International Moving Guidelines

International Moving Checklist

6 to 8 weeks prior

In order to have as smooth a move as possible, it is best that you take some time to organize your activities. Start by penciling out the basic such as:

Where: Take some time to become familiar with the area that you are moving to. Learn different routes to get in and out of the community, and to and from work and school. Find out where schools, grocery stores, gas stations, church and other places that you might want to visit are located. Also, consider the layout of your new home and think about where you will want items placed. It might help to create a rough sketch of this.
When: Timing is important since you might need a couple of days to settle in and make adjustments. This is even more important if long distance travel is involved. It is always advisable, though not essential, that you arrange to be home on move out and move in day(s) and also arrange for at least one day off after your move in day. The further/longer the move, the more time you might need to take in order to prepare and pack. Try to be as flexible as possible around the anticipated move days. Even if you do plan to try packing on your own, we recommend engaging a professional packing service as this can be extremely time-consuming.
What: decide what items to keep and what items to dispose of. If you will be disposing of items, decide on where e.g., by sale, giveaway to friends and neighbors, donate to charity or throw away. Start with any sale as soon as possible as this usually takes more time than the other options. Remember that the more items you carry, the longer it might take, hence the more it might cost.
Who: If your move will be staggered, decide ahead of time who will go first and when, and next and when. This will help in determining what, if anything will be sent ahead or taken with you while the other items are transported on the truck. This will also help in determining when you would like your items delivered.
How (transportation): Start seeking transportation early. Find out the cost and requirements and any other services that are offered. It is always easier to have fewer vendors to contend with than multiple vendors, especially when there are children, schools, jobs, pets, etc., to see to. A decision will also need to be made regarding your personal transportation. Who will be the driver and what route will you take? At what time do you plan to leave and who and what will be transported in your vehicle?

Moving Supplies. If you plan on doing your own packing, you should start acquiring moving and packing supplies. Be sure to use moving boxes and/or bins as they are designed for moving. Grocery store boxes and other miscellaneous boxes might create problems due to their size and strength, and may not adequately protect your belongings. They can also cause packing problems when being packed in the vehicle.

Your Home: Whether you are selling, buying, leasing or renting now is the time to see to it that real estate transactions are finalized. Keep documented records.
Essentials: Locate and keep close at hand in a safe place all medical, insurance, bank account, wills property, jewelry, firearms and irreplaceable photos, etc. It is advisable that you make arrangements to transport these items personally.

4-5 prior

  • Notify the utility companies (water, electricity, land line phone, cable, internet) of your intent to move and make arrangements to disconnect your service at your move out address. Also make arrangements for the connection at your move in address. If you need to move your bank account or church membership, you should also notify these institutions. If there is any service such as gardening, housekeeping, school bus or newspaper, that automatically comes to your house, this is a good time to give them notice also.
  • Check to see if you have anything that needs to be returned somewhere. These can be library books, or the neighbor’s power tool or something you purchased that you planned on returning or exchanging. Check with each member of your household to see if they have anything that needs to be returned.

3 Weeks prior

  • Review all of the above and confirm all arrangements. If there are any changes, be sure to notify all parties involved.
  • Return all items that need to be returned as the last two weeks will seem to go by quite fast.
  • Also collect any items such as jewelry or furniture being repaired, and check on any items ordered that have not yet been delivered.
  • If you will be traveling with a pet or infant child, make sure that you have planned for adequate rest stops as the move can be stressful on them.
  • Ensure that all packing plans are in place and confirmed.
  • Start considering whether or not you will need to rent storage space and start making arrangements.

2 Weeks prior

  • It is advisable that you service your vehicle as you will have to find another service provider if you are moving out of town.
  • If you have equipment such as lawnmowers and power washers that hold fluids, be sure to drain them as they can leak and damage your belongings. It is also not advisable to transport gas cylinders that are not empty. Consider disposing of cleaning solutions or ensure that they are properly tightened and secured in leak-proof containers.
  • Be sure to back up your computer files and keep a backup drive in a safe place.
  • Survey the house and make a final decision on where you would like to start packing. If you will be doing your own packing, then start packing what you can.
  • Dispose of items that you have decided to throw away and arrange for the charity drop off or pick up within a week. Also arrange for friends/neighbors to collect items being given away.
  • If you need to store anything call your van line agent about storage options available.

1 Week prior

  • Review all of the above and confirm all arrangements. If there are any changes, be sure to notify all parties involved.
  • Label your items and packages so that you and the movers will know what goes, what stays, what you will carry and what they should take. Be sure to label each person/room belongings clearly. You can use color coded labels and special instruction labels. You should speak to your mover about acquiring these.
  • Ensure that you have your essential items package with you and assign someone to place it on their personal checklist.
  • Prepare a list of emergency items such as food, medicines, infant supplies, clothing, flashlights and batteries, pet food, etc., that you will need to have with you immediately.


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