8 Things to Consider When Packing for an International Move

Moving anywhere can be a challenge, but moving to another country takes a lot of planning and preparation in order to avoid problems. Consider the following advice on how to pack when moving to another country.

1) Decide on the length of the move.
That will help determine what you take and how much. You will take more items with you if the move is permanent than if you are moving to Brazil for a three-year assignment. You will also have to decide what to do with anything you leave behind: store it, sell it or give it away.

2) Talk to immigration officials
They can advise you on such matters as the needed paperwork and any restrictions regarding what you can bring into their country. Some countries have laws forbidding the importation of flammable items or certain plants or animals. Others require pets to be kept under quarantine for a given time. They can also tell you if the voltage output is compatible with your electronics.

3) Hire professional movers
Professional movers can pack things more efficiently than novices, and they can pack fragile items so they don’t get damaged en route. They can also help clients fill out such paperwork as insurance forms, shipping information, and customs forms. Some moving companies also offer cleaning services, while others also transport cars, motorcycles and boats. Consumer Affairs lists the international moving companies they recommend.

4) Consider what your new home will be like
For example, how big is the new house or apartment, and is it already furnished? If it is, that will put a limit on how much furniture you should bring. If your new home is already furnished, you should only bring pieces that have sentimental value or that you really like. If your new home is markedly smaller than your old home, you will have to decide what to take and what to leave behind. Climate is another consideration that should influence what you pack. You probably won’t need a parka in Brazil.

5) Use sturdy boxes
Buy cardboard boxes designed to withstand the rigors of shipping. Use newspaper and bubble wrap when packing fragile items like glassware or mirrors. Boxes containing such items should be marked “fragile” and/or “this end up.” Label the boxes according to the room where they will go, like “kitchen” or “kids’ room.” Label boxes containing items you will need quickly with “open me first.”

6) Pack anything with sentimental value
Take any family heirlooms or items with sentimental value. Pack things like family pictures that provide a feel of home.

7) Pack things that might not be readily available
You need to consider the availability of a given item in your new home. For example, if you need adapters for your electronics, it’s best to buy them here than to discover that none of the stores in your new hometown carry them.

8) Pack a carry-on bag with things you will need immediately
Unpacking everything at your new home could take days. You therefore want a bag handy containing toiletries, any needed medications, and a few changes of clothing.