You can arrive to Colombia with little preparation and luggage. However, it is strongly recommended to prepare your move carefully, especially if you choose to bring most of your belongings to your new home.
Relocation assistance may be offered by some employees, and may include covering of the expenses related to the move. In this case, you can use the help of an international removal company to reduce the hurdles of the relocation.
There are three decisive factors that will determine the final price of moving your belongings: the value of your goods, their volume and/or weight, and the distance to be moved.
Note that many of the objects that you may need in Colombia may be purchased locally or obtained from other expats who are moving out. When deciding which items to carry along, therefore, consider the price of shipment and the cost of obtaining those goods locally, and try to bring with you only the indispensable items, in order to reduce the cost.
Once in Colombia, reach out to your country's embassy, search the classifieds websites and connect with the expat community in order to find any items that you may need.
Basic shipping costs are generally computed on the volume (measured in Cubic Feet or m3) that your packed goods take up in the shipping container. Volume is calculated by multiplying height x length x depth.
An example is a full size refrigerator or freezer. If it is 6 feet (1.8 meters) high, 3 feet (.91 meters) wide and 2 feet (.6 meters) deep, its volume would be 36 cubic feet (1.01940 m3).
The containers can be 20 foot (6 meters), with a cubic capacity of 1172 cubic feet (33.2 m3) or 40 foot (12 meters), with a capacity of 2392 cubic feet (67.7 m3). A two to three-bedroom house will generally fit into a 20 foot container, while a 4 to 5 bedroom house will require a 40 foot container.
It is recommended to ship all your items in a single large shipment, as the rate per cubic foot decreases with the quantity.
Removal cost also depends on the point of origin and final destination. Colombia is not a cheap destination to ship to, but the prices will be lower if you ship from the United States than from Europe.
Keep in mind that the final price will surely be more expensive than even the most careful estimates. Be knowledgeable about all types of costs you may incur, and budget for a buffer between your initial estimate and the final cost.
Examples of situations that may generate additional expenses are:
There are three basic shipping options to Bogota: by ground, sea or air. A combination of ground and sea may be required if the chosen option is not air. Usually companies will offer all options. It is good to inquire the differences in price, delivery times and other conditions in order to make an informed decision.
Moving with only ground travel to Colombia is not possible, unless you are moving from Ecuador. A combination of sea or air and ground shipping is necessary in all other cases.
Moving by sea takes several weeks or even months, but it is less expensive than by air. If you choose this option, your goods will be loaded into containers at your initial residence, shipped by rail or road to the nearest port, then loaded on the steamship container. The container is loaded on the boat as cargo. Once the shipment arrives to Colombia, the container is unloaded and needs to pass through customs.
The international removal company should help you with the customs procedures, as import duties may be required if the shipment exceeds a certain amount and value.
Once the customs procedures are cleared, the items will be transported by road to Bogota.
It is increasingly popular to move by air, especially if you don't have many goods. Air shipping is more expensive than sea one, but it offers the advance of being a lot quicker.
Your goods will be packed into heavy cardboard boxes or, in some cases, containers. In some cases, shipping a umber of key items by air is more convenient than living in a hotel or renting a furnished place.
Airfreight is calculated on the weight of the shipment (either gross weight or volume weight), expressed in kilograms. The volume weight of a given item is calculated by multiplying height, lenght and depth in centimeters and dividing it by 6000. For household goods, the volume weight is usually higher than the gross weight.
If you want to save money and time is not an issue, you may want to ship your items with other people's belongings. This is called "groupage", and it consists of combining the shipments of two or more customers. This is a more convenient option price-wise, but it can also take much longer, as other customers shipping on the same route as you need to sign up. The shipment is usually sent to a central location warehouse first, and later shipped to the final destination.
If cost is not an issue and your shipment is large enough to fill a container, direct shipping is better. Your items will be sent directly, without waiting in any warehouse.
The best way to find a reputable international removal company are personal recommendations. Before committing to any company, make sure you get feedback from previous customers. You may find online reviews on MoverReviews.com or Good Migrations, but you can also speak to friends, acquaintances, fellow expats or co-workers.
You should try to make personal contact with the company beforehand, in order to avoid any scams, and consider criteria such as the experience of the company with Colombian bureaucracy, safety records, shipping options offered, international license, cancellation and refund policy.
You should get at least three estimates, and after you decide you need the estimate in writing as verbal agreements are not enforceable. On the basis of the estimates you should weigh the factors and make your final decision.
You can use our Recommended Service Partner tool below to compare prices and receive free quotes.
As any expat knows, the key to a successful move is all in the preparation. By readying yourself for any possible bumps in the road ahead of time, you can rest assured you’ll be prepared to handle anything moving throws at you.
Removal Services Scotland has put together ‘The Ultimate Family Moving Guide’ in partnership with EasyExpat.com - so whether you're a moving pro or a first timer, our handy guide can take the stress out of your next move to Colombia.
When you move internationally you are taking a big step. Lots of things are changing and you have a million things to think about and take care of. If you are able to select a top of the line moving company that moves for a modest price, it can take a big weight of your shoulders in busy times.
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