Moving Abroad

Moving Possessions Abroad: By Sea or by Air?

It's to be expected that moving abroad will require a lot more planning and organisation than a domestic move, so it's important that all options are considered in order to ensure your move abroad goes without a hitch. When coming to a decision regarding your preferred method of transportation, you need to consider the relative importance of cost, convenience and environmental impact.

Shipping Container

The cost of transporting your possessions by sea will depend on the cubic volume of goods to be transported and the distance to your chosen destination. Rates for smaller loads generally start from around £1,250, rising to £15,000 for larger loads and/or longer distances.

A 20-foot sea freight container has a capacity capable of accommodating the contents of an average three-bedroom home, but if you are planning to ship your cars as well, you will need a 40ft container. If the volume you have to ship is less than a container-load, it's worth considering taking advantage of a shared shipping deal. This way you only pay for the space you use.

Also bear in mind that shipping costs are only a small percentage of the total costs involved when moving overseas. Other factors to be considered include packing, transporting and door-to-door service. Door-to-door is a service offered by removal companies who will transport your items from your home to the freight, and then from the freight to your new property. It's a more expensive, but more convenient method.

Transporting your property by sea can take as long as a month, so it's important to allow plenty of time.

Air Freight

It's generally more expensive to transport smaller loads by air, but far quicker; a reliable air freight service like those found on Removal Quotes will transport the goods from airport to airport and, in some cases, from door to door.

Air freight Is usually priced by weight rather than volume because more fuel is required for heavier loads.

Air freight services are a good option when you need your items immediately, or they are small and lightweight.

Consider the following when coming to a decision about whether to use a shipping container or air freight:

  • Cost - Moving home is an expensive business, so you'll want to save money wherever you can – although the truth is you'll probably have to spend more to get the best service. Shipping is usually considered to be cheaper than air freight, although both are subject to custom and destination costs, and you need to be aware that warehousing charges at seaports are higher than airports.
  • Time - If you're working to a tight deadline, it might be worth paying higher cargo charges to transport your goods quickly. However, the time it takes for goods to arrive by sea can be used preparing your home for their arrival. Shipping times are now getting shorter thanks to faster ships and improved canal routes.
  • Reliability - Air freight is generally more reliable than sea freight. A ship can be delayed by up to a week as shipments are made on a weekly schedule, whereas if a flight is delayed it's normally by less than a day. The most suitable option for you depends on how quickly you need the goods.
  • Environmental Impact - Growing concern regarding pollution and global warming means that we should all consider the environmental impact of our move, and whether ecological considerations should be given precedence over cost and/or convenience. Sea freight is friendlier to the environment because airplanes have much higher CO2 emissions – although oil spills at sea can have a devastating impact on ocean ecosystems. If you are moving a large volume of items it is better to use sea freight, but if you don't have a lot to move and you need your goods to be delivered quickly, air freight is the better option.

8 Tips to Ensure a Smooth International Move

Removal Quotes can take a lot of the stress out of moving abroad by offering you a selection of reliable, competitively priced removal companies who have the industry knowledge and experience to ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible. However, you can make your move even less stressful by following these handy tips.

  • Apply for a Visa - You don't currently need a visa to move to a country within the European Union (although this might well change once Brexit comes into effect), but moving to countries outside the Union can pose some problems. For example, if you are planning to work abroad, you will have to be sponsored by your employer or have a skill which is in short supply in the country to which you wish to move. If you're not sponsored by an employer, it's therefore worthwhile enquiring about which occupations are in short demand in your preferred country. Those wishing to retire outside of the EU might have to prove they have the finances to support themselves, or have the sponsorship of a local resident.
  • Get Health Care - Overseas healthcare can be expensive, so North America and other countries require their residents to have health insurance – or pay a huge bill before receiving non-emergency treatment if not insured. At present, anyone moving within the EU should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before moving in order to receive emergency healthcare at a free or reduced cost. Always check a country's regulations regarding visas before travelling, as having health insurance is sometimes a prerequisite.
  • Check Property Taxes - Tax on the purchase of a new home overseas can sometimes be as high as 10% of the cost to buy, so make sure you are aware of all appropriate additional charges before moving. Also be aware that many countries have recurring taxes.
  • Capital Gains Tax - Remember that Capital Gains Tax has to be paid on any profits you might have made since initially buying the property.
  • Pensions - Although the UK state pension increases each year, you might only receive the rise if you are living in the European Economic Area (although, again, this might change post-Brexit), Switzerland, or a country with an agreement with the UK. Bear in mind when moving that a frozen pension might make it difficult or impossible for you to afford to continue living overseas.
  • Inheritance - It is important to be fully conversant with inheritance tax laws in your new home country to ensure that you will be able to leave property and savings to family members in the UK.
  • Cost of Living and Quality of Life - Make sure that you will be able to afford a reasonable quality of life in your new home country by carrying out plenty of research into living costs for items such as food, petrol, energy and entertainment. It is advisable to make several trips to the region to which you are planning to move in order to gauge the quality of life as well as the cost of living.
  • Language - While it’s not such an issue in foreign countries like USA, Canada and Australia where English is the predominant language, life in your new home will be vastly enriched if you take the time to learn the language of its people.

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