Preparing to move abroad

Karen Money, Manager of Misterdemenagement.com, offers some advice to help you prepare for your move abroad.Karen

You need to start preparing your move abroad at least two to three months before departure.

The first step is to choose your international mover. Be sure to get several quotes to compare not just prices but the services provided.

To give you a proper estimate, the mover must visit your home. This visit is carried out by a move consultant who will then be your single point of contact.  During the visit, the consultant will calculate the volume and choose the objects and furniture to be shipped.

You are advised not to take low-cost flat-pack furniture with you as it often proves impossible to put back together again in the new house. Also, you should focus on items of real sentimental value.  If you have to choose between your photo album and your bike, take the photos!

The move consultant will also identify fragile items such as mirrors, which require special packaging in wooden crates. Remember to check that the quote is clear and comprehensive. It should include taxes, customs fees and insurance.  Obviously, everything should be included and the mover should handle the packing and provide items such as adhesive tape, triple wall cardboard boxes, crates etc.).

An international move requires specific expertise and the mover must be able to manage a process involving a number of different operators: the forwarding agent and the point of contact abroad.  They should also understand the local particularities in the destination country and deal with all the customs formalities. You should therefore choose a professional who is used to handling international moves. FAIM Certification (FIDI Accredited International Movers) awarded by FIDI (International Federation of International Movers) is a guarantee of the technical competence and reliability of the mover.

For reasons of cost, shipping is preferred to air freight which is very rarely used. Delivery times vary and can be very long. It takes six weeks for a move from France to Asia, four weeks for the United States and eight weeks for Australia.  As for price, remember that moving 30m³ of furniture and personal belongings by sea (the equivalent of a 3/4 roomed-flat) costs approximately €7,000 for New York and € 8,500 for Tokyo.

Given these costs, young people on limited budgets tend to organise the move themselves by choosing to take only the bare minimum: clothes, books and small personal items. They then rent a furnished apartment and re-equip when they arrive.

For expatriates, the employer generally pays for the move as this benefit is included in the "expatriate package".  In this case, the expatriate moves the entire contents of their home.  Generally, only large household appliances are left behind due to volume and different electrical standards.
 
Finally, remember that you can negotiate the price more easily if you move during off-peak times for movers; that means avoiding the summer months and the end of the year.

Karen Money
Misterdemenagement.com

Finding a reliable international mover

The website of the French Association of International Movers has a list of movers who comply with FAIM (Fidi Accredited International Mover) certification standards as laid down by the FIDI: http://www.fidi-france.com/membres

FAIM certification is a guarantee of a consistent level of quality throughout all phases of the move, anywhere in the world.

Date of publication May 2 2012

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