Preparing to Move Your Belongings Overseas

You’ve made the decision to move abroad for work, pleasure, lifestyle or a combination of the three.  Now you need to make a plan to take your possessions with you.  The more time you have to get things ready, the better, but no matter what kind of timeframe you have to work with there are certain steps you should take to ensure a stress-free, economical move overseas.

Decide What You Need

Start by looking at your stuff realistically.  What will you need to be comfortable and what will be difficult to find or buy once you’re moved?  These are the items you should plan on bringing.

Once you have an idea of the things you won’t be needing, plan a garage sale at least a month before your departure.  This will allow you to get rid of the things you don’t need, free up some space, and put some extra cash into your pocket before the move.  Just add beer and food and this can also double as your going away party.

Now that you’ve narrowed down what you’ll be taking, start packing anything that’s not necessary for daily life functioning.  It’ll be easier on you mentally not to wait until the last minute to get everything in boxes.  As you’re packing, make a detailed list of what you’re packing as this will be helpful for customs later.

Do Your Research

Prior to sealing your newly packed boxes, it’s wise to look into your destination country’s duties and taxes for imports.  For instance, some countries have incredibly high tax rates for things like electronics, and unless you want to pay a 70% tax on that eight-year-old broken laptop, it might be simpler to leave it behind.

The next step is to find a reliable shipping company.  For starters, they should be certified under FIDI (an organization created to uphold international moving companies to high business ethics) and ISO 9002.  Begin by asking for referrals from friends and family, but branching out for other quotes will be helpful for comparison as well.

You’ll need to decide if you want your things shipped by air or ocean, depending on the time and amount you want to spend.  This, along with the weight and size of your shipment, will be the biggest determining factors for cost.  Get itemized quotes that include all services you’ll need, such as storage, packing, shipping, export taxes, and insurance.  Talk with your agent to see who will handle your cargo once it reaches its destination or if you’ll need to hire another company on that end.

Taking your belongings with you can seem like a daunting task but with a realistic attitude and some planning, you can have a smooth transition into your new home abroad.