Moving Advice

Planning for a Move Abroad

There are many things to think about when planning for a move abroad. Here are some tips and things to consider when preparing for your relocation.

Deciding What to Take With You

Planning for a move abroad can at first seem daunting but taking things one step at a time will help you to get on top of everything. One of the first things to think about is deciding what to take with you and what to leave behind. It’s worth bearing in mind that overseas removal quotes are usually based on volume (in cubic feet or cubic metres) and therefore if there is anything you can do to reduce the volume of your shipment, this should save you money. This is the case for most sea freight shipments and most relevant for shared container services (groupage) where you pay for the space that your shipment takes up in the shipping container.  The exception to this is air freight which as a general rule is based on a rate which is worked out according to the weight and volume of the shipment.

Keep in mind that soft items such as pillows, cushions and soft toys can be placed inside chests of drawers to make sure that all available space is utilised. It is not advised to put breakable items inside chests of drawers as they may break or damage the inside of the furniture. Breakable items should be packed and wrapped separately in specialist packing materials and labelled accordingly.

Consider the type of property that you will be renting or buying at your new destination. In Australia for example, many new build properties have built in wardrobes. You don’t want to spend money shipping your wardrobes for them to only end up in the garage of your new home or being sold / discarded at destination. Wardrobes take up a lot of space so taking them out of your shipment could reduce your removal costs significantly.

If you are taking electrical items, make sure to check the voltage requirements of your destination country. Many appliances have settings that can be easily changed. In most cases, plugs can usually be removed and replaced at destination. It is often worth removing the plugs before your move as plugs are an awkward shape and take up unnecessary space in your shipment.

Customs Regulations

Make sure to consider the customs requirements of your destination country. Each country will have restricted or prohibited items and it’s important to be aware of them when planning for a move abroad. A customs guide is provided with your moving quotation so that you can check what you can and can’t take with you for your specific destination. Things to watch out for include food items and items made from natural materials which may be considered an ecological risk to your destination country. If in doubt about an item, make sure to check with your Move Manager who can advise whether to take it or not and can also advise if you do decide to take it, what the risks and implications will be. When planning for a move abroad it is also worth having a look at the websites of the customs authorities of your destination for example the  New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website or the Australian Department of Agriculture website.

Certain items will also attract tax and duty such as alcohol so it is definitely worth thoroughly reading the customs guide when planning for a move abroad.


It is generally cheaper to ship your items than to replace them at destination. However, planning for a move abroad is also a great time to de-clutter so make sure to have a sort out early on in the process so that you aren’t paying to ship anything that you don’t really need or want.

Overseas Packing Services

It is usually recommended to choose a professional packing service for your overseas removal. This is because the risks of damage to your items will be greatly reduced with a professional pack. Specialist export packing materials are used which are suitable for international moving. All cartons are double walled for additional strength and packing wrap for furniture is multi-layered to provide the maximum protection. Apart from the quality re-assurance, professional packers can pack at a faster rate so in the long run it is usually more time efficient to use this service. If you do wish to pack some personal items yourself, the moving company should be able to give you some cartons on the day of your move.

Insurance Planning for a Move Abroad

When planning for a move abroad, don’t forget to take out insurance. It will provide peace of mind for you whilst your belongings are in transit. Most moving companies will provide a door to door insurance quotation with your removal quote. Make sure to check if there any exclusions and if there is an excess on the policy.

If you need any further tips when planning for a move abroad, have a look at our moving guides for more detailed information or get in touch for advice on your move.

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