How to save money on your international move

Published 2023-09-04 07:50:33
Parcels ready for a move - Photo by Michal B on Unsplash

Moving to a new country is an exciting adventure, offering the chance to explore new cultures, experiences, and opportunities. However, the process of an international move can also be financially daunting. In this article, we explore a range of practical tips to help you cut costs and make your international move a more budget-friendly process.

From shipping costs to immigration fees, the expenses can quickly add up. The good news is that with careful planning, research, and strategic decision-making, it's possible to save money on your international move without compromising on the quality of your transition. There are several steps that you can consider in order to reduce costs and make the move more affordable:

1. Start early and plan strategically

One of the most effective ways to save money on your international move is to start planning well in advance. The earlier you start planning, the more time you'll have to shop around for the best deals. This allows you to take advantage of lower-cost options, research deals, and compare prices from various service providers. You'll also have more time to declutter and get rid of unnecessary items, which will save you money on shipping costs.

A well-thought-out plan helps you avoid last-minute decisions that can lead to unnecessary expenses.

2. Declutter before packing

As you prepare for your international move, take the time to declutter your belongings. The more stuff you move, the more it will cost. Go through your possessions and decide what you don't absolutely need, such as furniture, appliances, and excess clothing. Selling or donating items you no longer need not only reduces your shipping costs but also provides you with extra funds for your move. You can also recycle items you don't want to take to our now location.

3. Get quotes from multiple moving companies

Obtaining quotes from multiple moving companies is essential to ensure you're getting the best deal. Compare not only the prices but also the services included in each package. Look for reputable moving companies with a track record of successful international moves and positive customer reviews.

And we are here to help, you will find several links on in order to help you with that this task. You will also get a list of international movers on our sister website Expat-Quotes.

4. Consider shared shipping/freight forwarding

If you're moving a relatively small amount of belongings, shared shipping may be a more affordable option than a traditional moving company. Shared shipping, also known as consolidated shipping, involves sharing container space with other individuals or families moving to the same destination. Freight forwarders can consolidate shipments from multiple customers, which can also save you money. This can significantly reduce your shipping costs while still ensuring your items reach your new home safely.

In some cases, when moving only a few boxes, you can explore sending them yourself. On the internet you will find sites to compare costs between providers (FedEx, DHL, UPS, DPD, Parcel Force, TNT, Chronopost, Colissimo, GLS, Hermes...etc). For example, look on ParcelCompare, Parcel2Go or Packlink. You better make different simulations with the number of Parcels and the company as during a quick test we found prices going from about £1800 with FedEx (next day) to only £150 with dpd (3+ days) for exactly the same quantity. You might be surprised to find some cheap options: DPD is offering to move a box of 29kg max for €18 between the UK and France for instance.

5. Pack efficiently

If you're moving a small amount of stuff, you can save money by packing your own belongings. This is also a good option if you're on a tight budget.

Use sturdy but affordable packing materials, and make use of items you already have, like suitcases and bags, to transport some of your belongings. Properly pack fragile items to avoid breakage and potential replacement costs.

6. Research visa and Customs requirements

Different countries have varying visa and entry requirements, and these often come with associated fees. You may also have to pay customs clearance fees. These fees can vary depending on the country you're moving to and the value of your belongings. Research and understand the specific requirements for your destination country to avoid any last-minute expenses or delays due to inadequate documentation.

There is an important tip that could save you a lot of money when sending your own boxes abroad: first of all there is usually a limited time while you can move your personal things abroad. In France for example, you can bring personal belongings, but only for the first 12 months after your move. If you've been away for more than 12 months, you'll have to pay customs fees on your personal effects! And this can quickly become quite expensive. Basically, expect to pay between 40% and 60% of the declared/estimated value. For instance, if you declare a total value of €1500, customs might ask for €900, even for your old sports trophies, roller skates, etc.

A trick could be to declare a value for your box lower than the minimum taxable parcel, i.e. 45€. However, the Customs officer has always the possibility to open the package and decide of the value based on his own consideration... and especially in the case of loss or damage, you will have no insurance.

7. Look for discounts

If your move involves air travel, search for discounts and deals on flights. Consider booking well in advance and being flexible with your travel dates to take advantage of lower fares. Additionally, explore different airlines and booking platforms to find the most cost-effective option. Many moving companies offer discounts for military personnel, students, and seniors. Be sure to ask about any discounts that may be available to you.

Shipping during the off-season, such as during the winter or shoulder seasons, may also save you money. This is because there is less demand for shipping services during these times, which can lead to lower prices.

8. Explore temporary accommodations

Instead of committing to a long-term lease or buying a property immediately upon arrival, consider staying in temporary accommodations like hostels, Airbnb rentals, or short-term rentals. This gives you the flexibility to explore your new surroundings and make informed decisions about your living situation without rushing into expensive commitments.

9. Minimize currency exchange fees

Currency exchange fees can quickly add up, especially if you're transferring a significant amount of money to your new country. Research different methods of transferring money internationally and compare fees and exchange rates to find the most cost-effective solution.

10. Budget for unforeseen expenses

Even with careful planning, unforeseen expenses can arise during an international move. It's crucial to have a financial cushion to cover unexpected costs like medical emergencies, temporary accommodations, or any legal fees associated with immigration processes.

11. Explore second-hand and local purchases

Avoid the temptation to buy new furniture and appliances right away. Instead, explore local thrift shops, second-hand markets, and online platforms for gently used items. Not only can this save you money, but it also contributes to sustainability and reduces your environmental footprint.

12. Leverage tax deductions and exemptions

Research the tax implications of your move and explore any potential deductions or exemptions you might be eligible for. Some countries offer tax incentives for newcomers, which can help offset some of your moving and settling-in expenses.

An international move doesn't have to break the bank. By approaching the process with careful planning, research, and a willingness to explore cost-saving strategies, you can significantly reduce the financial burden of relocating to a new country. From decluttering and efficient packing to comparing moving companies and seeking out discounts, there are numerous steps you can take to save money without compromising on the quality of your move. In any case, get everything in writing. Once you've agreed on a price with your moving company, be sure to get everything in writing. This will help avoid any misunderstandings later on.

With a well-executed plan and a bit of resourcefulness, you can embark on your international adventure with confidence, knowing that you've taken measures to make your move a budget-friendly success.

This article is not sponsored, but for over 10 years, AGS has chosen to communicate about its international services and offers. You can find more information and request a free quote in the link below.

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Author: EasyExpat
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