Top Tips for Shipping Personal Effects Overseas

Posted on September 30, 2021
Categorised as Freight Forwarding Services

If you’re moving abroad, you’ll probably be very excited about your relocation. But you’ll also be having to deal with a lot of tasks, like sorting out visas, finding accommodation and even learning a new language. You’ll also have to work out how you will get all your belongings to your new home, which can seem like a mammoth challenge.

However, with the right support and the below tips, you can safely and efficiently transport your personal effects overseas.

Pick the Right Freight Forwarder

A lot of international freight forwarders won’t deal with personal effects transport. But PBS is a specialist at personal effects shipping and we’re experienced in shipping household effects. We understand that your shipment will have sentimental value as well as monetary value. We’ll make sure it’s transported with care, giving you peace of mind.

An experienced freight forwarder will be able to work with you to find the best method of shipping – air freight is usually quicker, but sea freight shipping is often cheaper. What you go for will depend on your budget and time constraints. You may want your items to arrive before you do, so you can get settled straight away, or you may be able to wait for them to arrive in your new accommodation.

Make a Packing List

When shipping your personal effects internationally, you’ll need to make a packing list. This will be an inventory of everything that will be transported.

You should aim to be specific with your list. Rather than putting “dining room furniture”, instead put “6x wooden chairs, 1x wooden dining table”, for example.

Not only is a packing list a requirement for international shipping paperwork, but it will also help you to keep on top of things as you pack. You might find it helpful to label the boxes and bags as you pack them, to make unpacking them easier on the other side.

Have a Clear Out

The more items you ship, the more expensive it will be. So, you should use this as an opportunity to clear out some of the items around the house that you no longer need or want. If you have any furniture that you don’t think you’ll use in the new place, get rid of it or put it in storage if you’ll want to come back to it. Also have a sort through your smaller items and household knickknacks, so you only take what you absolutely need and want.

Pack Securely

You should make sure your items are packed securely with the right materials. You should take extra care with fragile items, making sure to utilise bubble wrap and even clothing for added padding.

At PBS, we have four levels of shipping for you to choose from, whether you want to pack your items yourself or to use our expert packers to pack your personal effects in custom-made crates specifically designed to fit your cargo.

Don’t Pack Prohibited Items

You’ll need to avoid packing any prohibited items with your personal effects shipping. What counts as restricted goods will vary from country to country, so you’ll need to research the import laws for the country you’re relocating to.

If you have dangerous goods or firearms to ship overseas, PBS can help with our specialised shipping. We have approved routes and carriers and an expert cargo team, so we can safely transport your goods.

Be Careful with Quantities and New Items

Most personal effects can be transported to a new country without having to pay duties or taxes. However, this is only for items that are for your personal use. If you have recently stocked up on a lot of kitchen cleaner, for example, and you want to bring it with you, you’ll need to be careful. If there’s a large amount, customs may believe that the product is actually for a cleaning business, not your personal use. In that instance, you may end up having to pay duty on the bulk of it.

You should also be wary about transporting new items, as customs will only count personal effects if you have had them and used them for a few months. Whilst customs won’t assess the age of every item in your shipment, they may question if you have something that looks brand new and is still in its original box, like a new TV or computer. If you’re packing some items back in the original box, you might need to find the receipt to prove when you bought it.


PBS is on-hand to support you with every step of your personal effects transport, whether you have one item or a whole household’s worth to ship. With our specialised knowledge, we can ensure your items are shipped in the most efficient and economic way, keeping damage and loss to an absolute minimum. Request a quote for your household effects shipping today.

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