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How to Plan Your International Move

Leaving the US and preparing for an international move may be the most logistically complex task you’re ever required to complete. Do not underestimate the amount of planning and precision required to move your things to a permanent home outside the country.


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However, there is no need for it to be a miserable experience. If you are prepared, plan well ahead in advance—we’re talking months—and keep a keen awareness of customs laws and other key concerns, you’ll have nothing to worry about as you cross the border to your new home.


Let Everybody Know

This moving basic is universal: everyone needs to know you’re leaving. However, it is more important in this situation. Contact your utility companies, all financial institutions (you don’t want it to look like you’re fleeing credit card debt), schools, health care providers, and friends. Ensuring continuity of information is an essential task that cannot be overstated.


Finding a Mover

Choosing a company to relocate your things should start early—we’re talking six months. You need to set up a stringent process for determining what international moving company will be trusted with getting your items to another nation—perhaps to another continent.


Get at least three estimates for moving costs. You will probably want the mover to pack your things as well: your things are moving an incredibly long distance, and are likely to be jostled around more than you think. Get insurance, and get it guaranteed. Verify how that insurance works internationally, and how it can work for you in the event your property is damaged.


The Federal Maritime Commission has a registry of movers that transport items across the ocean. You should be able to verify any international moving company’s reputation through that system.


Once you’ve picked a mover, you need to set your moving date at least three months ahead.


Take Inventory

Take inventory of everything. Use as much detail as you can. Write down serial numbers if at all possible. Take pictures. In addition, you’ll want to get as clear a pictures of the living space you’ll be moving into as possible. Are you moving your appliances? Are you moving your vehicle? Is there any way you can execute the move without taking those large items? You may save a significant amount of shipping costs if you do.


Make the Move

If you feel that you are adequately prepared, then re-verify everything. Make sure any pets you are moving are properly quarantined. Make sure you know all the customs laws, and that they have been verified to pieces—also take note that those laws can change drastically, and without notice.


Once you have made the move, just sit back and relax, enjoying a relatively low-stress relocation to your new home in another country.