What you need to know

Moving overseas?

Are you moving overseas without a company to back you and pay for your relocation? Then it might be an option for you to ship your goods with a regular forwarder instead of a traditional moving company, which is often 70-80% more expensive.

1. Are you moving overseas at your own expense?

Far from all forwarders are willing to deal with moving goods and personal effects. In fact, almost all forwarders, principally, say ‘no thank you’ and are quick to reject any moving goods requests. They do so based on bad experiences in the past, experiences derived from private customers not knowing how forwarders and lorries work, and therefore have unrealistic expectations in regards to the service they purchase.

However, if it is done right, it is definitely possible to arrange to move overseas with a forwarder. The key to an inexpensive and trouble-free move is that it takes place on the forwarders grounds, not yours.

Moving overseas

You will need to do all the legwork yourself in order for the forwarder to easily pick-up and handle your goods–in regards to both packing and documentation. It will require a great effort on your side, but you will also benefit from great savings.

2. How much space do I need?

The first thing you need to do is assess how many items you need to be moved and how much space it will take. Instead of dealing with shipping furniture, consider leaving the furniture at home and buying new when you arrive. This is often the best and cheapest solution when moving overseas.

moving abroad price

The basic question you need to answer is whether you need a full container for your goods or if you can do with just a couple of pallets. A rule of thumb is that a fully furnished 2 bedroom apartment requires a 20-foot container.

If you leave your furniture at home, you will probably be able to do with 2-3 pallets. A single pallet can hold almost 2 cubic meters, which corresponds to around 12 large moving boxes (60x40x40cm).

If you are unsure about the volume of your goods, you are more than welcome to contact us at [email protected]. Please include a list of the things you are looking to send and include measurements (LxWxH), then we will be happy to help you specify the volume of your shipment.


3. Packing

Except for furniture, all items should be packed in boxes. This also applies to your bike if you are bringing it. Glass and other fragile items will need to be packed in paper, bubble wrap, towels, or other similar alternatives. It is your responsibility to pack your goods in a proper way in order for it to withstand the long journey overseas.

When the boxes are packed you will need to arrange them on pallets and secure the pallets with sides and a top–the top and sides should be fastened to the bottom of the pallet with straps or similar, thus ensuring that the goods can not slide off the pallet during transportation.

The pallets should be packed in a correct manner so they are resilient for the long journey by truck, train, or ship. And also to be handled several times along the way by forklifts and pallet lifts.

Both pallets, pallet sides, moving boxes and straps can be acquired at your local hardware store.

If you need a full container for your move, you will not need to ready your goods on pallets. In this case, you are also responsible for packing the container properly, and it is very important that everything is fastened to the container in case the waves get rough on the ocean. Use the straps found in the bottom of the container to avoid your goods tipping over and breaking.

Packing to move over seas

4. Packing list and proforma invoice

We will send you an Excel sheet containing the template for a packing list and proforma invoice. As you go on packing you should fill out the list describing what you are transporting and an assessment of the value of your goods.

The packing list and proforma invoice are needed for customs clearance. Normally you will not have to pay duty on moving goods and private effects, however, Customs still needs to know the content and value of your goods.

5. Pallets and moving boxes

If you are moving outside of Europe, it is required that the pallets are ISPM15-certified. This simply means that the pallets are heat-treated and sprayed in such a way that beetles and fungus cannot live in them.
It is also important that you use the professional versions of moving boxes, and that they are new – or almost new. These professional boxes are far more resilient than the normal light version, which is often used to move locally. The professional boxes can be stacked higher and handle more weight without falling apart. This makes the entire packing more stable and will protect your goods in the best way when moving overseas.

6. Road access

When the haulier collects your goods, he will arrive with a pallet lifter and a large truck with a lift. He must be able to drive the pallets directly onto the truck with the pallet lift. So, if you live on the 4th floor, you have to make the pallets ready on the ground floor, so he can easily access them. If you have gravel in the driveway, which a pallet lifter cannot drive on, then you should have the pallets ready somewhere else, such as next door, or you can put out road plates. Last but not least, you, or someone you know, must be home when the haulier arrives. Otherwise, he will leave without your moving goods.

Road access

7. Documentation

In addition to the package list, there are often a number of documents to be completed when you are moving overseas. These vary depending on which country you move to or from.

Common for all of them, however, is that a copy of your passport is required. In addition, there is usually also a recipient form for the country you are moving to.

8. Insurance

When moving overseas transport insurance is required if you book your transport via Transporteca. The price depends on the value of your goods and is easy to calculate:

Within the EU and to/from North America and Asia: 1.5% of the total value, but a minimum of GBP 90.
To/from other countries: 3.0% of the total value, but a minimum of GBP 90.

9. Pricing your move

As you can see from above it is definitely possible to prepare a cheap solution for moving overseas. Below we have gathered some price examples that Transporteca has handled in the past

The prices are all-in, meaning door-to-door services with no additional costs. Thus, the prices include customs clearance and insurance, which in these examples vary between USD 115 and USD 230:

20-foot container from Florida to Berlin – GBP 5.727
2 pallets from Copenhagen to Sydney – GBP 2.498
1 pallet from Milan to Los Angeles – GBP 1.427

Moving overseas to Florida

In some cases, it might be a better option for you to only buy transport to the port of arrival and then handle the further transport from there yourself. This may be an advantage if you are able to collect the goods yourself or if you have contacts in the country that can handle delivery for you. Below you can find a few examples of such transportation:

2 pallets from London to New York (delivery at the port of arrival) – GBP 1.183
1 pallet from Amsterdam to Valparaiso (delivery at the port of arrival) – GBP 753
4 pallets from Brussels to New York (delivery at the port of arrival) – GBP 2.238

Next step when you are moving overseas and looking to save money

Please get in touch via [email protected] or give us a call at +44 20 8068 2122, we will be happy to look into your request and get back to you as soon as possible.