Guide to Overseas Removals


Moving overseas can seem more stressful than domestic relocation, but it doesn’t have to be. Whilst you will have to adapt to a brand new culture and make new friends, the removals process itself is very similar, although it is generally more expensive than in the UK mainland.
Where you’re moving to may dictate to an extent which removals company you choose. It’s a very good idea to choose a reputable firm when relocating overseas as you don’t want your possessions going missing half way across the Atlantic. In addition, you may have less control over when your possessions arrive – particularly if you choose a route than can be subject to natural delays, such as shipping.
It’s important to request a surveyor’s visit so they can judge the volume of your possessions. Whilst you should also do this for domestic removals, the limits on space may be more pronounced when shipping overseas and you don’t want to find you have to leave important belongings behind. You also want the right containers for your belongings, as the larger ones are obviously more expensive.
There are several options available for overseas removals. We’ve listed the main types below, and the advantages and disadvantages, so you can choose one that suits you depending on factors such as cost, speed and safety.


European Removals


Removals companies handle European relocation in different ways, so it’s worth checking with several firms to see which one suits you best. Many smaller removal businesses will travel with only your consignment in their lorries so you can set your own timescale and others will use multi-consignment lorries as these are more cost effective for both parties. Your goods are boxed in the same way as per a domestic move, although some companies will pack them for you. If you choose this option, make sure you keep a full inventory of your goods and label your boxes clearly. 




Shipping comes in two flavours. With the first, a full container load, your possessions are loaded into large, secure steel containers and transported by container ship to the nearest container port. Your removals firm can tell you what sizes of container they deal in – generally between 850 and 2400 cubic feet – and the respective cost, which is calculated in terms of volume. Each container is for your use only. This not only reduces any potential customs problems but also limits access to your container, preventing the possibility of breakages or theft.
If you’re less concerned about security or time, groupage may be a better option. Steel containers are filled with possessions from different individuals and removals companies that are travelling the same route. The shipment doesn’t leave until the container is full, so it’s harder to have a set date for delivery. However, if your possessions are going into storage this won’t be that much of a problem. Groupage is more cost effective when compared to the full container load.


Air Freight


Air freight is the most expensive overseas removal option, but certainly the quickest and best if you need accurate delivery dates. Consignments are secured in specially-designed pallets and transported in the plane’s cargo hold. Air freight is also an advantageous removals option if you’re relocating to an island or country with no inbound sea access. The price is dictated by volume or physical size, whichever is largest.

 Find out more about international removals companies

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