Mistakes to Avoid When Moving Overseas, Moving to another country opens up new and exciting possibilities, but relocating your life overseas also comes with unique challenges. Without proper planning and care, common mistakes can ruin your move, damage your belongings, and cause major frustration. This guide outlines key pitfalls when shipping your items internationally and provides tips to ensure your overseas relocation goes smoothly.
Lack of Research and Preparation
One of the biggest mistakes is failing to thoroughly research and prepare for an international move. Rushing into it without adequate planning leads to problems down the road. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to handle all the logistics. Here are some key things to research and organize early on:
- Import regulations – Each country has specific customs rules on what can and cannot be brought in. Make sure you understand which items are prohibited or require special permits and declarations. Hiring a customs broker is wise to guide you through the process.
- Quotes from movers – Get quotes from at least three reputable international moving companies with experience in your destination country. Thoroughly check reviews and references. Don’t just choose the cheapest option.
- Transit insurance – Standard insurance plans do not cover belongings in international transit. Obtain a specialized policy to fully protect your items. Read the fine print so you know what is and isn’t covered.
- Power adapters/converters – If shipping electronics and appliances, research the electrical system differences and acquire suitable power adapters and voltage converters.
Not Declaring Items on Customs Forms
Failing to declare certain items to customs can lead to confiscation, steep fines, or even criminal charges. Always:
- List every item you are shipping on customs forms accurately and completely. Don’t try to hide or skirt any rules.
- Check with your mover or customs broker if unsure about import regulations on a particular item. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t attempt to ship anything prohibited like fresh food, plants, animals, pornography, drugs, weapons, etc. Regulations exist even on items you may not consider contraband. When in doubt, leave it out.
Items of monetary or sentimental value are safest when carried by hand rather than shipped. International transit involves risks of loss, damage, or theft. If you must ship valuables:
- Use a secure shipping service with insurance and tracking for smaller items like jewelry, coins, watches, etc.
- For truly priceless or irreplaceable items, consider hiring a specialist courier service to personally accompany them.
- Keep very fragile valuables like fine china or crystal with you or purchase special packing/crating services.
But for most precious belongings, it’s smart not to ship them at all.
How you pack is just as crucial as what you pack. Be sure to:
- Use high-quality packing materials designed specifically for international shipping like reinforced boxes, bubble wrap, and industrial-grade tape. Don’t rely on flimsy cardboard or regular tape which won’t withstand transit hazards.
- Hire reputable professional packers experienced in overseas moves. Let them properly pack fragile items and crates using time-tested techniques. Don’t risk damage by having inexperienced friends pack everything just to save money.
- Cushion electronics, appliances, and breakables with ample shock-absorbing material. Don’t let things bang around loose inside boxes.
Choosing the Wrong Mover
Not all moving companies are created equal. Be very careful when selecting one for an overseas move. Watch out for:
- Moving horror stories of damaged goods, overcharges, terrible service, etc. Thoroughly research companies and check reviews.
- Choosing purely based on the cheapest quote. This often leads to disappointment and headaches. Be willing to pay more for a quality global mover.
- Companies without specific experience in your destination country. Ensure they regularly handle moves to where you are going.
- Vague answers, lack of responsiveness, or difficulty getting information/quotes. Good signs of an unreliable mover.
Putting in the effort to avoid these common international moving mistakes will pay off with peace of mind and smooth sailing. Does your homework, know regulations, declare accurately, use professionals for packing/shipping, and choose your mover wisely. With care and vigilance, your overseas relocation can be exciting rather than troublesome.