Ten Essential Tips for Navigating Your International Move


An international move can be an exciting adventure.

A global perspective with people to meet and areas to explore can make relocating for work and moving abroad feel like a fresh start. To help you on your way with your next step and next move, we’ve compiled a list of ten essential tips:

Know What to Bring Before You Go

It’s important to know what you can and cannot bring when relocating overseas, so checking customs information for your destination country should be your first step. Most countries will require returning residents and non-residents to provide a complete inventory of household and personal effects to local Customs upon request.

In addition to any items that may be prohibited from entry into the country you are moving to, you may also want to consider factors like compatibility with electrical outlets (fun fact: as of September 2021, there are 15 types of domestic electrical outlet plugs in use worldwide). Electronics and household appliances that are not compatible with the outlets in your new home should be left behind.

Transporting your vehicle abroad can be a complex and expensive process. Nonetheless, should you decide to transport your vehicle, planning ahead is key.

Simplify Your Move

Your next step is to simplify as much as you can. If you anticipate your move will be a year or less, then you can accomplish your international relocation with minimal packing and shipping. You may find it easier to avoid shipping your household goods back and forth when moving to another country for only a short duration. Our secure warehouse facilities are a safe and convenient option for storing items while you’re abroad.

Pack Personal Care Products in Your Luggage

Be sure to pack personal care products like toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, makeup, soap, small bottles of shampoo and conditioner, and a hair dryer since you may want to shower before you can get to the store when you arrive in your new country.

Reduce Shipping Delays on Essential Items

Shipping items via air is a great option if you can spare the expense. Air transit, or unaccompanied baggage, is a surefire way to avoid shipping and port of entry delays. While your list of essential items may vary, it will typically include personal clothing and equipment, essential pots and pans, and light housekeeping items. Your list might also include collapsible items like cribs, playpens, baby carriages and strollers, and any other items required for the care of children or other family members.

Pare Down and Pack Lightly

When moving internationally, you can reduce moving expenses by packing lightly. Move your most precious belongings, and leave perishable food and replaceable toiletries with friends or family who can use them. An international relocation is a good time to pare down, by donating or discarding any household goods that you haven’t used in a while or no longer hold any value to you.

We recommend grouping your items into these five categories: keep, store, donate, recycle and discard. As you think about the household and personal effects you are moving overseas, identify items that are a necessity, have sentimental value or those that can be obtained for a reasonable price in your new country versus the cost of shipping them.

Our experienced global mobility professionals can help you obtain an international moving quote on the cost of moving your household goods to another country, so that you can compare that to the cost of replacing those items after your move.

Bring a Piece of Home with You

While you’ll want to limit the shipment of any unnecessary items overseas, it’s important to take some items with you that remind you of home, especially if you’re moving with children. Adjusting to a new environment is easier with a little bit of familiarity.

Prepare Your Pet

Moving abroad with your pet is relatively straightforward, provided that you keep a few things in mind. First, you’ll only be able to take your pet overseas with you if you can prove that it is healthy and free from disease, so one of the first things you’ll need to do is get a blood test by a laboratory approved by the country that you’re moving to. You’ll also need to have your pet vaccinated, and ensure that it has been treated for ticks and tapeworms at least 24 hours before your international move.

Make Copies of Important Documents

Whenever possible, get multiple copies of your official documents. Scan them online into cloud storage for electronic retrieval. Leave one copy with a family member, one copy in storage and take one with you. Work with an expert for your visa paperwork and any other documentation you may need to travel, and consider registering with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Choose Your Bank

Keep a U.S. bank, if possible. Even if you’ll be abroad for an extended period, having a U.S. bank is very useful for visits back and transactions worldwide. Research banks in your new home country, and make sure you speak with an advisor or banker about any differences in banking and finance regulations.

Mind Your Meds (and Your Health)

Before you leave, get a full medical checkup and any immunizations that you need. If an employer is moving you, talk to your human resources manager to learn about medical, dental and vision benefits while overseas. Take a sufficient supply of any prescription medications you may need, be sure to keep them in their original containers and remember to take a small travel kit with any essential over-the-counter medications.

COVID-19 Update: Omicron is Impacting International Travel

The emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is prompting new travel requirements around the world – and, in many cases, further complicating international travel.

Current CDC guidance does not recommend international travel for those who are not vaccinated. If you are traveling overseas, know that COVID-19 vaccination, testing, masking and social distancing requirements vary and can change at any time. Regardless of your destination, we encourage you to bring proof of vaccination – your CDC-issued vaccine card, along with digital photos and photocopies of your card – and, if required, coronavirus test results.

Our best advice is to check the official government websites for the countries you are planning to travel through and to, particularly as your travel date approaches.

Make Your Move…and Let Us Show You the Way

Moving or relocating abroad can be new and exciting, and working with an experienced, professional mover like Interstate can make it surprisingly easy. Our international and relocation professionals have years of experience and can help you and your family navigate the ins and outs of an international move or relocation.

Contact us today for a no obligation, free quote.

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