechanics may understand the workings of the North American vehicle they may not have the necessary tools and equipment to perform even basic maintenance, which could quickly mean expensive repairs and service
Moving with Pets Internationally
As far as pets are concerned, it is important to understand that many diseases, such as rabies or Lyme disease are not as prevalent in other countries and because of this a period of quarantine is required before an animal is free to live with its owners in their new home. Interestingly, the United Kingdom does allow pets from some specific countries to enter with proof of appropriate vaccinations, though this will require some work with the consulate before departure.
Moving abroad with a pet may involve:
• A period of quarantine, though some countries have alternative approaches to this demand
• Restriction of specific breeds
• Customs clearance
• Import fees
• Identifying a new vet who will be familiar with the information on the pet’s medical records
• Sedation of the animal in order to fly it the long distance. This also means that the animal(s) should have a comprehensive medical exam prior to planning their journey. Some pets simply cannot endure the stress and pressures of a long-distance flight and car journeys and may need to be placed in a new home before the moving begins
• Usually only small pets are permitted within a cabin which means most animals will be required to travel in the hold or baggage areas. This will demand a period of acclimation to a regulation carrier and the preparation of the carrier to make the journey as comfortable as possible
• Changing the regular diet of the animal(s) to a new, available manufacturer. If the digestive system of the animal is sensitive this could quickly present a problem, and it is a good idea to have an open channel of communication established with a local veterinary clinic long before the animal arrives in the new location.
• Purchasing adequate identification tags with all the relevant information, including contact information and the new address, just in case a pet escapes or is lost