How to Pack for an International Move

The key to pulling off a successful international move is preparation. With careful planning and the right guidance, your overseas relocation can be one of the most exciting events you and your family will ever experience. You’ll be exposed to new surroundings, cultures, and lifestyles. Considering all these changes, your International Moving company’s Relocation Specialist can play an essential role in getting you settled in and feeling at home in your new environment.

Pre-move planning
Packing for your International relocation may seem like a daunting process at first, but at the same time, it can be liberating. Because of the nature of your move, this may be your best opportunity to take stock of all your possessions, decide what you want to take with you or leave behind, and start fresh in a while new world. Before you have an International relocation specialist come to your home to conduct an on-site inspection, you should already begin to think about separating items to be sold, stored, disposed of, given away, kept by another family member, or shipped. There are some general questions to keep in mind as you decide what items to ship to your new country.
  • How large is your new home compared to the current one? Will your large furniture items and appliances fit?

  • What is the climate like? Do you have any items that are sensitive to changes in climate or humidity?

  • What is the electrical standard? Will your existing appliances work?

  • Will you be able to purchase household and other items in your destination country?

  • When considering each item, ask yourself, do you really need this to live comfortably abroad? Would it be better not to take this?

  • If you leave an item behind, will it be safe in storage?

  • Will you need the item in the future or when you return home?

As you approach moving day, make a list of which items will accompany you as you travel. This includes clothing, toiletries, medicine, documents, passports, valuables, jewelry, etc. Try not to be overburdened by nonessential possessions.

You may be influenced by the cost of shipping large quantities. If your international move is a corporate relocation, check with your employer first to see if they have any restrictions on the size of your shipment. Some companies place restrictions on the size of household shipments, either by weight or volume, or by excluding certain larger items.

Packing: What to Expect
The first step to protecting your shipment is proper packing. Due to the distance of the move, it is not recommended that you pack the items yourself- leave that to the experts. Overseas wrapping of household goods, as well as loading of the container, is highly specialized and if not done correctly, the results could be disastrous.

Expert packing starts with all new packing materials and cartons. All breakable items such as china, glass and crystal will be individually wrapped prior to packing. All rugs and carpets are will be carefully rolled and wrapped by your packing specialists. Large items such as furniture and other items too large for cartons should be custom-wrapped in special material. In order to maximize available space, cavity spaces such as those inside sideboards, bookcases or underneath dining room chairs, for example, may be filled with linens, lampshades and other light items before being externally wrapped. Polished wooden furniture should be wrapped in wax paper and double-walled or corrugated cardboard. Upholstered items may be wrapped in white craft paper as a dust cover and then wrapped to the contours in double walled corrugated cardboard or cushion craft. Silverware is specially wrapped in acid-free tissue paper.

Sometimes crates are custom-made for heavy and expensive items such as pianos, artwork, marble statues, large glass tabletops, and motorcycles. These skeleton-like crates offer high protection for these items and maximize use of available space inside the container.

Use common sense when thinking about what to include in your international shipment. You should avoid perishable goods and anything that could leak during its journey, and cause significant damage to the articles surrounding it. NEVER pack hazardous materials such as gas, explosives, corrosives, aerosol cans, firearms, ammunition, or flammables. In addition, most countries prohibit the transport of plants or soil of any kind.

Remember, your International Move Specialist will guide you step-by-step through the international relocation process. Finding the right company will make the move as smooth and as uncomplicated as possible. Quotes at Home connects you with highly specialized, qualified International Moving Companies that will help make your move a success. Be sure to consult our other International Moving Guides for more advice on planning your overseas relocation.