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Factors that Determine the Cost of International Move

Confused about how international moving companies calculate the cost of a relocation? Read our guide to learn how moving distance, size and other factors determine total cost.
How International Moving Companies Calculate Moving Cost

In this article

Everyone knows that an international move is more expensive than the state to state move, but it is possible to calculate the cost of an international move, so you don’t get surprised by a huge bill.

We believe that our customers will be able to plan properly for their upcoming move when they understand how the international moving cost is being calculated. A country-to-country move is a big step in one’s life, but it is also a great leap into the world of the unknown that comes with various emotions, questions, and concerns. 

And among the many questions that trouble people is “how much is the cost to move overseas?” However, some factors determine the cost of relocating to another country. They all must be greatly considered in order to make a reasonable budget for your international move.

Think of it, if a cross-country move is so expensive, how expensive do you think an international move will be? 

Also, a normal cost for moving to another country can easily be more than $10,000 for far-country moves. This write-up will help you calculate the median cost of moving to another country.

To do a proper calculation of your international moving costs, you first need to find out the cost of transporting your household belongings to your destination country, as this will be your biggest when moving overseas.

And this can be done by understanding the factors that constitute the overall price and how your exact moving needs and requirements will influence your overall moving cost. First, understand the cost of shipping your household items abroad as they are based on 7 major factors: 

1. Your Move’s Size

The number of belongings you have for moving will determine its shipping cost. The moving price will be calculated by the weight or the volume of your belongings and based on the shipping method you choose. 

The volume calculation is applicable if you are shipping by sea: 

  • A 20ft container will be enough for your items from a 1-2-bedroom home.
  • A 40ft container will be enough to move your items from a 3-4-bedroom home or haul your car to your destination home.
  • Shipping a 20-ft container internationally will cost 25% lower than the cost of transporting a 40-ft container on the same distance, so your actual payment will be determined by the volume of your household goods.
  • If you choose to ship by air, weight calculation will determine the cost of your move. You will be paying a certain dollar per pound for your entire household item.

2. Your needed Moving Services

You may need additional moving services based on your type of shipment, your specific moving needs, and your requirements, as well as your origin and destination locations. 

These services may include:

  • Additional protection may be required for fragile and specialty belongings, such as special packing supplies, custom crating, and so on.
  • A hoisting or disassembly service may be required for larger furniture. 
  • There may be a restriction to access the current location and destination properties so that shuttle services may be required, or you have the movers carry your belongings from a distant place to your home. In such cases, it’s advisable to consult long-distance moving companies for their expertise in handling these logistical challenges.
  • There may be a need to transport your shipment from your current home to a distant seaport or airport where it will be transported to your destination country or from the port at the destination country to your new country home.
  • Storage may be required for your belongings while expecting further shipping.
  • You may need your belongings delivered within a certain timeframe.
  • You may need supplemental insurance coverage, and so on. 

There will be an additional cost for each of these additional moving services, so expect your overall international moving price to be higher.

3. Transportation

A huge part of your international moving cost is incurred by the transportation that you go with. The following shipping options are offered by some movers for their customer’s belongings:

  • Air transport
  • Sea transport
  • Transport container

Possibly, you can use as many types of transportation methods to reduce your cost, but the cost generally depends on the weight of your belongings.

4. The Method of Pickup and Delivery

There are various types of the country to country moves, and it depends on where your pickup and delivery of your household belongings is performed, whether at your specific address or at a port

1. Port-to-port moves: 

This option means that you are in control of getting your household belongings to your current country port; the transportation company ships the items to the port in the destination country, and then you move them from there to your new home.

The cost of port-to-port shipping is less expensive than other shipping costs for international moves. Still, you will be paying to get your belongings from your current home to the domestic port where they will be sent to your destination country, as well as from the destination port to your new home. 

2. Door-to-door moves:

Your hired international moving company handles your moving from point A to point B when you choose a door-to-door moving option.

The movers are responsible for picking up your household belonging at your current home, hauling them to the port, transporting them to your destination country, working on custom clearance, and delivering your items to your new home.

The international movement’s stress is eliminated with door-to-door international relocation services and offers easy and convenient moving solutions to those moving abroad. However, the moving costs are much higher.

5. The Moving Distance and the Moving Route

The cost of international relocation increases based on the distance between the current and the destination countries. This implies that traveling further leads to more expensive international moving costs. Alongside the distance, your specific moving route also impacts the cost of your international move.

Some destination countries are so popular, while others are not so common. Popular routes such as the USA, Canada, to the UK and so on will be less expensive because of high demand and established scope of work, while uncommon routes such as the USA to Brazil will be expensive.

6. The International Movers you hire

All international moving companies satisfy the same requirements and offer similar services, yet, the moving quotes they offer for the same move can be so different.

The price difference can stem from different reasons such as quality of service, availability, special deals, how soon the share-shipment fills up, and so on.

Go with international professional movers that perfectly satisfy your moving needs and budget and reserve their moving service as early as you can.

What is the Cost of Moving to a New Country?

You need to obtain an international moving cost from a reliable and trustworthy international moving company to know the exact amount you will pay for your country-to-country move. Still, you can also understand your approximate international moving cost.

Below are the average shipping costs to another country for some of the common moving routes from the U.S to Canada:

What is the Cost of Relocating from the United States of America to Canada?

With the shipment rates of the port-to-port for a 20-foot container which can hold the goods of a normal 2-bedroom home, the cost of relocating to Canada from the USA is:

New York to Montreal$500-$7005-7 days
San Francisco to Montreal$2,500-$3,0003 weeks
New York to Vancouver$2,100-$2,8003 weeks
San Francisco to Vancouver$500-$6504-5 days


Are all charges added in the price?

This is based on the moving services you have chosen. For a door-to-door move, the entire shipping charges will be added to the quoted price you received. However, you will have to handle customs clearance charges with any applicable taxes or duties on your belongings even on the door-to-door country to country move. 

When should I contact international movers to arrange my next international move?

The key factor to a successful country-to-country relocation is timely preparation. We recommend contacting your international moving company at about 7 to 10 weeks in advance of your desired moving date. This will give you enough time to prepare and settle all kinds of paperwork, book international shipping services in advance, book flights, and pre-contact the agent at the destination of the forthcoming international cargo. 

What items are not permitted to be added in an international household belongings shipment?

You need to apply common sense when looking to pack your international shipment. You don’t want to pack perishable goods and any item that may leak while in transit, causing major damage to the surrounding items.

The following should not be packed: 

  • Hazardous materials like gas canisters, paint, aerosol cans, matches, or other flammables.
  • Materials like cement, wood, rock, bricks, and any type of soil
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Any kind of plants
  • Corrosives and explosives

How do I discover that I’m working with a reputable international mover?

You need to check the out of state moving company’s credentials with the appropriate authority for any move, especially an international move.

Can international movers provide insurance for my international relocation?

All international moving companies with a good reputation will be able to provide customers with insurance coverage for their household and personal belongings during a country-to-country move. There is no general insurance coverage for international moves followed by international movers. Therefore, you need to check any insurance policy you are offered to discover the comprehensiveness of its coverage, any exclusions, the number of any deductible, and the process of claim in the event of any. 


An international move can be super stressful. Save yourself the trouble by hiring an international moving company that has enough moving experience.

Dani James

Dani James

Dani James is a copywriter and blogger with more than eight years of experience writing for movers, real estate, and anything to do with getting from point A to point B. When he’s not finding new ways to save on moving costs, he can be found at home with his cat, binge-watching Marvel movies, and looking for new apartments he can’t afford.
Green Group

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