Moving Household Goods
The available budget and your employer’s relocation policy may dictate how you move your household goods. But one size doesn’t fit all and there are many options available to you when moving your personal belongings overseas. Determine which of your belongings you need when, and see which one or more transportation methods works best for you.
The Moving Truck
If you aren’t crossing any large bodies of water or large continents, it is likely that the easiest and most cost effective method to move your belongings is by road. The truck can be easily loaded and unloaded at both ends with the same crew, requiring the minimum amount of handling, and a typical transit time of only a few weeks at most.
Even if you need to cross the North Sea, or other similar sized body of water, where roll-on-roll-off ferry services are available, a truck is often still the most efficient method.
The Shipping Container
Moving household goods across larger oceans, where road transport is not feasible, you are likely to find the most economic method of transport is the shipping container. They come in a variety of sizes, typically 20ft, 40ft and 40ft high cube, and depending on the volume of your belongings, you can either receive a dedicated container that will transport just your goods, or you may share a container with one or more other person’s belongings going in the same direction.
Shipping your belongings by container will likely take longer than by road. Door to door container shipping time can take one to two months, or more, depending on where its coming from and going to, the routing it takes, how long it takes to clear customs, and whether it is a shared container.
Shipping containers are a great option for moving larger volumes of household goods that you do not need immediate access to, over longer distances,
More expensive than road or ocean transport is the air freight shipment. With a typical door-to-door shipping time of no more than a week, contingent on the origin and destination, and how long it takes to clear customs, an air shipment is typically reserved for a smaller number of more critical items, that you need access to sooner than a shipping container would allow.
An air shipment may also be suitable for a relocation that involves only a small quantity of items. Pricing is based on the volume of the shipment as well as its weight.
Not to be overlooked is shipping via one of the global expeditors, such as FedEx, UPS or DHL. They offer a variety of service types, from overnight, to less eye wateringly expensive economy shipments. FedEx for example offers a 25Kg box option which has a fixed price to the destination for any shipment up to 25kg (55 lbs) that fits inside the (complementary) box. If you are an individual relocating, or only have a need for a small expedited shipment, a small number of 25Kg boxes may be a cost effective way to ship your household goods. They can also typically be shipped around the World in just a few days.
Check to see if your employer has a corporate discount on the standard rates with one or more of the expeditors.
Expeditor shipments can be picked up from your home and delivered to exactly where you need them, whether that be your new home, office, hotel, or a colleagues home. You can also arrange to collect them from a nearby FedEx Office or UPS Store, or shipping center near to where you will be staying.
Check In Baggage
If you are flying to your new home, you will often be provided with an included baggage allowance. Since this allowance is free to use, it is in your interests to take maximum advantage of it. Available immediately upon arrival in your destination, you should prioritize it for items that you will need in short order.
If you are planning on exceeding your free allowance, it is worth calculating exactly what they additional cost will be. Airlines have instituted policies in the last few years that have greatly increased the cost of additional baggage. You may discover that shipping excess baggage with FedEx or UPS is cheaper.
Alternatively, check your employer’s travel policies and contracted rates. You may be able to upgrade to a higher class of service for minimal expense that also comes with a greater baggage allowance. Alternatively, consider using airmiles to upgrade, which also comes with the increased baggage allowance. This may be the most cost effective way to carry additional belongings with you.
Carry On Baggage
The luggage you carry on board the aircraft with you will be the most limited. Flying in higher classes of travel will sometimes give you a greater allowance, but airlines typically still only allow a maximum of two carryon bags per passenger. If you are traveling with children, make sure to use their allowances to the maximum as well – even if you end up carrying one of their bags for them.
The contents of your carry on baggage should be limited to items required inflight, and your most valuable and critical belongings. These include money, financial cards, passports, all visa and immigration paperwork that you will need to enter the country, medication, small personal electronic items and valuable jewelry.
Security should always be kept in mind with checkin baggage, and indeed any other method of shipping your belongings. Computers, phones, tablets, jewelry and medication should never be placed in check in luggage. Valuables be carried on your person at all times if possible, and be fully insured for loss and theft at all times.
Even if you are having your belongings packed professionally, you will need to segregate the items into different groups depending upon which shipment method they will be traveling. This task will take you longer than you could ever imagine, so there is no better time to start than the present!