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How To Take 5,000 Worries off Your Mind During Your International Move

a person holding a toy airplane as the symbol of travel and transportation

Moving internationally can be a very exciting time, but it can also be full of things you might not expect.

And if it seems like there are 5,000 things to remember while preparing to move abroad — you might be right!

Okay, maybe not *exactly* 5,000 things to remember…

But there might be (quite) a few factors that catch you off guard. However, being prepared, knowing what to expect during the process, and finding a mover who specializes in international packing and moving services can take those 5,000 worries off your mind.

If you’re moving internationally, here are some steps to make your relocation as smooth and seamless as possible.

How To Prepare for the Unexpected in Your International Move

1. Research Your Destination

When you’re preparing to move internationally, it’s important to do your research to find out your new home’s rules and regulations to be cleared by customs and avoid legal and logistical issues.

What are the rules in your new home? Are there items you can’t bring into the country?

Many countries have restrictions on things like taxidermy, weapons and firearms, and alcohol — but sometimes those aren’t as obvious as you might think.

    • You might find out that the customs agency where you’re moving considers the seashell in your “Memories from Padre Island” shadow box as “taxidermy.”
    • Your pocket knife might be a problem if the country doesn’t allow importing weapons.
    • Even bringing that big bottle of vanilla extract for your grandma’s cookie recipe could be an issue if you’re moving to a country with strict alcohol restrictions!

If you have questions about a country’s rules and restrictions, a packing and moving services expert can help you get answers.

When you do your research, it empowers you to navigate your country’s legal, tax and duty, and cultural regulations without all the stress and (5,000) worries.

2. Find Out How To Pack and Ship Your Household Goods

As you research international packing and moving services, it’s always a game of weight and cubic footage.

Shipping companies calculate the shipping charges based on either the weight (pounds or kilograms) or the cubic footage of the cargo — depending on which is higher. And as you would imagine, the heavier and bulkier your items are, the higher the shipping costs.

At Scobey, our moving experts are skilled in making sure items are packed as densely as possible. This not only cuts down on the cubic footage, it prevents items from shifting around and keeps them more secure.

Containers vs. Lift Vans

As you research packing and moving services, you’ll probably come across the terms “lift van” and “container” as options to use for shipping.

A shipping container is a 20- or 40-foot metal box that’s perfect for larger shipments. They’re weather-resistant, tough, and have sealed doors to protect your items from moisture. Containers are often used for both household moves and international cargo because they’re easy to load onto container ships.

Lift vans are smaller crates made of wood or plywood. They’re useful for smaller shipments and protecting fragile valuables.

Now, it’s important to note that some countries have requirements and regulations that determine whether you’ll need to use containers or lift vans — so it’s important to find out the specifics for your country.

But if your destination allows both, the most economical choice really depends on the amount of weight you’re importing.

    • If you have a smaller shipment, fragile items, or need a custom-built container, a lift van might be right for you.
    • If you’re moving thousands of pounds of household goods (like many people who are moving internationally), a container would be the less expensive option.

If you’re not sure about the best way to ship your goods, talk with a packing and moving services specialist like Scobey for the information you need!

3. Consider the Shipping Timeline

When you’re shipping your goods internationally, it’s important to remember that it takes a long time.


Large cargo ship transporting shipment container arriving Hong Kong port, bridge and city background, drone aerial view. Freight transportation, import export business or industrial concept


Months, actually!

Standard sea vessels take sixty to ninety days to get from seaport to seaport. During that time, the ship carrying your items goes to port, and your cargo (often) gets combined with other shipments to fill the container in a process called “consolidation.”

The ship then heads off to the next port. As it travels through intermediate ports, the ship’s cargo might have to go through customs clearance before it’s unloaded at the destination port (and then goes through customs again). If your cargo was consolidated with other people’s shipments in the same container, it needs to be unpacked and separated. Once your goods have been unloaded, they get transferred to an agent who can deliver your long-awaited shipment.

So like we said, it’s a long process.

Because the process takes a while, it’s important to know that you’ll be without your items for a significant amount of time. To get more details about the process and logistics, it’s helpful to talk with a packing and moving services specialist.

When you’re moving internationally, make sure to factor the shipping timeline into your plans and packing.

4. Think About What’s in Your Baggage

Because the shipping process takes a while, it’s important to think about what you put in the shipping container and what you take with you.

    • Baggage vs. Shipment: What items will you need immediately when you arrive? Make sure to bring important documents, clothing, and personal necessities with you in your bag.
    • Timing: If you arrive in your new country during early fall (while it’s warm), you won’t get your items until early winter (when it could be mighty cold).
    • Location: If you’re moving from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern, remember that the seasons will be reversed.

If the challenge of making sure you’ve got the right items in your bag and in your shipment seems daunting, a packing and moving services company can help you take those worries off of your mind.

5. Prepare To Thrive in Your New Destination

Moving internationally is an adventure.

Often, you encounter new sights, accommodations, cultures, and languages — and learn to understand and adapt over time.

But when your shipment (finally) arrives at your new destination and you need to get things unpacked, a language barrier might cause stress.

One strategy to help your local movers is to use color coding. You can assign a color to rooms or categories of items so that it’s easy to help your moving crew know where to put things and streamline the process.

And remember: Homes abroad are often much smaller than they are in the United States. So even if you color code that big leather couch, it might not fit in your new living room (even though you went through all the trouble of getting it shipped!).


Happy family with children moving with boxes in a new apartment house.


Take 5,000 Worries off of Your Mind

When you’re moving abroad, there are many logistics and details to consider. But when you ask the right questions, prepare for your international move, and let a packing and moving services expert help you navigate the process, settling into your new home becomes much less stressful.

If those 5,000(ish) things to remember are overwhelming, we at Appleton Moving Company would love to help. It’s our job to think through all of the logistics and variables so that you can relax and enjoy the adventure.

Call us

Feeling overwhelmed by the details of your international move? Call us today, and let Appleton’s packing and moving services handle all the planning and variables.

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