Packing Tips for International Movers

Essential Packing Tips for International Relocation

Arguably the most important part of an international relocation is the packing. Effective preparation of your belongings can make your move less stressful and protect your things over even long distances. Here are some of our favorite tips for successfully packing for an international move. 

Man packing a box using tape

Introduction to Packing for International Moves

Packing for an international move requires careful consideration and planning. From navigating different customs regulations to ensuring the safety of your belongings during transit, the process can be intricate. Perhaps your biggest challenge will be twofold: (1 Packing efficiently to minimize weight and maximize protection and  (2 Packing in such a way as to simplify your passage through customs. Here are some of our favorite strategies to help you achieve these goals. 

Declutter your belongings

Make sure you only move what you absolutely need. That means going through everything, from your wardrobe to your kitchen supplies. Get rid of anything you do not use regularly

Roll your clothing

Rolling your clothing allows you to fit more items into less space. That can make your move more efficient and speed up your passage through customs. 

Protect fragile items

Everything you pack should be secured with the right materials, but fragile items should receive the most attention. 

Use all empty space

That includes cracks and crevices in between items in your boxes (Perfect for soft things like towels), the insides of shoes, and even empty bottles. 

Research customs regulations

Finally, know exactly what to expect when it comes to customs. In particular, know what is and is not allowed through customs and make sure your belongings meet the requirements. 

Man packing box using bubble wrap

Specialized Packing Materials

Investing in the right packing materials is crucial for safeguarding your belongings during the journey. Explore the benefits of Allied’s Gold Seal Wrap a 7-layer international wrapping that has a treatment for water repellent on the outside and a fine finish tissue layer on the inside to protect your furniture. Plus, trust us to use other specialized materials designed to provide an extra layer of protection for your items. Every item will be secured in a way that maximizes their protection throughout every mile of your relocation. 

Packing Techniques

Efficient packing is an art, especially when it comes to fragile items and electronics. Here is a look at how to pack special items that need extra protection. In particular, consider these techniques for fragile items and electronics that need to make the move with you. 

Fragile Items


Wrap each item individually

Provide individual attention to each fragile item. Wrap them in several layers of packing paper or bubble wrap, securing it with tape. Pay extra attention to corners and protruding parts, as these are vulnerable areas.

Use dividers inside boxes

Place dividers inside boxes to create separate compartments for each item. This prevents them from coming into direct contact with each other, reducing the risk of collisions and breakage. Cardboard dividers or specialty inserts can be used for added protection.

Cushioning is key

Line the bottom of the box with a generous layer of packing peanuts or crumpled paper. Create a cushioning layer between each item and the sides of the box. Ensure that there is no empty space in the box, as this can lead to shifting during transit.

Pack heavier items at the bottom

When loading the box, place heavier fragile items at the bottom and lighter ones on top. This helps distribute the weight evenly and minimizes the risk of damage. Label the boxes clearly as “Fragile” to alert handlers to exercise caution.

Consider custom crates for high-value items

For particularly valuable or irreplaceable items, such as artwork, consider custom wooden crates. These crates provide an additional layer of protection and are tailored to the specific dimensions of your items, minimizing movement during transport.

Fill gaps with soft items

Fill any remaining gaps in the box with soft items like clothing or linens. This provides extra padding and further reduces the risk of movement. Avoid using newspapers, as the ink may transfer onto your fragile items.

Seal boxes securely

Use strong packing tape to seal the boxes securely. Reinforce the seams and edges to prevent accidental openings during transit. Double-check that the “Fragile” label is visible from all sides.

Create an inventory list

Keep a detailed inventory list of all your fragile items. Note the contents of each box and assign a number to correspond with your list. This will help you track your belongings during the move and aid in unpacking at your destination.

Consider professional packing services

If the thought of packing fragile items for an international move is overwhelming, consider hiring professional packing services. Experienced packers have the expertise and materials to ensure the safe transport of your delicate belongings.

Electronics


Back up your data

Before packing any electronic device, back up essential data to prevent loss or damage during the move. Use external hard drives, cloud services, or secure backup solutions to ensure that your data is safely stored.

Gather original packaging

Whenever possible, use the original packaging for your electronic items. The manufacturer’s packaging is designed to provide a perfect fit and offers optimal protection. If you no longer have the original boxes, select sturdy boxes of an appropriate size.

Remove batteries

Remove batteries from electronic devices to prevent potential leaks or corrosion during transit. Place the batteries in a sealed bag and pack them separately.

Use anti-static materials

Electronics are sensitive to static electricity. Wrap devices in anti-static bubble wrap or use anti-static foam to protect against electrostatic discharge (ESD). This is crucial for items like computers, hard drives, and other sensitive electronic components.

Secure cables and accessories

Bundle cables neatly and secure them with twist ties or cable organizers. Pack accessories, such as chargers and cables, with the corresponding electronic device to avoid confusion during unpacking.

Wrap devices individually

Wrap each electronic device individually with bubble wrap or anti-static foam. Pay special attention to corners and protruding parts. For added protection, wrap items in a layer of soft cloth or clothing before applying bubble wrap.

Use cushioning inside boxes

Line the bottom of the box with packing peanuts or crumpled paper. Place the individually wrapped electronic devices in the box and fill any empty spaces with additional cushioning material to prevent movement.

Label boxes clearly

Clearly label boxes containing electronics as “Fragile” and include a description of the contents. Indicate which way is up to ensure proper handling during transit.

Consider original styrofoam inserts

If you have the original styrofoam inserts that came with your electronics, use them for an added layer of protection. These inserts are designed to fit the specific contours of the device.

Pad larger items

For larger electronics like flat-screen TVs or monitors, place padding material between the screen and the box’s interior. Use bubble wrap or foam to create a protective layer and secure it in place.

Pack in a climate-controlled container

If possible, pack electronics in a climate-controlled container. Sudden temperature changes or humidity can affect electronic devices, and a climate-controlled environment helps mitigate these risks.

Document serial numbers

Keep a record of the serial numbers of your electronic devices. This information may be useful for insurance purposes or in the rare event of loss or damage during the move.

Prohibited and Restricted Items

Navigating customs regulations is a crucial aspect of international moving. While the specific items prohibited may depend upon the country you enter, here are some items you should NEVER pack and try to get through customs. 

Hazardous Materials:

  • Flammable substances
  • Explosives
  • Compressed gasses
  • Corrosive materials

Perishable Goods:

  • Fresh or perishable food items
  • Plants and seeds

Illegal Items:

  • Narcotics and illegal drugs
  • Counterfeit goods
  • Stolen or prohibited items

Weapons and Ammunition:

  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Knives and other weapons

Biological Materials:

  • Biological samples
  • Infectious substances

Currency and Monetary Instruments:

  • Large sums of cash without proper declaration
  • Restricted financial instruments

Pornographic Materials:

  • Explicit adult content may be subject to restrictions or prohibitions

Cultural and Historical Artifacts:

  • Items of cultural or historical significance may require special permits

Radioactive Materials:

  • Radioactive substances and materials

Medications:

  • Prescription medications may be subject to approval or restrictions

Animals and Animal Products:

  • Pets may require specific documentation and quarantine measures
  • Certain animal products may be restricted

Plants and Plant Products:

  • Certain plants and plant products may be subject to quarantine
  • Soil may be restricted due to potential contaminants

Electronic Waste:

  • Some countries have restrictions on the import of electronic waste

Liquids:

  • Liquids in large quantities may be restricted
  • Alcoholic beverages may be subject to specific regulations and duties

Magnetic Materials:

  • Strong magnets and magnetic materials may be restricted

Knowing what to pack, what not to pack, and how to pack it can make your move seamless. At Atlas Allied, we are happy to guide you through the process, take over the packing for you, and help you navigate customs, because our experience is devoted to one goal: A successful international move for you!

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