Are you moving in 2020? 4 most FAQs about shipping

Are you moving in 2020?  If so, it is likely that you have many questions regarding your relocation. Moving to a new country is a big decision to make, and there are many different important aspects of a relocation to consider before making your next big move! 

Inevitably, one of the first questions you will ask yourself is if you should ship your furniture and personal belongings to your new country, or purchase everything new.

Cost of moving versus buying new

Does the cost of paying for a shipment exceed the cost of repurchasing all your items new at destination? This is one of the most common questions people ask themselves while in the process of moving internationally.  Circumstances can vary, so this is not an easy question to answer. However, the below calculation method can get you started.  Make sure to grab your pen and paper!

Starting in a common room in your house, (for example the living room), start by itemizing all your furniture items.  Next, list all the small items and contents within drawers and shelves (i.e. books, DVDs, etc.).  Once you have your list, start researching online the replacement cost of those furniture items at destination.  Remember, availability of second-hand furniture can vary by destination, so it is best to look at new replacement cost.

Once you have the total room replacement value, apply the same principle for the rest of your home.

In addition to items of monetary value, you will also likely have items of sentimental value that cannot be replaced.  Keep this in mind as you go through your inventory, as these items will need to make it to their destination, either via shipping, or with you in your luggage.

Once you have competed this exercise, you should have a good idea of the total value of your household goods.  There are other factors that need to be considered as well, which may have no direct cost.  You will need to spend time shopping to replace your items at destination, and while this does not necessarily cost anything, it will likely take you away from work or other activities that may add to your stress.

Shipping is not the right choice for everyone, so it is important that you weigh out your options before making this big decision!

What should I ship?

Have you made the decision to ship your possessions yet?  If so, great!  During this next step, many people will evaluate if they should ship the entire contents of their home, or only a few items.

Moving is a great time to declutter and ensure you are only taking the items that you love and need to your new home. So, take the time to go through your old paperwork and cupboards to clear out any of the junk. (This activity could also be done when entering the new year.)

There are also items that are not recommended or not allowed for shipment.  These items can include flammables, detergents and bleaches, batteries, candles, and others.  During your decluttering, it is best to either find a new home for these items or donate them to a local charity.

Once you have finalized decluttering, you should consider if your current furniture will fit into your new home.  Depending on where you are moving to, you may find that apartments can be much smaller/larger than what you are used to!  For example, if you are moving from a villa in Dubai to a flat in Hong Kong, you will likely need to leave most of your furniture.  Conversely, if you are moving from a flat in central London to house in Houston, Texas, you will likely need to purchase more furniture to fill your home.

Customs and duties

Depending on your visa status, nationality and country of origin, you may qualify for duty and tax free entry to your destination country.  Most countries have their own forms of customs documentation that needs to be submitted.  It is important that you work closely with your moving provider to obtain the correct documentation and understand what is required prior to shipping.

For a complete list of destination country guides, inclusive of customs information and forms, please visit Santa Fe website.

How long does it take, and when is the best time for me to ship?

Timeline is very important when considering an international shipment.  Depending on season, you should book your move with a moving company at least one month before your planned departure date.  Typically, summer months are the busiest for movers, so try to give as much notice as possible.

Packing/loading times can vary depending on several different factors.  It is important to ask your moving company how long it will take them to complete your move so that you can plan accordingly.

Shipping times will also vary, primarily depending on origin and destination country.  Sea shipments usually take anywhere between 1 week to 10 weeks.  Again, your moving company will be able to provide you with the latest estimate of timeframe when they provide you with your quote.


If you’re thinking about moving abroad in 2020 and would like to find out how Santa Fe Relocation can support your move from A to B, get in touch with a member of their friendly expert team on 04 332 1595, today.