Author Topic: International Moving  (Read 2589 times)

alarswilson

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International Moving
« on: October 29, 2015, 12:32:18 AM »
My family and I will be moving to the USA from France sometime next year. We have a modest moving allowance, but it will not cover all expenses--they rarely do. We're in the process of getting quotes from moving companies, and they vary wildly, from 4000 to nearly 8000 for around 10 cubic meters (or thereabouts). We're rather flexible on what we bring back. Our furniture is mostly Ikea, which we will sell here. The non-negotiables are mostly books (1500 of them--we're academics), tools, kitchen supplies--heavier, rather than bulky items. I have several bicycles, too but cannot tell from the quotes how much they will cost to move--I don't want to spend 300 to move a 200 bicycle. Etc.

In any case, does anyone have experience with this situation, or can offer any creative money-saving options? Thanks for your suggestions.

tommyD

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Re: International Moving
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2015, 03:53:36 AM »
Hello, 

I was in a similar situation as you, moving from the US to France.  Normally you have two means of moving your goods, via a shipping container on a boat and via plane.  Shipping containers range in size and are cheaper but take longer to receive your goods.  I suggest making two piles of goods.  Things you need right away and things you can wait on. 

The things you need right away quote air shipment for those goods and compare that vs the cost of bringing them on the flight with you if it's possible (ie via additional check luggage).

For things you can wait on ask how long it will take to ship & receive the goods at your new residence, and ask for shipping container size options.  Minimizing costs is by not getting a bigger shipping container then you need (biggest impact on cost), planning the timing to receive goods so you don't have to buy new things while you wait for your things to arrive, and also not paying for storage (or minimal time in storage).  Also make sure to quote the costs of storage, even if you don't plan on it, if your new residence is not ready or any other reason for delays you don't want to be surprised being charged very high storage fees (which can happen if you don't pre-negotiate a cost).

Hope it helps.

NonprofitER

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Re: International Moving
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2015, 07:52:42 AM »
I think it depends on whether or not the move is "permanent" or "for the foreseeable future".

When we moved to from the US to New Zealand, we  shipped by boat ~10 cubic meters - pretty much the same things you've listed (the bulk being books, but also some kitchenware, two bikes, some photo albums). It was several years ago now and cost about $5k USD. We moved back to the USA 5 years later and it cost about $7k to move it all back - again, no furniture, just the books, kithenware, clothes, some toys for the toddler we had by then, etc.  While it was great having our books and small things (and we were both in grad school), if I had to do it over again, I probably would not have shipped my stuff back and forth across the globe.  While we still use all the same books and pots and pans, they do get ware and tear from the trip - humidity, mustiness, etc. Clothing in particular was a bit funky after shipping - even after shipping them in a closed container in vacuum seal bags, etc.

But, if you're moving more permanently, its nice to have your 'forever' things. The good news is that - at least in our case - the shippers do all the packing for you on both sides. They bring all the boxes, bubble wrap, etc. and make the master inventory list, etc. then unwrap it on arrival and tote away all the cardboard, etc. That felt quite fancy. Being frugal I asked if we could lower the cost by packing ourselves, but at the time we were told they have to pack it so they can pinky swear to customs about the contents. 

alarswilson

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Re: International Moving
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2015, 08:17:57 AM »
We're taking a long trip in the interim, so plane vs boat makes no difference. We're not likely to coming back here to live in the immediate future either. Thanks for the quote. It sounds about the same as the quotes we're getting--since most of the cost is the labor and transfer costs, the distance shouldn't make a huge difference.

I mean, we're comfortable taking just the books (probably 50 boxes) and a boxes of other stuff, so I'm just looking to get some feedback for rates and to see if anybody can pitch in to suggest  some reasonable alternatives that the usual moving companies. I would like to have some reasonable info, like "how much more will it cost me to bring this bike, chair," etc. Because if its a lot, we'll simply leave it behind.

KCM5

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Re: International Moving
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2015, 08:27:14 AM »
Have you considered leaving your stuff with friends/parents and taking what you love back piecemeal? It's really expensive to ship stuff across the ocean, but bringing an extra box or two home with you on the airplane is pretty reasonable. When I do a trans Atlantic move I try to avoid shipping at all. But then again my stuff just isn't worth enough. BUT we've lived in the US for 7 years and my spouse is still bringing things back here from home - although I think he's done now.

alarswilson

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Re: International Moving
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2015, 12:26:47 AM »
Yeah, I thought of the airplane option, but we have too much stuff to make that reasonable. We're not planning on moving back or returning more than occasionally. We carted all our 1500 books here when we came 7 years ago. Bulky furniture will mostly stay. We do have a limited allowance, we're just trying to maximize its use. We may just have to bite it.

2Cent

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Re: International Moving
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2015, 05:17:37 AM »
Be aware of low-ball offers from dodgy companies. I heard stories of "delays" and unforeseen extra expenses that give the people a lot of trouble. So go with a reputable company. You could also check if your company can get you a discount with some shipping company. Kind of depends on the size of your company though.