International relocation is a project that should be undertaken in many continuous steps. So it only makes sense to divide it into series of small tasks, from the beginning to the end, to create and manage a process that may take weeks, and sometimes months to finish. These small tasks are further divided into smaller, more articulate processes. By creating a checklist, we bring clarity into the process, and ensure that nothing is forgotten in between.
Here’s how to achieve a smooth flow with the international moving.
Step 1: The pre-packing process:
The key to uncomplicated international moving is ‘pre-planning’ – taking the guesswork out of the process by reducing it to a series of manageable, scheduled events. This includes familiarising oneself with the international packing and moving processes and usually begins at least three months prior to doing any official ground-work.
- Collect all the required paperwork
Documentation and paper work is crucial since it helps identify a person, apply for permits and licenses, verify all legal measures, and fulfil obligations to one’s native and host countries. These documents include passports, travel documents like visa and insurance, birth and marriage certificates, child custody and adoption papers, driving licenses, educational certifications, and any insurance or legal policies. Hence apply for these documents well in advance and keep them ready.
- Investigate daily living in the destination city
Despite all the advantages and excitement surrounding an international move to a new city, there are a few things one needs to know beforehand. A person doesn’t just relocate, they become a part of the place they are moving to. Things like the average working salary, rental or real estate prices, schooling and education in the city, and the local culture should be researched before any international move. Once these matters are taken care of, it is time to contact the international packers and movers, and begin all necessary groundwork.
- Look for good international packers and movers
There are international moving companies who not only pack, move and ship internationally, but also who take care of everything from home finding to looking for a maid. To start with look for professional movers who have experience in international moving, who have industry accreditation and who are members of associations like International Association of Moving (IAM), FIDI, Worldwide ERC etc., who can provide good references of customers who have used them before. Ask at least three reputed international packers and movers to visit your residence to do a physical survey of the goods to be packed and moved. This must be done atleast 6 weeks before the actual move date. Provide the same details to all three movers so that there is no variation. Compare the quotes and most importantly read the fine print of the quotes even if the packers and movers says everything is included. During an international move there are many charges which can arise due to reasons beyond a movers control like customs delays, port strikes, port congestion etc. These circumstances can add substantial costs to the move, hence you must be aware of the same and take adequate measures to minimise or prepare for these delays. When selecting the international movers don’t just chose for the cheapest one, instead chose the mover who has included all the possible costs, who can provide the quality of services that you are looking for and most importantly who can safely deliver the goods within the assured time frames.
Step 2: The international packing and moving process:
The dates for packing and moving should be finalised atleast one month prior to the actual moving date.
A difficult aspect of international packing and moving is deciding what household goods and appliances to pack and move and what will be left behind. It requires careful planning and time, but helps decide what goods are necessary. If goods not sorted out in advance it can add unnecessary weight, volume and shipping costs. Also if the goods are not packed professionally by an International moving company the possibility of goods getting stuck in customs are very high, in additional to damages to the goods.
Things to ensure before packing
- Organise yourself and your house
- Keep away all essential items like money, passports, travel documents, insurance, keys etc.
- Identify and label items to be shipped by air / sea / land or stored / left behind / discarded etc.
- Identify items which are of high value or require special packing
- Make a list of instructions for packing crew if any
- Packing and Moving day can be very tiring so get a good night’s sleep.
- Take time off from work so you can focus completely on your move
- If you have children – it may be a good idea to leave them with your friends / family or have a baby sitter to take care of them. The dust, lack of attention, seeing many people at home etc. can be disturbing for children.
- If you have pets – it may be a good idea to keep them in a room or away from packing / moving activities.
- If you cannot be present throughout the entire packing / moving process, then designate a trusted person to be there to oversee and to make decisions for you.
- It is advised to arrange temporary accommodation during the packing.
Once these things are done, the international packers and movers can come to pack and load the goods.
- How the company takes it forward
The experience and expertise of a professional packer and mover can be assessed within 15 to 30 minutes after the packing crew walk in. A professional crew need very little supervision and usually do a great job.
A professional international moving company will also appoint a dedicated move manager or a move coordinator as a single point of contact. This move coordinator will overlook the documentation, packing and door to door moving process. When the goods reach the destination port, they will coordinate with the destination movers to handle all the destination documentation, custom clearance and delivery to the new residence. Having a single point of contact makes a huge difference.
Step 3: The post-moving process:
Everything within the first month post moving is crucial. The international packing and moving process doesn’t end once you and the goods reach the destination city. Just like pre-packing, meticulous planning and execution is required here.
Things to do before bring the goods in.
- Prior to signing any legal documents for the new home, do several walk through inspections of the place. Check the condition of the fixtures, calculate the space needed for the goods, and look for any signs of damage, leakage or infestation.
- The new house should be renovated prior to moving in. It can be really uncomfortable to make modifications to the house with boxes and semi unpacked goods lying around everywhere.
- Several areas of the house may need to be cleaned to maintain hygiene, especially if moving with elders and kids.
- Utilities like the internet and telephone connections are required during the unpacking process, therefore should be set up prior to unloading the goods.
- It advised to do this while the goods are still in transit.
- Once the accommodation is taken care of, the unloading and unpacking becomes easy.
Arranging the rooms
- Do not unload and unpack without planning. Identify in advance which items have to go to which room, check if they will fit in those room or through the doors.
- Begin with the important furniture, cupboards and assemble them, then move on to essentials like the kitchen and bathrooms, moving on to the bedrooms, and then the rest of the house. Soon, everything will be furnished and the new house will be ready to live in.
International packing and moving may at first seem like a Herculean task, but do not feel overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done. Take enough time to plan out every step of the process; from the packing, to the moving, and the unpacking. All the ground-level research that’s done before relocating, makes it easy to live life in the new city comfortably. If the planning is taken care of, everything else will fall into place.