Preparing for Your International Moving Experience
When you are moving internationally, it's all about the front-end work � the more work you do preparing, the easier your move will go.
So even before you begin planning your overseas move, make sure you cover these key points, and your goods will be cruising to your new home in no time � and with less stress.
1. Hire a Great Mover to Keep Your Stuff Safe
Unless your shipment is small enough that it can go by air, your goods will more than likely be shipped by ocean when moving internationally. This means that your shipment will be placed in a large metal container, which will in turn
be loaded onto a ship by a crane, usually stacked several containers high.
There can be shifting inside the container can occur while being lifted, and also while the ship is at sea.
These containers can also be dropped from even higher distances, and that's where quality international moving companies come in. If it's packed correctly, you're simply less likely to suffer any damages.
Ask your moving company how familiar they are with packing for international transit. How many international moves do they handle per year? If they don't seem like experts in their field, go with a different mover.
Throughout your move, keep a phone line that you will have access to -- whether it's your cell phone or landline -- connected through the time of your departure. Since you will likely be changing time zones, email is often a convenient way to maintain communication with your moving company when traveling internationally; set up an email account that you can access from any computer, such as Gmail or Hotmail.
Is there someone the moving company can contact in the U.S. if anything should come up while you are in transit? Provide an up-to-date list of contact details prior to your departure.
3. Get Organized
You might think a few successful domestic moves have made you pretty good at moving.
International moving can test those assumptions, because your move will be more complicated: you'll likely need storage, you'll be away from your goods for a longer period of time; you'll have to deal with customs issues, visas, passports, etc.
Separate everything that must not be packed for international moving, such as passports, medicine, or important documents. Irreplaceable or valuable items such as family photos, videos and diamonds should be carried with you, too. When moving day comes, the packers will move quickly and you might not notice if such things disappear from the kitchen counter until your shipment is leaving on the truck. Ideally, close off a room in the house for everything you plan to bring in your suitcases or carry-on, or even keep them at a neighbor's house during the move.
4. Budget Your Time
One of the biggest factors in your international move will be time. Leave enough time in between the last day of your move (when everything is loaded on a truck) and when you are scheduled to leave the country. It is wise not to schedule your flight for 3 p.m. just because you expect your move to be complete by 11 a.m. on the same day. Problems from weather, traffic, and manpower frequently wreak havoc on tight schedules, so it's good to leave at least one buffer day if possible.
Also, ask you moving company what the approximate transit time will be for your shipment. Realize that this is an estimate, and loosely make your plans based on that.
Decide which non-furniture items are essential and bring them with you instead of packing them in your shipment. Going to most overseas points, it's going to be several weeks before you see your shipment again.
But even with a transit time estimate, be mindful that customs procedures and the business of the season could add days or weeks to your shipment's transit time. So if you're debating on whether or not to bring the family's winter coats in your suitcases, and you've been given an estimated delivery date on the cusp of the season, it's probably best to bring them with you just in case.
Another factor to consider is the time required in some countries for medical clearance for you or even for pets. Relocation.com knows of one relocatee who, at the last minute, needed to push back his international move until the family
dog was cleared to travel.
5. Know Your New Country
Different countries have different rules. Review the regulations for importing goods into your country of destination. Some countries prohibit the import of alcohol or firearms. Generally, you cannot ship any perishables. To learn more about the regulations in your destination country, check with the moving company overseeing your move. You can also check with the U.S. Embassy in your country.
Does the country you're moving to require you to be there before importing your goods? If there will be a delay in your travel plans, which might cause your shipment to arrive before you do, find out the policy in that country. Having the shipment sit at the port pending customs clearance could result in some hefty port storage costs.
Be aware of what documents are needed to proceed with the customs clearance of your goods. Talk about this with your moving company early on, and as suggested earlier, make sure there's a way your moving company can get in touch with you in case they need additional information to clear your shipment.