The Hidden Costs and Fees of Moving

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Don’t be caught off guard with the hidden costs of moving. Moving is an expensive undertaking. Local moves, are estimated to cost an average of $1,250, with long-distance moves of 1,000 miles and above bound to set you back approximately $5K ($4,890 to be exact).

Thats no chump change.

One often overlooked aspect is that moving costs can spill beyond the moving fee you pay to a professional moving company.

To save you some nasty surprises during your move, we decided to compile a list of some of the unexpected moving expenses – from the forgotten, to the hidden, and some more uncommon ones – that are easy to overlook, ending up poking holes in your moving budget.

Moving Supplies

If you’re assigning packing duties to the mover, they should come with all needed moving supplies and materials – factored into the moving costs, of course.

However, if you’re going DIY with your packing, it’s easy to overlook how much packing supplies can actually affect your moving costs.

Take an example.

If we’re talking a two-bedroom house, a moving kit with 50-60 boxes and tape can fetch in the range of 150 to 200 bucks. You might also end up shelling an additional $100 for a kit that protects your china and glassware.

Elevator Fees

If you live at the top of a high rise, be prepared to part with an elevator fee.

This is a surcharge that is usually fixed, often costing an extra $50 to $100, so ask your mover 1. if this is separate and 2. if so, how much they charge for it.

Parking ticket

There is a possibility the moving company will receive a parking ticket should they be found parking “illegally” when loading or unloading your belongings. Usually, you will be the one to fork out this fee should that happen.

But there is a workaround to it. We say illegally because the proper way of going about it is to obtain a parking permit from your community’s City Offices.

If parking is an issue around your place, consider getting one a week or two in advance of your move to avoid these hidden moving costs.

parking violation

Heavy Items Surcharge

Most movers include most furniture and appliances in their basic moving estimate.

However, it is important to keep in mind that heavy or unwieldy items like a grand piano, pool table, ATV and such items are often characterized as “special items” and therefore charged for separately. So, be sure to take the time to mention these items to your movers. 

Specialized Items

Speaking of specialized, not every mover is equipped to move special items that require more care and attention – think fine art and sculptures, antique dishes, the aforementioned piano etc.

Most won’t admit to not specializing in this type of moving, despite the lack of such a service offering on their website. So, if you plan to move items like these, make sure to do your due diligence.

While you’re at it, enquire on the cost of moving these items, and understand if this will be paid for separately.

Ideally, you want to hire a multi-faceted mover who provided different services, specialized items included, as hiring two different moving companies – one for the special items and another for your other belongings – doesn’t make sense.

Moving Insurance

Every moving company is required to provide basic mover’s insurance by law.

However, don’t take it at face value when a mover tells you your possessions will be insured in transit. In reality, the basic coverage offered by movers (also known as basic carrier liability or released value) is not going to match the actual value of your items.

If you want better protection, you will have to purchase full-value protection which makes the mover liable for the replacement value of every damaged or missing item. But even this is mid-level coverage.

The best form of coverage is third-party coverage, although this is best suited for high-value items such as art collections, antiques and crystals, precious stones, oriental rugs, furs, computer equipment, cameras, and video cameras, and jewelry.

Ask your selected mover to explain the different coverages on offer and be on the same page with them as to how much the insurance will cost. Know what questions to ask regarding relocation insurance.

Overnight Fees

If for some reason the mover is unable to unload your items on the planned day, there is a chance you could end up paying an overnight fee.

However, this said reason should not be of the mover’s own making – such as delayed hours on their part, should you happen to hire some unreliable characters – of which they totally need to cater for.

But if the delay was caused by either you or something you overlooked – for example, restricted services hours in the neighborhood you’re moving into – you might be required to part with an overnight fee for the change of plans.

This is why it pays to plan for a move early on as some of these minute details can be overlooked when preparing your move in haste. Nobody wants to pay $300 or more in the name of overnight fees just because of a little something that was overlooked.

Furniture Disassembly and Reassembly

This is another cost you definitely don’t want to be surprised with at the end of your move.

Let the mover clarify if they levy extra charges on furniture disassembly and reassembly before you sign up.


Money Moving Tips

Cost of living around the world- what will $100 buy you?

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

When living or traveling overseas, it still always amazes me how much, or how little, your money will get you in another country. Knowing exchange rates is very important to every traveler’s experience. Being wise in money will ensure you are better prepared but also help ensure you will not be taken for a ride during purchases. A good place to start would be on the internet with a quick XE currency converter search before you depart.

When I visited the absolutely beautiful Philippines back in 2013, I was amazed at how far my money went. I felt like a queen when a wonderful dinner out was the cost of a sandwich back home. It was just the opposite when I visited London during the spring of 2014. Doing the exchange rate math in my head, I was pretty discouraged, as my US dollar didn’t go very far there.

$100 USD- GoodMigrations

So we thought it would be fun to show what $100 USD gets you in different countries and cities around the world. Pretty interesting!

What will $100 USD Get You Around the World


You can purchase a fancy dinner for two at an expensive restaurant with starters, mains, sides, dessert, and wine. You will probably even have money left over. A good example is a restaurant in New Delhi that my friends recently went to, Indian Accent. Check out the prices! $100 is 6000 rupees and that can get you a lot! If food isn’t your thing then you could afford one month’s rent or give the gift of education to a child for an entire year!

New York City

We all know the Big Apple is pretty pricey but you will be able to afford a taxi ride to and from JFK airport. Dinner, dessert and a drink for one person at a nice restaurant is also an option. Just be careful because tax and tip will sneak up on you when the bill comes.


Amazing how $100 in the Philippines will get you food and electricity for 10 days. You can also take a boat tour to different islands for two people.


323 litres of petrol, 380 litres of bottled water, a speed boat for a morning of wild dolphin watching for two, or six days of food.

United Kingdom

Hungry? Go to Macca’s and you can buy 24 Big Macs (without fries and drink). That’s the best deal you are going to get because $100 USD won’t get you a hotel room but at least you can fill up your car’s tank of gas.


The USA is a big place and depending on where you are you can get a lot or a little. How about 100 McDonald’s cheeseburgers, 6 drinks at the Four Seasons, 6 months of streaming from Netflix, a days rent in San Francisco, two bags of groceries at Wholefoods, or 8 adult tickets to the cinema?


While this country is known for having amazing feta cheese, there are still lots of other things to be bought for $100 USD. You could get 50 liters of petrol, 15 Big Macs, 12 months of high-speed internet, or 15 adult tickets to the cinema.


As beautiful as Sydney is, your money won’t go very far. You’ll get 5 adult tickets to the cinema, 1 Apple mouse, or 25 cups of coffee at a café. Been thinking about doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb? Think again! Depending on the time and day of the week you are not even halfway there.


10 beers at a local pub or 6 packets of cigarettes. Or maybe you prefer admission for 12 into the National Museum located in Oslo.


What can you buy in the most populated country in the world? How about web hosting for 1 year, 36 Big Mac’s or better yet get you and 61 of your friends’ admission into the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.


Amongst the beautiful islands there is much to see and do but did you know you and 4 friends could play detective for the afternoon at The Escape Hunt Experience for $100 USD? Maybe you prefer one month of food for one person or 215 litres of gasoline.

South Africa

Safaris, wild animals and vistas that go on for miles are among the many things to see and do in South Africa. Here are some other things to consider: a month of groceries, three tanks of petrol,  23 Big Mac meals or 6.5 cases of beer.


It’s a big country so better start off right and fill your car with 64 litres of petrol. Walk the famous Ipanema Beach all day long because that is FREE!

United Arab Emirates

To quote my friend, “that’s about 367 AED and you could purchase one of the following: – unlimited booze brunch at a hotel – sand tour jeep safari for 2 people – one way taxi ride to Abu Dhabi – 3 spin classes at Fly Wheel – 2 Platinum movie tickets – moderate shopping as long as there are sales – a shit load of gas cus it’s dirt cheap over here.” Awesome! Thank you Jose.

Did we forget something? Send us a message so we can add it to our list.

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*NB: calculations are rough estimates based on the exchange rate at the time of publication.

Humorous Money

How to Budget for Moving Abroad

Admin  @GoodMigrations

Moving to a new country: it’s exciting, it’s exhilarating, and maybe it’s just a little bit intimidating. Making sure all your finances are in order before you hop on that plane will help you. You will feel a little more secure and confident when you get to your new home. Here’s how to get started.

Define your goals

First thing’s first. Be clear about why you’re moving abroad and what you hope to get out the experience. Did you get a promotion? Or are you planning on being a digital nomad and freelancing your way through Europe? Are you working as a sailing instructor in the Bahamas and traveling the Caribbean in your free time? Having goals will help you prioritize your budget and allow you to spend more on the things that matter to you.

Add up your debts

Make a list of any financial obligations you’re taking with you when you move. These might be student loan payments. If you’re a homeowner you’ll still need to consider that mortgage payment in your plans even if you’re renting or Airbnbing your house while you’re gone. Everything will probably turn out fine, but there’s always a chance your renter falls through or you can’t fill up your Airbnb schedule. You’ll need to have some savings set aside to step in with the mortgage payment if that does happen.

Read more…

Foreign Currency Exchange: 6 Tips For Expats

Kate  @goodmigrations

Cash. Credit. Debit. Cheques. There have been lots of discussions on different expat forums about foreign currency exchange and the right way to go about exchanging your hard earned money.

Here’s what some people are saying:
Jeff, a business traveler says: “I use the bank to order my foreign currency.”

Dave, a frequent leisure traveler says:  “I mostly use my debit card at an ATM to take out foreign cash.”

Micheline, my mother says: “Use travelers cheques Kate, in case your wallet gets stolen.”

Everyone has his or her own exchange style, and in the end it’s best to go with the method you feel most comfortable with. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, we’ve put together the best options to help you decide where to exchange your money.

Foreign Currency Exchange- GoodMigrationsPhoto Cred

#1. Foreign Exchange Services (Forex)

Advantage: Better rates than a bank transfer; often with no fees
Disadvantage: Not available on weekends

Similar to transferring money from your home bank to a foreign one, Forex makes it easy to wire money abroad for use in a different currency. Typically available 24 hours a day Monday-Friday, forex providers offer the most competitive exchange rate with little to no barriers for entry and no minimum transaction size. For example, in a quick sampling of transferring $1,000 USD to AUD, with a major bank you would probably get $1,315 AUD but with a forex provider you get $1,358. There are plenty of companies offering this service so a little research needs to be done to get the best rates. Azimo is one company to be considered. Check out their reviews on Trustpilot.  Read more…

Expat Life Money Travel

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