How To Move Belongings Overseas

Shipping things internationally can be confusing and costly. Whether you are shipping one item or several, learn how to make overseas shipping easy and affordable.
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How To Move Your Belongings Overseas
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Getting ready for a country-to-country move? We know many things go into international move than hiring the best international movers, such as visa application, packing of belongings, and learning new languages.

The good news is, we are available to take off the touch tasks from your task list. The tough task is how to move your household possessions to another country.

The right planning can make an international move go seamless despite all the things involved.

Here, you will find an overview of the best method to transport your household goods to another country and note other important factors.

Available International Moving Options

When moving to another country, you have two options to haul your household possessions, either by sea or by air.

There are benefits and limitations to each option you choose, and you may have to make decisions based on your moving budget, schedule, and shipment.

If your possessions are somewhat few, air transport may be possible for you, and it also saves time. However, embarking on a large move will take you to the sea route, which takes a lot of time but can be cheaper.

It is important to consider both options, especially the costs, and consider how much it will cost you to rent furnishings if you leave your own behind. Let’s take a look at the different options:

Moving your Belongings by Boat

When moving by sea, your belongings will be packed into moving containers that will be loaded at your current home.

The containers will then be shipped by rail or moving truck to a port where it will be loaded onto a huge container.

The container will then be loaded onto the boat as a shipment. Immediately your belongings get to the new country, the container will be unloaded and go through customs.

The custom forms needed for clearing your belongings will be provided by a reputable international moving company. 

What amount of  space do you need?

Sea transport is more feasible if you are moving belongings from a small apartment of at least two bedrooms or any type of vehicle.

But what quantity of space do you need in the shipping container? About 20ft to 40ft moving containers are required for a most home relocations.

Several containers may be required by a large move. Below are the regular specifications on the two standard sizes of container: 

20-ft container: 

The features include:

  • Dimensions: 19ft, 10 1/2 inches (length) by 8ft (width) by 8ft, 6 inches (height).
  • Volume/usable space is 1,169 cubic feet.
  • Shipping load (with container)- 61,289 pounds.
  • Generally moves 1-2 bedrooms or one car and some boxes

40-ft container: 

The features include:

  • Dimensions: 40ft (length) by 8ft (width) by 8ft, 6 inches (height).
  • Volume/usable space is 2,385 cubic feet.
  • Shipping load (with container)- 57,759 pounds.
  • Generally moves 3-5 bedrooms or one car and 2-bedrooms

Hauling your Belongings out and in

During boat shipping, there are three options available for loading your belongings into the container, hauling it to the port, and, at the destination port, hauling your belongings from the port to your new address.

  • Port to port: You haul your possessions to the port and load them in a shipping container. At the port, at the new country, you pick up your possessions from the port and haul them to your new home.
  • Drop and fill: The shipping company drops off the shipping container at your current home, you load it, and they pick up the loaded shipping container. What happens in the destination is a reverse. 
  • Door to door: The movers come and load the moving container at your home, then unload it at your new residence, just like a full-service interstate house move. 

Moving Overseas through Air 

The unpopular way to relocate household possessions to another country is by air freight. Shipping household goods through air freight is very costly than through the sea.

Also, there is a restriction on the weight of the household items you can transport through air freight. This is because the airplane has its weight capacity limit.

However, you will get the impression from many that the convenience offered by air freight is worth the hefty price tag and space restrictions.

Although shipping household goods by airfreight is much faster than sea shipping, this implies that those going for this option will get their household items much more quickly.

If you have a limited timeline for your international move, then this option is made for you.  

Road Shipping for Household Possessions

Moving your household possession by land is usually the least expensive option, but it also has its limitations.

You may find it easier to pack up your household and load it into a trailer and send it off to another country, probably in another continent.

Still, space limitation may require you to get multiple vehicles. If you are hauling your household belongings during busy times of the year, this may cause unexpected delays that elongate when next you see your items.

Other Things to Know About Moving your Belongings Overseas

Other factors to note before you ship your household possessions to another country include:  

How do you plan to move your pet?

When moving to another country, you need to remember your pet. Although moving pet is not even close to easy, there are more complications to moving pets to another country.

Firstly, you need to look into the destination country’s pet import laws. Your pets may be subjected to some vaccinations before allowed to enter into another country.

Once all the importation requirements and rules for your pets are met, you will now have to find how to transport the pet.

We recommend you look into airline requirements and maybe contact a pet moving service.

How do you plan to ship your car? 

Do you want to take your car with you on your move? First, find out if you are allowed to drive your car in the destination country.

There are different licensing requirements and guidelines for vehicle operation with each country. Cars are usually moved through air or sea freight.

If you are moving your car with you, we suggest you contact an international auto shipping company that deals with vehicle shipping.

Will you store anything in the United States?  

Unless you are relocating your entire household possession with you, you will need to rent a self-storage unit in the United States.

You will get a secure, safe, and convenient option from these storage companies for your temporary or long-period storage.

We suggest you go for a storage unit with a climate-control feature because you are looking for a place to keep your possessions for a long time.

The unit should be stored on a safe facility with many security and surveillance cameras. Check for a list of self-storage in your location. Just input your zip code or your city and state of residence.


If you cannot go with air freight due to cost and limited space, you should consider the option’s speed and reliability. Planes get to the destination faster than boats more often. This implies that you can receive your household possessions in a few days on a plane, against a few weeks or more on a boat. When it comes to reliability, air freight can only be delayed by weather and other rare issues compared to what may delay sea freight. 

Above, trusted international moving companies can help you with all the arrangements involved in moving your belongings to another country.

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