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7 things that can go wrong when moving internationally and how to avoid them

What to watch out for when moving abroad.

When you’ve moved house to a nearby suburb and forgotten say, your prized wheelbarrow, all you need to do is hop in your car, drive a few minutes to the old abode, and pick it up.

All is well.

Such manoeuvres are not so easy to execute when you relocate overseas. Once you set foot on that plane and the doors close behind you, that wheelbarrow is gone forever. To avoid heartbreak and sorrow much worse than an abandoned wheelbarrow, you need to transform into a meticulous planner with high attention to detail so minimal headaches occur.
Here are 7 troublesome things that by the law of Murphy, could happen on your international move, and how to avoid them.

1. Forgetting stuff

Human nature sure is fickle. It’s too easy to forget items during a move, even the most critical ones. Remembering the aforementioned wheelbarrow, it’s much simpler to go back to your old neighbourhood when its just a few kilometres away. Much more complicated when you’re on the other side of the world. Make an exhaustive sweep of your entire home, have a checklist of things you really cannot leave behind (think passport, wallet, coffee machine) and cross-check with your family and the movers so tragedy does not get a chance to unfold.

2. Stuff breaking

This is a very real tragedy. Possessions potentially breaking during a move is just part of the process. C’est la vie. You can only hope it doesn’t happen to you. The best way to cover your belongings during international transit is by making sure they are sufficiently encased with a bulletproof level of bubble wrap and super soft padding, and that you have chosen a reputable moving company with a good track record. Another important thing you will need to do is get decent insurance, with terms that you thoroughly understand. Otherwise, you can say goodbye to your favourite vase from 14th century China, and that thing was painfully expensive.

3. Bringing too much stuff

Last minute overpacking is a sign you need to get your life together, but that’s another story. When moving overseas, you need to be very selective in what you bring and leave behind, because every item will cost you by the kilo. Suddenly adding a plethora of useless, previously-agreed-to-be-thrown-out items triggered by your emotional overwhelm is going to be a costly blunder. Other regrettable things that can occur include not having any more packing materials so your stuff breaks anyway, wasting everyone’s time, additional expenses and high levels of stress.

4. Stuff gets lost and you don’t have insurance

Every year, thousands of containers go missing at sea, never to be seen again. As devastating as it sounds, it is indeed true, and could happen to you. While this is something that is completely out of your hands, you need to be prepared for everything. Make sure you have sufficient insurance and have full faith that your moving company knows exactly what they’re doing.

5. Stuff too large

Depending on where you are relocating to, you need to be mindful of the size of stuff you are bringing, and whether or not it will be able to fit into your new house. It would be most unfortunate to arrive at your new home and find that you aren’t able to get your oversized sofa set into your new apartment – and by the way, there’s no lift. Make a sensible, emotion-free evaluation of your possessions and decide well in advance whether or not it’s better to leave items behind and start again in the new house.

6. Stuff stolen by scammers

If you’re the type of person that puts bang for your buck over everything. here’s some news: You may just have no buck nor bang left once scammers are done with you. Scammers are a huge pain when it comes to moving house, and it can get very convoluted when you add an international move into the mix. Some scenarios see the movers taking your deposit and vanishing into the night, others see them taking all your stuff – and then vanishing into the night. Once you’ve arrived in your new country, there’s probably a very slim chance you’ll find those crooks and reclaim what is rightfully yours. Research, research, research, put reliability and quality before a quick bargain, or you will have to pay a lot more buck than your stingy self could ever comprehend.

7. Letting the cash splash more than it needs to

Lousy planning bears lousy results, and if you haven’t thought about every last detail regarding the finances of your move, you are in for an expensive surprise. Everything from organising how much you weight you have agreed on transporting, organising comprehensive insurance, where you will stay in the first few days of landing to any fine print that could snag your wallet are all things you need to be on high-alert for.|

Other than that, happy travels!


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has written 1073 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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