A Guide to the Costs of International Moving
While not as fun as planning your travels, researching a new culture, or learning a new language, finances are an unavoidable part of international relocations, from California and elsewhere. From shipping and customs fees to accommodations and visa expenses, many factors contribute to the cost of moving to a new country.
Factors That Affect International Moving Costs
No two international moves cost exactly the same. The amount you pay depends upon a number of factors that can vary from person to person. If you are planning to move internationally from California here are some of the elements that can impact the cost:
The Weight of Your Belongings
Both domestic and international movers often determine the cost of your move based on the weight of your belongings. The more you move, the more you pay. That is one reason that decluttering is an important step in creating a cost-effective move.
The Moving Services You Choose
Your international mover will load, transport and unload your belongings. However, they often offer additional services. At Atlas Allied, for example, we offer multiple storage solutions for both long and short-term protection of your things. If you choose extra services, such as storage, packing, or unpacking assistance, you will likely incur additional fees.
The Distance of Your Move
If your international relocation from California involves a move to Mexico, you may pay less than if your move takes you to Spain or the Philippines. The further you move, the more your moving costs will generally be.
The Mode of Transportation
How you move your belongings will also impact your costs. For example, transporting belongings by plane usually costs more than bringing them by sea or over land.
Customs Fees and Taxes
Finally, the customs fees and taxes you must pay will also affect the price of your international relocation. Make sure you know what these fees are so you are not caught unprepared on Moving Day.
Breakdown of International Moving Costs
Here is a closer look at the types of expenses you may encounter during your cross-border move.
Shipping and Transportation Costs
- Freight charges for transporting belongings overseas
- Packing materials and services
- Customs duties and taxes
Visa and Legal Expenses
- Visa application fees
- Work permit costs
- Legal and administrative charges
- Initial rental or purchase costs
- Security deposits and agency fees
- Temporary housing during the transition
Health and Insurance Costs
- International health insurance premiums
- Medical examinations and vaccinations
- Emergency evacuation coverage
- Travel costs for you and your family
- Transportation within the destination country
- Temporary accommodation upon arrival
- Food and drink during travel
- Language training expenses
- Cultural adaptation and orientation programs
- Setting up utilities and other amenities
- Household items for your new home
Tips for Managing Moving Costs
Moving internationally will be a financial investment. However, you can manage your costs by following a few of these steps:
Create a Detailed Budget
- List all potential expenses and allocate funds accordingly
- Include contingency funds for unexpected costs
- Incorporate costs for your first few months in your new home
- Plan on 10 percent more than you think you will need
Research and Compare Services
- Obtain quotes from multiple international moving companies
- Compare services, reviews, and overall value
- Avoid the cheapest quotes – They rarely deliver the best services
Plan Ahead for Legal Requirements
- Initiate visa and work permit processes well in advance
- Understand the legal obligations in your destination country
Optimize Belongings for Shipping
- Declutter and minimize items to reduce shipping costs
- Consider selling or donating items that are easily replaceable
- Consider selling rather than shipping your care.
Explore Cost-Saving Opportunities
- Look for discounts on flights and temporary accommodations
- Utilize cost-effective shipping methods based on your timeline
Seek Financial Assistance or Reimbursement
- Inquire with your employer about relocation packages
- Research potential tax deductions related to your move
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