What Can Be Expected With International Moving?

Container_Ship_MSC_Texas_(4423023837)Whether you’re leaving the country for a job, for retirement or just because, there will probably be at least some things you want to bring from home. Even if you know a lot about the moving process within the U.S., things change considerably when moving out of the country.

1. Don’t even think about packing for yourself – By law, movers have to pack every item being moved and they have to inventory them for customs.

2. You are charged in a completely different way – When moving internationally, you are charged by container. Shipping containers come in either 20 foot or 40 foot lengths. A 20 foot container will hold about the contents of a two bedroom apartment or a small two bedroom house. A family of four will typically need a 40 foot container.

Even if a container is partially empty, you will still be charged for the entire container. Talk to the moving company. If you are hesitating about taking some items, ask if those items will actually make a difference – they may not. Besides, the price difference between a 20 foot container and a 40 foot container is not usually double.

3. The process – You always, without exception, want an estimator come to your home to survey the move so there are no surprises on move day. On move day, movers will come to pack and load their truck. Occasionally they will load your shipment directly onto the container, but that is not typical.

The mover you will be dealing with is an agent. While it might be the same company that ships and delivers your goods (that’s rare), all three legs are under separate management. However, your initial contact should be your point person throughout.

Naturally, overseas shipping takes considerably more time. Not only are ships slower than planes, there is always a chance things can get held up in customs. Be prepared.

Your moving company contact will fill you in on all the necessary paperwork you will need to take care of. They will be an excellent ally in the moving process.

4. Pets – most countries no longer require pets to be quarantined, but ask. If you have a pet that’s more exotic than a dog or cat, be sure to ask. Make sure your pets’ shots are up to date and keep those papers with you at all times. If you have a small pet, you might be able to stow its crate under the seat in front of you or you might be able to purchase a seat for its crate.

Most planes are equipped with pet hauling capabilities, but there have been a lot of horror stories surrounding that method of transport, so if you have a bigger pet, there are companies that specialize in hauling pets. Check those companies out well. Get references.