If you’re ready to explore living in a new country and culture, you should know there’s more to international moving than meets the eye. Relocating abroad involves much more than packing a bag or two and boarding your flight, and to tackle your move successfully, there’s a lot you need to know.

From finding an international moving and freight company to packing your belongings and the move itself, read on to learn some of our best tips for planning and conducting your relocation.

What to Look For in an International Moving Company

Hiring an international moving company is a major deal as that company will have control of your belongings while they’re in transit. That’s why it’s imperative that you research your options extensively before making a decision. To help ensure you’re hiring the best international moving company for the job, be sure to look for:

●        Customer testimonials. Reviews from previous customers will give you considerable insight into the way an international moving company operates and how they handle consumer complaints. If the company has a website (it’s not a good idea to work with them if they don’t) check out reviews there, and Google should also have plenty of testimonials, too. You should also be able to check their complaint history on the Better Business Bureau website.

●        Specific experience. There are plenty of moving companies that will tell you they can help you arrange an international move, but if they don’t specialize in that service, keep looking. You want a company that has years of experience coordinating and executing overseas relocations. Remember: You’ll be relying on them to get all of your belongings to your new home safely. 

●        Customs expertise. All of your belongings will have to pass through customs when you move to a new country, so make sure the companies you’re considering have experience in customs regulations and procedures. An experienced company will give you information on customs duties, port fees, and the documentation required to get your things to your new home as smoothly as possible.

●        Licensing and accreditation. Any reputable international moving company will be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission. It’ll likely also hold some form of accreditation from or membership in reputable international organizations like the IAM or FIDI. You should be able to find this information on each company’s website.

Start Planning Your Move as Early as Possible

Proper planning is key for a successful overseas relocation, so it’s in your best interest to start the planning process as early as you can. Ideally, you’ll want to start planning about eight months to a year before your intended move date. That way, you’ll have ample time to research and hire movers, pack up your house, get your visas or permits, and find a new living situation.

To ensure you can snag the time slot you want on your preferred moving company’s schedule, do your best to book your move dates about six months in advance. 

Packing for an International Move

What should you pack in your personal bags and what should end up with the international freight company? You’ll want to keep highly valuable items, personal documents, and a few other odds in an easily accessible place so you know where they are when you need them. During an international relocation, it’s in your best interest to pack the following things in your own bags:

●        Birth certificates

●        Medical records

●        Visas or work permits

●        Social security card

●        Marriage certificate

●        Personal electronics

●        Adapter plugs for international power outlets

It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re shipping your belongings by sea, it can take up to a month for them to arrive. Any items you cannot wait for should be packed in your personal suitcases unless you’re okay with purchasing substitutes in your destination country.

When you pack up your home, it may be a good idea to rent a long-term storage unit if you know you’ll eventually be moving back to the states. Ideally, you’ll want to look for climate-controlled storage to ensure your belongings don’t suffer heat- or moisture-related damage while they’re in storage.

As for the packing process itself, be sure to use sturdy, new moving boxes that will provide sufficient protection for your things. Use plenty of bubble wrap and other protective packing materials that will guard against breakage during transport. For inventory purposes, document the contents of each box thoroughly.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure you fully understand what you can and cannot bring into your destination country. If you pack something that’s not allowed, it will be disposed of at customs.

If you’re unsure how to pack properly for an international move, it’s in your best interest to hire professional movers and packers who can handle the job for you. They’ll ensure your valuables are safely packed and will also provide liability insurance that will reimburse you in the event your items get lost or damaged.

Looking for Long-Distance Movers in the Twin Cities?

If you’re planning an international location, let our team at Ace Moving & Warehousing help you out! For more than 60 years we’ve been helping Minneapolis and St. Paul residents with their international moving needs, and we’re a proud partner of Atlas Van Lines, a worldwide leader in overseas relocations.

To get started or learn more about how we can make your international move easier, give us a call today at 763-755-2045 or request a fast quote, and we’ll get in touch!