What not to move
What to Bring (and what not) When Moving Abroad
Ready to move abroad? Before looking for an international mover, confirm whether you need to ship everything: it might be cheaper to replace it at your destination than to pay for the cost of moving it. Be sure to do some research on cost of living in your destination country (see our blog post on Cost of Living Analysis) to get an idea of whether it’ll be achievable to buy new furniture and belongings once you arrive in your new country. Our blog article, The Ikea Cost of Living, is also a helpful resource when trying to determine whether or not purchasing in your new destination is cost effective.
Now, let’s take a look at key items below you should carry with you when you move, which you might want to sell, and which you legally can't ship.
- Important documents you may need when you arrive or that can't easily be replaced, such as birth certificates, financial records, visas, and passports
- Jewelry and other valuable personal items -- your possessions could change hands many times on the way to their final destination and that means many opportunities for someone to steal
- Some electronics will not work in foreign countries without power converters and plug adapters, and some television formats differ between countries so may not be compatible with your TV. Consider leaving behind your electronics.
- Any perishable goods. Prepare to have food items (including your trusty Campbell's Soup) confiscated
- Plants, seeds, and dirt. Most countries don't like the risk that some new bacteria or invasive plant could be brought in this way. You also need to ensure you remove dirt from any sporting or gardening equipment.
- Hazardous or flammable materials (paint, aerosol cans, explosives, etc). That's right: don't ship fireworks.
- Alcohol and illegal drugs
Other Tips for Determining What to Pack When Moving Overseas
- Keep in mind that many electronics will not work in foreign countries without power converters and plug adapters (and some television formats differ), so consider whether it's worthwhile to take these things with you.
- Think about how long you might be living in the destination country. Six months? Three years? Forever? If you're going somewhere for a short time, it may not make sense to take over all the comforts of home like artwork, books, etc. and it might be more cost effective to put those items in storage or if you are lucky, at a family member's house.
- Walk through your home with a notepad, selecting what you might want to move, sell, store, or give away. This will help you know what items you will want to ship which will be useful when you start talking to moving companies and requesting quotes.
Once you’ve determined what you’ll bring with you to your new country and what you’ll leave behind, it’s time to start thinking about shipping methods. Check out our guide on overseas moving container options for help getting started.