International Moving Costs: 4 Things You Can’t Ignore

You finally took the plunge and made the big decision to accept that promotion that will require you to move your home and entire family across the globe. You have thought about everything: schools, a new home, acclimatizing to a different culture, learning a new language, and what landmarks you want to visit as soon as you land. 

But have you thought of the expenses associated with an international location? 

Yes, the actual cost of moving. Unlike moving from city to city or to a new neighbourhood, international moving has many different costs that you will have to consider. To make sure your move stays within your budget, let us look at the four major costs you will be incurring. 

  • International Shipping

Costs associated with international shipping are something that many first-time international movers do not consider. But it can be a considerable cost, and you should get estimates from beforehand. 

Will you be following a traditional route that may take longer or a quicker route that may cost more? Before committing to a moving company, you should always get an estimate of how much it will cost for each route. This way, you will be prepared when it comes to receiving your items in your new home. 

If you work with a professional moving company, they will be able to give you an accurate estimate of international shipping costs. Shipping by sea is more economical than shipping by air. Sometimes the costs are calculated by weight and sometimes by the size of the container. How far the cargo is going will also be factored into the total cost of shipping your items. 

Costs can be anywhere between £738 and USD 7,380. 

  • Duties & Taxes

The other expense you will need to think about is the duty and taxes that you will have to pay once your cargo arrives at its point of destination. The duty and taxes that you need to pay when you internationally move your items will differ depending upon which country you are moving to. 

For example, the US does not charge duty on most household items when moving, while the UK has its own set of rules. If you are moving within the EU, you may not need to pay any duty, while if you are moving from outside of the EU, there may be duty charges you will have to pay. 

Duty charges depend on the value of goods you are shipping. 

Other things to be kept in mind when considering duties, customs, and taxes:

  • Know the laws and regulations before you move your items
  • Use a custom calculator to calculate what approximate duties you will have to pay on large items 
  • Find out if you can transport food some countries do not allow it
  • Do you physically need to be present at customs to accept your items once they arrive? Find out each country has its regulations. 

Cost: Free from any amount depending upon country regulations and laws. 

  • Packing & Unpacking 

The cost of packing and unpacking is not as simple as it seems. In international moving, your custom documents may require the moving country to guarantee that the items that are being shipped do not contain anything illegal. In this case, the moving company usually does the packing themselves to make sure illegal items like drugs, arms/ammunition, plants, and animals are not being shipped. 

In some cases, you can get around this if you pack the items yourself and leave the cartons open so the packing company and customs authorities will inspect the boxes. This is a great way to save money. You could also unpack the items yourself when they arrive if you want to forgo the unpacking cost. 

Tips to remember when packing your items:

  • Pack your essentials last
  • Use clothing to pack fragile items
  • Fill all empty spaces
  • Organize and label 
  • Create a moving checklist to make sure everything is covered
  • Vacuum seal items that you can 

Whether you use packers or do it yourself, it is always smart to work from one end of the house and label all of your boxes. The last thing you want to do is get to your destination and not know what is in your boxes. Scrambling around and looking for household items that cannot be found is the most frustrating thing. Especially if you have kids and pets and their items are needed right away. 

Starting from USD 100 or £73 GBP and upwards. 

  • Insurance

Insurance cost is something you will need to consider if you are going to budget your moving costs. Insurance can be added to your moving cost, and some moving companies will factor it in when they give you a quote. 

You will want to make sure if you are shipping items across the globe, that you make sure that your items reach their destination safe and sound. If they don’t, and they are insured, at least you will be reimbursed. 

Sometimes families who are on a budget want to forgo insuring items, but that is never a good idea. If something goes wrong, then at least you can take the insurance money to buy new items once you reach your new home. The last thing you want is to reach a new country with nothing in hand. 

If your goods are being shipped by sea, then you want to make sure you have a maritime policy in place to make sure that your items are covered. This insurance will cover loss, theft, and any kind of damage. 

Statistics show that shipping has become more reliable in regard to damage to your goods. Shipping has become 48% safer than in previous years, and 99% of ships reached their destination. 

Tips to Remember When Insuring Items:

  • Don’t undervalue your goods
  • Cut down items to what is necessary to move and insure
  • Take pictures of all of your items as a record in case of damage or loss
  • Explore the different kinds of insurance that are appropriate for your circumstances

Starting from USD 100 / 73 GBP but depends on what kind of items are being transported. The higher the value of goods, the more expensive the insurance. 

  • Other Expenses When Moving Internationally 

In addition to the above four main costs that you will have to incur whenever you internationally move, there are other costs you need to consider. These other costs can add up, so it’s a good idea to chalk out from beforehand what other expenses you may incur. 

You should always look for ways to cut these costs as much as possible. Some of them you may not be able to cut, for example transporting your pet. But storage costs can be cut if you plan your move out properly so that you do not need to store any times in storage but can dispose of them before you move. 

To get an accurate budget of what costs you will need to consider, it is a good idea to consider the following costs as well:

  • Storage 

Shipping your items does take time and may not coordinate with your schedule. Often you may need to hire a storage company to store your items before your reach your new destination. You will need to factor in this cost. 

You also may want to store some items when you are moving that you were not able to dispose of before you left. You will need to hire a storage company. 

  • Visa Fees 

Did you count the visa application fees for all of your family members? You will need to apply for a visa before departure, and there are costs associated with this. In some cases, you may need to hire an immigration lawyer, so all of these costs should be accounted for. Even if you do not hire a lawyer to submit the visa documents, you will need to pay a fee for each family member. Consider an e-Visa supplier online

  • Pet Transportation 

Fido cannot be left behind, can he? Did you consider the microchipping, expenses associated with required vaccines, pet import rules, and relocation service expenses? If not, then you need to. It is not cheap to take your pet with you. 

You will need to purchase a proper crate that can be used to transport the animal on the plane, in addition to any fees the air carrier will charge you. It is always a good idea to get your pet used to the crate before they travel by air, especially if they have never travelled before. Have them spend some time in the crate before you depart, so they get used to it. 

  • Other Costs 

In addition to the above costs, other costs should be taken into consideration. They may be small, but they are things you still should think about. For example, if you are moving to a country that has different voltage requirements, you may need to change your appliances. 

In addition, you may need to buy more furniture pieces when you arrive if your new home requires them. You will need to fulfil any immunizations and required vaccinations if you are moving to a country that requires it. 

Tips When Moving Internationally on A Budget 

If you are on a budget, you may find it difficult to move internationally. But if you hire a good international relocation company and follow a few tips, you can easily save money. With some planning and research, you can be sure to cut down on unnecessary expenditure. 

Let us look at some of them:

  • Start Getting Rid of Stuff You Will Not Move Early On

It is always a good idea to start getting rid of any items that you will not be shipping to your new location early on. The reason being is that if it is out of the house, then you can rest assured that you will not spend time and sometimes money discarding it right before you leave. 

The costs that are associated with last-minute dumping can be high and stressful. Why not make a list early on and have a yard sale or sell these items online even before you call the packers. 

  • Use Sea Freight 

A great way to cut costs is to ship your household items instead of transporting them by air. Shipping is much cheaper, although it takes more planning and longer to reach your new destination. 

Shipping has become easier now that there are relocation companies that can handle the packing, import duties, taxes and tell you the most efficient way to move. 

  • Use Cartons and Plastic Bins for Check in Luggage 

When flying to your new destination, you can always check in cartons and plastic bins as part of your check-in luggage. This can reduce the items you are shipping and lower costs. 

Many international passengers do not realize that it is not only a suitcase that can be checked in. You can pack your luggage in cartons, bins, and even duffle bags. 

  • Get Boxes for Free from Grocery Stores 

In need of cartons and boxes to pack your items. You can always use cartons you can get from local warehouses and grocery stores that can be used to pack your household items. 

Why waste money on something that you will eventually throw away? Just make sure to source good-quality boxes that will not tear or open. 

The 4 International Moving Costs to Keep in Mind

Moving internationally can be a very big decision for you and your family. It can be something that you will need to plan out and research before you start to make it happen. Whether you move by air or sea, it is always a good idea to research different routes and talk to relocation companies that can help you pick the mode and route of transport. 

It may seem overwhelming at first, but with a good relocation company and proper planning, you can make an efficient and hassle-free move. 


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