Tips for Packing for an International Move

Moving to a different house is quite an undertaking.  Moving to another state is that much more complicated.  Moving to a different country…that’s in a league of its own.  If the best advice for domestic move is to be prepared and well-organized, that is going to a hundred times more important when it comes to an international move.  It’s not as simple as packing your belongings into cardboard boxes.


You need to choose what is going to be necessary for your new home, and the different factors that go into that.  Only then can you begin to figure out how to handle shipping and storage.  Thankfully, lots of people have gone before you, and they offer their experiences and advice all over the internet.  Here are a couple tips to get you started:

What to Pack

It’s a good idea to purge whenever you move, but it gets more important the bigger the move you are making.  Not only does it make the whole process easier, it really helps reduce the overall cost (less of those cardboard boxes, for one).  There are a couple things to think about when packing for an international move:

  • The reason for relocation. If you are moving for school, focus on bringing the items pertaining to school.  If you are moving to a rural area, focus more on things that will keep you entertained and plugged into your community.
  • The type of home you are moving into. If you are moving into a smaller home, which is highly probably, you will need to think and rethink what you need and don’t need.
  • The weather of where you will be living. If you are moving somewhere that doesn’t have seasons, but stays warm, that will really impact what you are going to use and wear.
  • What the new country does or doesn’t allow. A lot of countries have their own restrictions on what can be brought across their borders, to include animals, plants, weapons… Make sure you know your new country’s restrictions before you start packing.

How to Ship

Okay, so you’ve got a giant stack of cardboard boxes, full of your stuff and ready to go.  Now what?  There are two options when it comes to how you can ship your stuff, and they each have their pros and cons.

  • Shipping by air is incredibly expensive, but it is also quite fast. If you have an employer helping front the cost of the move, this is probably a realistic option for you.  You are going to need to make sure that everything you have packed follows regulations, though.
  • Shipping by sea is the cheapest option, and also the slowest. You could consider sending more important things by plane, and the rest of your belongs (like furniture and clothes) by sea.
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