Planning an international move? Find out how to properly pack your belongings for overseas shipping so they arrive on time and without damage.
When will I receive my goods?
Unfortunately, an overseas move is a long, complicated process that involves endless paperwork, customs clearance, and thousands of miles of travel! Shipping your household goods can take a significant time period–depending on whether you ship them via air freight or sea freight.
When shipped via sea freight, your belongings can take up to four months to import. However, the items you pack in your air shipment will usually arrive within one month–maybe sooner. Most customers opt to ship essentials vial air freight and the rest of their household goods via sea freight.
Then, of course, there’s everything you pack in your luggage, which will arrive alongside you in your new country.
When preparing for your international move, keep these time frames in mind so you can strategically pack your goods for your convenience.
Packing your carry-on
Find out the regulations for carry-on luggage from your airline. Each airline has different rules regarding the size, weight and type of carry-on permitted on board. You may be allowed one rolling piece of luggage and a laptop case/purse, or you may be limited to just one small bag. Being aware of the guidelines in advance will prevent you from having to check luggage filled with items needed on the plane because it is too large or heavy to allow on board.
Your carry-on should be filled with your most essential items–the things you’ll need not only on the plane, but immediately upon arrival in case your checked luggage becomes lost. You should also pack anything extremely valuable or irreplaceable. These items include, but are not limited to:
- Important documents (birth certificates, marriage certificate, moving-related documents, school and health records, insurance policies, deeds, etc.)
- Your passport and airline ticket (you don’t want these to accidently end up in your overseas shipment!)
- Your laptop, camera, phone, MP3 player, and any other device, with applicable chargers and adapters
- Medicines and prescriptions
- Glasses/ contacts
- Wallet/credit cards/cash
- A change of clothes
- Snacks for the plane
Packing your luggage
Pack your checked luggage with items you will need soon after you arrive, but could live without in the rare occurrence that your bag is misplaced. Many airlines permit you one checked bag for free, but if you wish to check extra leuggage you will incur a fee. Inquire about size and weight restrictions for checked luggage prior to flying.
Items to pack in your luggage include:
- Clothing and shoes. Make sure the attire is weather appropriate for your new locale and versatile enough to accommodate your needs until arrival of your air shipment.
- Toys and games for your children.
- Toiletries. Unless you plan to purchase all new products immediately upon arrival, include your shampoo, soap, hair dryer, and other essentials in your luggage.
- A towel.
- An air bed. It may be a long time before you see your bed! Packing an air mattress, (and possibly a small blanket and pillow if space permits) will make the first weeks (or months) in your new home more comfortable.
Packing your air shipment
An air shipment is usually only a few hundred pounds and should include only items you’ll need right away in your new home, since it is a costlier method of shipping. Consider what, if anything, your new home will already feature and what items are most necessary.
Goods to pack in your air shipment include:
- Cookware. Eating out will get expensive! Pack your (non-breakable) cookware, pots, pans, and utensils. Avoid fragile glassware and dishes–air shipments are more susceptible to damage. Delicate items should be shipped via sea freight.
- Bedding, linens and towels.
- More clothing and shoes.
- Additional children’s toys, bikes, sporting equipment to keep them busy.
- Books, CDs, and DVDs–you may need a little entertainment yourself! (If you don’t have your television, you can always watch movies on your laptop).
Packing your household effects shipment
The remainder of your household goods will be packed in your sea shipment. This includes your furniture, bed, electronics, lamps, knick-knacks, etc. At International Sea & Air Shipping, we offer professional packing services to ensure your goods arrive without a scratch in your new country. We provide furniture wrapping to protect your furniture from dirt and scratches and pre-wrap all of your delicate items with proper materials for optimal protection required for overseas shipping.We also specialize in custom crating and export casing items such as pianos, grandfather clocks, statues,artwork, chandeliers, and fine china to prevent damage and give you ultimate peace of mind!
It is absolutely imperative that you purchase insurance coverage for your goods before they make their trek to your new home country. Everything you own will be traveling a very long way–you will want to be adequately compensated in the unfortunate event that your goods are lost or damaged. International Sea & Air Shipping offers our Marine Insurance policy to protect your household goods during your overseas move. Call us or schedule an in-home survey for more information on insurance rates for your shipment.