Tips for Packing for an International Move

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How to Pack for an International Move

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Moving internationally is a bit more complicated than your standard domestic move. Crossing a border and/or the sea can add a lot of logistical worries to your move. Packing for an international move requires a lot of foresight and attention to detail than a standard domestic move. Here's how to pack for an international move:

Know the customs regulations of your destination

Many countries have strict and varied rules for what you can and can't ship inside their borders. Before you pack anything, contact your destination's consulate and ask questions about what items are allowed in the country. You could also do additional research on your own if it is hard to get straight answers from the consulate.

Dangerous items that are rarely shipped obviously can't go, but some countries have additional restrictions on some types of cars or other large items. There is also a chance that you will be charged a fee for importing certain restricted items. You may want to omit these items from your overseas move.

Lighten your load

Even if you have found out that most of your items should pass through customs, you're still going to want to make your shipment as small as possible. Packing for an international move needs to be more thorough, and the services are more expensive, so you should avoid shipping anything that you can do without. Sell, donate, or throw out items that will not go with you on your journey to a foreign land.

Take extra care when packing

When packing your things for an international move, it is important to remember that they will be jostled in a ship or plane for at least a week or two. You need to use high quality packing materials and pack correctly. Some shipping companies will not ship poorly packed items overseas (and some countries will not accept anything 'Packed by Owner,' either).

You may want to hire an international moving company to help with the actual packing process. They will know what type of materials are best suited for international moves and will have access to professional packing supplies like sturdy boxes, heavy-duty packing tape, and crates for fragile items.

If you choose to pack some items yourself (again, make sure your destination country allows this at customs), remember that your goal is to limit movement within packages and also to cushion impacts. Use bubble wrap, packing paper, and tape liberally. Remember to label all of your belongings clearly and accurately.

Keep track of everything with a detailed inventory

An inventory of all the items in your shipment is very important during an international move. This will need to be presented to customs official when your shipment arrives at the new country. Make sure everything that is packed is accurately accounted for including receipts and serial numbers for more expensive electronics and appliances.

The inventory is doubly important in an international move because it will be used for both customs and insurance purposes should anything be lost or damaged in the shipment. Before you pack everything up, make the inventory.

Take some important things with you

One key to packing for an international move is to select what not to ship. Some things should be brought with you and free of the shipping purgatory that may hold your items hostage for weeks at a time.

You should check luggage that contains standard vacation-like packing like clothing and toiletries that you will need when you arrive but could be easily replaced if lost.

Anything relatively small that you consider indispensable can be brought in a small carry-on bag when you fly to your new country, but here is a list of things that you need to take with you:

  • Important documents like birth certificates, drivers license, and insurance
  •  Travel information like your passport
  • Cell phones, laptops, and appropriate chargers
  • Moving documents like the Bill of Lading, moving insurance, and shipping inventory
  • Medical, school, and financial records that you will need to set your life up upon arrival in a new country
  • Jewellery or other small valuables
  • Medicine
  • Wallet/cash and credit cards
While packing these essentials in your carry-on, remember FFA regulations prohibit bringing certain objects on passenger planes. You should also keep all the paperwork in a sturdy folder since your carry on will likely be tightly packed and you don't want to damage your documents.

As you can see, packing for an international move involves more than just physically packing your belongings. The customs requirements and the long process of international shipping necessitate some additional item screening and packing precautions. If you plan carefully, you should be able to pack for your international move with no trouble.

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on July 23, 2014

TopMoving.ca - Moving Expert
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