7 Things You Need to Know Before Your International Move

The anticipation of being engrossed in a different culture is thrilling, but it can quickly become stressful, too.

By Guy Bachar

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When it comes to moving overseas, there's so much planning, prepping and saving that has to be done, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. This is especially true when it comes to the actual moving. How do you get all of your belongings safely and securely out of the U.S. and into another country?

It's actually easier than you might think, and working with the right international shipping company will make all the difference. But you'll have to do some homework in order to find the best mover to meet your needs. Read on to learn how you can find the best international shipper and make relocating a breeze.

Related: How Living and Learning Abroad Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

Get clear about what you're shipping

Before you can even start shopping around for a shipping company, you need to know exactly what you're taking with you. Are you planning on keeping your car? How big of a space are you moving from? Taking these things into consideration will help you better prepare when it comes to your budget and complying with shipping regulations.

When relocating internationally, a lot of people choose to downsize significantly, but it also depends on your price range. Take some time to really think about what you want to bring and what you can leave behind. Having a near-exact estimate of the overall weight and size will ensure you get an accurate quote when you're shopping around.

Consider your destination

Not all shipping companies deliver to the same destinations, and even if they do, they don't offer the same rates. That said, knowing where you're moving to is essential when it comes to picking the right one. Not only will your destination affect your number of shipping options, but it will also affect the cost. The longer the distance, the more you'll have to invest in shipping.

Think of your timeframe

How quickly do you need your belongings? Not only that, when is your ideal moving date? Each international shipping company offers their own timeframes and delivery methods. The slowest, and most commonly available, option is by boat. This is also the most cost-effective option.

If you need something in a shorter timeframe, some movers even offer international air freight for quicker turnarounds. Narrow down an exact timeline for your move and decide what your budget is so you can choose the best delivery method.

Understand the shipping costs

Of course, the cost is probably the first thing you'll consider, but that doesn't mean you should automatically choose the cheapest option you find. Unfortunately, some shipping companies will initially provide you with a really low rate, but after all is said and done, you end up paying more than the pricier quote.

That's because there are other fees that go into the final price. Shipping involves more than just moving your items from point A to point B. There are insurance costs, packing costs and other expenses you might not be aware of. So when you get an offer, read the fine print before committing to any company.

In addition to carefully looking at the written details, don't be afraid to ask them the following questions:

  • Does the rate include packing and unpacking?
  • Can the rate they quoted you change?
  • Are there any additional fees you should know about?
  • Is insurance included, or will you have to pay extra for third-party coverage?
  • Do they only move from port to port, or will they pick up and deliver at your residence?

Do your research

Before you make any concrete plans with an international shipping company, do your research. Not all movers offer the same services. For instance, it's best to work with a business that can help with customs regulations. This is pretty common, but it's still good to verify.

You also want to look for a shipper that is fully licensed, insured and bonded. This adds an extra level of security for your belongings should anything happen during the move. It's also a sign of a credible, trustworthy shipping company.

Weigh your size options

The number of things you move will obviously influence the size of the container you need, which will directly affect your budget. Larger containers will cost a lot more, but will allow you to fit more. This is especially good if you are moving out of a house or if you want to ship a vehicle along with your belongings.

Not bringing a whole lot? Some international movers or general shipping companies like DHL or UPS allow you to pay for a smaller space within a larger, shared container or freight shipment.

Choose an expert international shipping company

Lastly, make sure the company you choose has a stellar reputation when it comes to communication, expertise and service. You should feel comfortable working with a shipper and trust them 100% with your property.

Besides going off of your own interactions with a company, read reviews and see what past customers have to say. Look for reviews that mention how responsive and knowledgeable they are. Were their prices reasonable, or did they discover hidden fees? This can help build your confidence in a company and let you know if they're even worth talking to.

Related: How to Live Abroad and Save More Money

When it comes to planning an overseas move, don't underestimate the difference the right shipping company can make. By working with an experienced international mover, you won't have to worry about customs, hidden fees, tracking your shipment or wondering when it will arrive.

As long as you do your homework and get clear about what your needs are, finding the right international shipping company will be a walk in the park. Just take your time and plan accordingly for the smoothest international move possible.
Guy Bachar

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of Duran Digital

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