If you are moving internationally, long distance domestically, or have timing complications related to your move, you may want to consider shipping your belongings rather than using a simple moving service. When items are to be shipped, they must be packed and prepared more securely than if they were just traveling across town. Once they arrive at their destination, you can pick them up or have them delivered at your convenience, instead of having to meet your moving truck at the house on moving day. There are some specific requirements to be aware of, and there are also a few things you can do to minimize the costs of a shipping job.
Packing Your Container
The primary factor in your shipping cost is the size of your container. Your goal should be to engage the smallest container possible but be aware that if all your items do not fit in the container you choose, you will have to pay very high fees for the additional items or else leave them behind. If an agent from a moving company has the opportunity to look at your load ahead of time, he can advise you on what size container you are likely to need.
Paying professional movers to pack all of your items into boxes and load them into your container is the best way to make sure that they are well protected for the trip. However, you can save money by doing the packing yourself and simply pay for loading. You can even prepare furniture for shipping yourself, as long as you are careful to observe all laws and procedures applicable to your move.
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Other countries and even some states within the U.S. impose restrictions on what type of items may not be transported across borders. Plants are the most well known of these, as they often bear insects and diseases that easily spread and can be disastrous to foreign crops. Shipping companies also refuse to carry objects and liquids that are flammable or explosive—ammunition, lighter fluid, candles, gasoline, and paint thinner are some of the more common prohibited items. Ask your agent to tell you what regulations you must respect given your destination and any other countries or states your load will pass through.
As always, back up all files stored on computers, protect and clearly label any fragile items, and confirm the full insurance coverage of your entire load.