Now that you have confirmed your move abroad, it’s time to start planning how to relocate your entire life across the ocean in the most efficient way possible. It’s not just a matter of getting the family (and possibly the family pet) on a plane with their luggage, but your entire household, and maybe even your car, needs to be moved.

With Thanksgiving coming up, we will give you 10 international moving tips that you can truly be thankful for:

1: The shipping company

Moving the entirety of your belongings overseas requires more than just a couple of suitcases – you will most likely need to ship many of your things either by sea or by air.  When searching for the right international shipping company to work with, do your due diligence by checking their experience, customer reviews, and references. NY International Shipping is a professional and reputable company with over 50 years of experience in helping people relocate abroad.

2: Dump what you don’t need

Ship only what you feel you will really need or want; and put the rest in a storage facility, sell or donate it. Especially if you are moving only to “test the waters” or on a temporary assignment. Fight to urge to take things that you think will “be nice to have”; you’ll probably never use them. Plan for differences in climate, seasons and lifestyle– perhaps you won’t need that enormous gas heater or all those rugs. This is also a great opportunity to get rid of that “junk” that has accumulated over the years.

3: Prepare the appropriate documents when relocating for work

If you are relocating for work, you will probably have most of the administrative details – work permits, visas, temporary accommodation etc. – taken care of by your company. Just check on them for your own peace of mind. Make sure that your family also enjoys the same residents’ rights that you do. There may be some countries with special requirements for accompanying family members.

4: Ask your company for a moving allowance

Again, if you’re relocating for work, then presumably you will have negotiated a moving allowance with your company…if not, now is the time to do it.

Your company should take care of all the important elements to ensure that you and your family are moved efficiently and as stress-free as possible.  This way, you will be fresh to start work almost immediately upon arrival. For example, comfortable temporary accommodation, a travel allowance, possibly even a vehicle on the other side, and clothing allowances, particularly if you are going to a different climate or season, should all be points of discussion when negotiating with your employer.

5: Do your research before moving

If you are moving of your own accord, then the best advice we can give here is to research the city you are relocating to and check out the following major points:

  • Visa and residents permit requirements
  • Work permits for you and your spouse
  • Accommodation options
  • Cost of living
  • Mobile phone and data services – you will want to be connected almost immediately

6: Curate your documentation

Ensure that you have all your documentation – birth and marriage certificates, vaccination certificates, driver’s license, passport, etc.  – scanned, copied and stored both physically and in the cloud e. g. Dropbox.

7: Research the best education options for your children

Research and decide where your children will go to school in the new country. You will have a choice of public, private or international schools.

Check out where they are located in relation to where you hope to live, and what facilities the schools offer; size of classes, languages spoken, curriculum, athletic programs and other extra-curricular activities, etc. Once you have a short list, then hopefully you will be able to make an informed decision on where to get the kids enrolled, so they will be ready to get back to their lessons as soon after arrival as possible.

8: How to ship your car

If you are thinking of taking your car overseas, then you need to do some major research and planning.

But before you make that decision, check if they drive on the same side of the road – people moving from the United States to the UK or Australia for example, will be driving on the other side of the road, and there is a possibility that the traffic authorities may not allow the importation of a vehicle which does not have the driver’s seat on the correct side. It’s also dangerous to drive like that, especially when traffic conditions may be somewhat different from what you are used to. Also check out the roadworthy, insurance and third party coverage requirements.

Most importantly, use a shipping company which offers a variety of options customized to the individual needs of each client. Overseas vehicle transportation options should include:

  • Global export and import
  • Port-to-Port relocation of your car with varying shipment methods
  • Containerized shipping (FCL & LCL)
  • Roll-on Roll-off (RO-RO) shipping
  • On-deck conventional international car shipping
  • Many optional extras, such as insurance coverage for your vehicle while in transport

9: How to move your pet abroad

Moving you and your family is stressful enough…but moving pets is even more so. It can be emotionally draining, and the travel and separation can be extremely stressful on the animal.

Ensure that your international moving company is well experienced in this aspect, as you want your pets to arrive in good health and be ready to integrate immediately back into the family. You could also consider using a pet relocation service.

Check out what documentation you need: vaccinations, pedigrees if appropriate, microchips, quarantine regulations (e. g. England requires six months), parasite inoculation, airline and routing requirements for pet cages etc. Here are a few additional tips for this very important aspect of your move:

  • Find out whether or not your pet is allowed into your new country. Some countries have stringent requirements.
  • Get the required documentation. Most countries require at least a Veterinary Import Permit or certificate from your veterinarian to prove that your pet has been vaccinated recently and is free from all parasites or infections.
  • Decide how you will move your pet. Sedation to help make the flight less stressful has been used in many cases, but today there is a school of thought which disagrees with this. Discuss this option with your veterinarian.
  • Use a well-ventilated pet travel container that is large enough for your pet to sit, stand and lie down comfortably. Be sure and find out the requirements of your airlines, as they also vary in what animals they allow and the sizes of the cages.
  • Your pets will be stressed. When you finally move your pets, be sure and take along some of their favorite items, such as toys and blankets. Remember that your pet will be in a new place, so be sure to keep them in the house or fenced in for at least 2-4 weeks so they don’t run away.

Remember, this can be an expensive endeavor, so consider all your options carefully.

10: Clean items before shipping abroad

This may sound trivial, but it is one of the most important things you can do to help your items arrive safely and clear customs at your new destination quickly.

  • Rule of thumb – dirt is the enemy. Anything that comes into contact with mud, dirt or soil needs to be cleaned until it’s spotless: bikes, garden tools, sports equipment, and children’s outdoor play equipment, for example.
  • You should also thoroughly clean items that are used outside but are stored indoors, such as golf clubs, tents and camping equipment, Wellington boots and fishing tackle – even the soles of regular outdoor or sport shoes need to be sparkling clean.
  • If you’re shipping your car it will need to be immaculate inside and out – particularly where tires are concerned as they might be harboring hidden dirt. Have the car professionally valeted a couple of days before you send it off to the movers.
  • Animal hair is a huge negative. Make sure you thoroughly wash and vacuum all pet bedding, grooming equipment and other things that your pets may regularly sit or lie on.

You cannot get away with not bothering to clean items in your shipment; failing a customs inspection is not only expensive, but it will also hold up the transit of your shipment.

If items are found which cause concern and the inspector puts them into quarantine, then your only options will be (at your expense) to either treat them, destroy them, or ship them back home.

Keeping all of this information in mind when preparing for your overseas move will, without a doubt, help to relieve the stress and lessen the fear of the unknown as you embark on this journey.  Now, when you are gathered around your dinner table on Thanksgiving and someone asks “what are you thankful for”, you will have the perfect answer!

Written by Einat Mazafi
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.