Many people who migrate overseas are shocked by how high the cost of international moving can be. Below, we’re looking at many of the expected and unpredictable costs you might face and how to save money.
Moving & Transportation Costs
The highest single cost you face is contracting an international moving service to move your products from your country house A to your new country house B. You may compare the companies using the below methods.
The cost would be dependent on a few key factors:
The scale of the move: the larger the move, the more costly it will be. This happens both in terms of weight and volume. Groupage providers will reduce this payment if you do not have enough items for a full load.
Distance: The further you need to go, the more costly it would be.
Route: Some destinations are quite popular, and some are quite uncommon. For example, international travel between Canada and the United States or within Europe is popular, and these routes would usually be cheaper due to competition than less common routes.
Transportation Process: The method you use to transport your items is a huge factor in the final price you pay. Shipping by sea is the cheapest option, whereas shipping by air is the most costly. Trucks will almost always perform the first and last legs of every move, regardless of the method(s) used between them.
Given that sea freight is the cheapest choice, some people are trying to go directly to a foreign shipping firm. Although this can often be cheaper, most of these firms are not set up to travel home but instead deal mainly with freight transport.
You will also want to read our International Container Shipping Costs guide or hop right into having international moving quotes to get a deeper understanding of moving and transport costs.
Typical cost: starting at USD 1,000 (£750; €900) and will comfortably reach $10,000 for long-distance overseas travel.
Loading & Unpacking Costs
Although not all moving firms charge more for loading and unpacking, many do. Depending on the country you travel to, you do not have the option to pay this fee. The explanation is that certain country’s customs documents ask the moving firm to have a voucher for the items being transported and ensure that nothing illicit is delivered.
Illegal objects include obvious things, such as narcotics and weapons, but can also include things that you may not be sure of, such as certain plants or animals. Moving companies found in violation of the law could face fines or revocation of their licences and, as a result, the ability to conduct business in that region.
If you want to avoid or reduce this fee, be sure to talk to your mover to see if there’s something you can do. Often you can save money by packaging it yourself. However, you can leave the boxes open to check. And on the other hand, you will still save money if you want to unpack items yourself in your new home.
Finally, bear in mind that there’s no way around paying for packaging things like boxes, bubble wrap and tape.
Typical cost: beginning at USD 100 (£75, €90), but typically a few hundred bucks.
Moving insurance costs
Some moving firms include insurance at their quoted rates, but not all of them. Make careful to verify just what the insurance policy does and does not cover.
If the products are shipped by sea, you’re going to want to make sure there’s some marine insurance scheme. No matter what, you want to have a scheme that protects the entire amount of loss, theft or damage to all of your products.
Typical Cost: Starting at USD 100 (£75, €90), but can be even higher when shipping high-value, exotic or uncommon items.
Costs of storage
When you travel abroad, you will find that you have to pay for storage in addition to your normal moving costs. This is because it can be impossible to match the date of departure with the shipping schedules used by foreign shipping firms.
So, though the goods are not in transit, they would have to be stored elsewhere. Be sure to keep this in mind as you set goals as to when your supplies arrive.
You may also want to keep your belongings in storage when you’re searching for a place to live in your new country. Or you may want to pay to store stuff before you come back if you expect this as a temporary move.
Typical Cost: Beginning at USD 100 (£75, €90) a month for a small one or two-bed apartment and rates will go up from there. Luckily, there’s a good amount of competition in this region that helps hold costs down.
Customs Duty Costs and Taxation
Another minor cost to consider when leaving is customs duty in the country to which you are travelling. Some nations, such as the United States, allow most household items to be moved duty-free.
Whereas countries like the United Kingdom have more complex laws that differ on where you’re headed. For example, moves from within the EU (at the time of writing) are excluded from duty costs, whereas moves from outside the EU result in duties and taxes for which you can demand relief.
Customs taxes and duties are most commonly paid based on the costs of the items themselves.