How to Make an International Moving Budget

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How to Make a Budget for an International Move

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Before you move, it is essential to make a moving budget to map out all possible expenses for the entire moving process. Moving can be expensive and it is good to not be surprised by just how much money you can spend. If you are moving internationally, you're going to have to add quite a few things to that budget. International moves are almost always more expensive than domestic moves, so you better make an overseas moving budget.

Normal moving expenses

Moving internationally usually has all of the same expenses as a domestic full service move. This means that you can budget for what you typically would pay for during a domestic move, and then add all the international moving specific expenses later.

Leaving your home: 
These expenses are the costs of leaving your old home and will be necessary no matter how far away your destination is.
  • Disconnecting utilities. This can cost money if there are contracts and early termination fees
  • Ending a lease. Termination fees can also apply here
  • Repairing and presenting your old home for sale
  • Hiring a real estate agent to sell your home
  • Arranging for transfer/printouts of all work, school, medical, and personal records that you will need to take to your new home
Hiring a moving company: International movers tend to cost more than domestic movers. Be sure to compare a variety of international movers and their services to get the best price from a reputable company. You will also need to buy some sort of insurance from the company to protect your items during shipping. 

Moving in to your new home: Settling into a new home has many expenses that are constant whether you are moving down the road or to the other side of the world.
  • Paying for rent/mortgage payments
  • Paying down payments/security deposits
  • Buying new utilities
  • Repairing or renovating your new home
  • Stocking your new home with groceries, and ordering takeout until you do

Extra expenses for international moves

International movers typically charge much more than domestic movers, but that is just one of many reasons why international moving is usually so much more expensive.

You need to pay for additional documentation
In order to move to another country, you're going to need to prove your citizenship, identity and apply for residency. This all takes extensive documentation, which usually carries application or processing fees. Some documents with fees can include:
  • Passports
  • Visas
  • Residency certification
  • New IDs
You need to pay for a plane or boat ticket
Unless you are moving to a neighbouring country like moving from Canada to the US, you're going to need to pay for transporting yourself overseas. You probably will need to take a plane to take you to your new home, which will cost a great deal more than the gas money it would take to drive to your new home for a domestic move.

If you can afford to wait longer and don't want to fly, you could also get a boat ticket, but these are harder to find and are also very expensive. Additionally, you need to drive to the coast. Unless you have a crippling fear of flying, it isn't a very economical or practical option to take a boat to your new country.

You may have to ship your car internationally and pay for all that entails
If you plan on taking your car with you on an international move, it needs to be shipped separately. This involves several additional expenses:
  • The cost of the shipping service
  • The cost of cleaning, servicing, and inspecting your car before shipping
  • Paying for additional insurance, if necessary
  • Paying duties for restricted vehicles at customs
Customs: Getting through customs in different countries can be tricky. Some seemingly random items are prohibited in some countries and some items, like the previously mentioned cars, can get through customs if you pay a fee for them. Expect the customs process to add to your budget in some way, especially if anything is detained.

Securing a new form of transportation: If you could not ship your car to your new country, you're either going to have to buy a new one in that country or try to use public transportation. Be sure to account for the use of any taxis during any part of your move when making a moving budget.

Currency exchange: Pay close attention to the most up-to-date exchange rates in your new country. It will take some time and money to transfer your funds to a new account in your new country and to then exchange them for the new country's currency. Watch out for scams when exchanging money.

No matter what kind of moving budget you are making, be sure to add an additional 10 - 15 percent in order to account for any hidden moving expenses. With the large scale, prices, and number of variables involved in international moves, you may even want to add more than 15 percent to your international moving budget. If you have any money left over, you can use it to explore your new country.

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on August 6, 2014 - Moving Expert
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