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Moving Abroad: How To Organise Your No Stress Move

international removals

Shipping Your Belongings

Organising removals and packing is quite an undertaking in itself. The first question that comes into your mind when you look around your house preparing to move out is:

What to Take, What to Leave

Trying to determine what clothes, furniture and personal effects you’ll want and need when you live overseas can be tricky.  Should you ship the fridge?  Do you need to take your winter coat?  What about all the books you have amassed over the years?

It’s going to be pretty pointless shipping a 5 year old fridge to the States where the electrical system is different and a new fridge would probably be cheaper than the cost to ship your old one. But then again, it may well be worthwhile shipping that old fridge if you’re planning to live in Argentina where white goods are very expensive.

The more you ship the more it costs – it’s that simple.  So, if you’re happy to pay a small fortune to send everything, then send everything!  On the other hand, if you want to save a bit of cash or you want to off-load some of what you have accrued over the years, then it’s time for a concerted clear out!

Think about what you will need to take – i.e., what you can’t or won’t live without as well as what you can’t get in your new country.  These items are essential.

Other than these, what would you like to keep?  Whatever is left, can you sell it on eBay, at local auction, have a garage sale or perhaps gift to charity?  Maybe there are specific items that friends and family want or could benefit from?  It turns into a big project, trying to clear your home, so don’t leave it until the last minute.

Estimating Your Shipping Costs

As stated, the more you ship the more you pay – so, once you’ve whittled down your personal effects to what you want to move you need to get quotes in from international removal companies.

International container shipping rates start from £1,250 GBP up to £15,000 GBP depending on a number of factors; primarily the volume of your goods and the distance you need to move them.

Sea freight containers are generally available in two sizes – a 20-foot container or a 40-foot container. A 20-foot freight container will hold the contents of an average three-bedroom family home. If you’re shipping one or two vehicles with the contents of your house, you will definitely need a 40-foot container.

As an example a 20-foot container to Cyprus will cost you minimum £3,300.

If you are moving outside of the EEA, find out whether you have to pay import duties on what you bring into your new country. For example, if you ship a TV to Northern Cyprus you’re taxed on it. In some instances, you can be paying a 70% import tax on the list price of the car in the country you are moving to.


Consider using a company that’s a member of an international/European federation which will insure your interests – and make sure you look into the insurance you will need to protect your goods in transit.

Factor this into the base cost quoted, haggle and negotiate, and finally commit to a company that will help you move with as little stress as possible!

It may well be that your removal company will pack your goods as they need to complete the export/import documentation.  If not, it may be that you have to leave all boxes unsealed so that they can check them before they ship them.  Find out in advance.

If you are doing the packing, bear in mind that the items may be loaded and unloaded various times, be put on a ship, sent across high seas or bumpy roads.  In other words, protect everything very well.

Although let’s be honest, it may be best to leave packing to professionals, they know what they are doing, and can do a better job than any of us. Check your tickets and passports instead and have a good-bye drink with your friends and family in your favourite pub down the road.

Taking Your Pet Abroad

Is your hairy friend excited about moving abroad?

Pet transportation needs to be planned well in advance to organise all travel documentation, vaccinations, inoculations, import permits and quarantine requirements for your new home.  We recommend you start looking into it at least 6 months before you plan an actual move.

Inform your vet that you need a pet passport. A pet passport includes a record of any and all of the treatments your pet has had.

If your vet doesn’t issue them, it will give you the details of one that does.

When you apply for a pet passport, you will need to take your pet, along with vaccination and other medical records, to the issuing vet.

It is also a good idea to contact the Pet Travel Scheme helpline (0370 241 1710) prior to making any travel plans to discuss any recent changes or specific restrictions regarding the country you are travelling to.

Arranging transportation for your pet

Every airline has different policies but some allow small pets to be carried on board in the cabin in “carry on kennels” which fit under the seats.  You need to ensure your pet has no odour, so lay off the bones before the flight.  What’s more, it shouldn’t disturb other passengers and must remain in the kennel throughout the duration of the flight.

If you’re traveling with your pet, it can travel as “accompanied baggage” in the cargo hold of the plane with your luggage, preferably without being put through the luggage wrapper first.  Otherwise, Fido gets to go as “live cargo” through the cargo system, where he’ll travel in the same pressurised holds as those travelling in “checked in baggage” class.

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