International Moving Guide


Moving- It’s a challenge even when it’s across town across the country. If you’re one of the thousands of families that relocate abroad- it’s a challenge like you’ve never experienced! International Moving- Thankfully, there are companies like Stewart Moving & Storage that make this a much easier process, we do this every day. We’ve provided some tips here on how to make your international move easier:

3+ Months Before Moving

  • Take a trip! Yes, really… take a trip! If you have not already been to the place you’re about to call ‘HOME”, take a trip and visit to be sure. It’s much cheaper to take a quick trip, than to move and hate your new homeland!
  • Make lists! Following a guideline like this one is helpful; add to it by writing your own lists and notes along side or on the back, if you’ve printed this out. Even the act of writing it down and organizing items and tasks on paper make it more likely you’ll remember and not miss anything!
  • Plan. As in, plan ahead and plan some more. Rushing causes all of us to make mistakes and an international move isn’t the time for that! Book your mover early, 2-3 months; if at all possible, but contact a few even earlier than that so you can get a few quotes for comparison.  Don’t just hire the first one you fin don Google. Yes, this all can be a headache, but it’s nothing compared to the headache of not having everything in order.
  • Go through your home and items. Many electronics from the USA do not work in Europe, clothing from your hometown may not be appropriate in the climate or culture where you’re moving. Moving items you can’t use isn’t only costly, it’s pointless! Take the time to go through your belongings and see what would be best to sell, donate, trash, and take on your journey abroad.
  • Collect Records. Dentist, Doctors, schools, veterinarian, titles; get physical copies of all your records. Now is the time to be sure you have your passport and all of you needed visas & permits, if you don’t have them already

1-2 Months Before Moving

  • Contact International Moving Companies and get multiple estimates. Prices will vary based on the method of shipment: Ocean, Air Freight, Motor Carrier, and Railroad. Options even vary on the container you choose: Steamship Container, Lift Van. Explore your options based on your items and destination. Lock in your mover as soon as you feel you have found the right one! Don’t forget to ask about procedures including Importing your car, Customs regulations, and Valuation Coverage.
  • Cancel Subscriptions and memberships, and auto-payments. Get your winter coat form the dry cleaners; return those library books, rentals, and items borrowed from friends or neighbors.
  • If moving with children, find a school in your new hometown with an international standard program to ease the transition process.
  • Start telling friends and family. Get them your new address as soon as possible and be open to a nice send off or going away party.
  • Contact the Post Office. International Mail forwarding is not as simple as domestic forwarding. Talk to your post office for options and consider changing your address to a trusted family member or friend for the transition.
  • Have any High Value Items Appraised. You will need the actual value for any Valuation coverage and potential insurance riders you choose.

Last Few Weeks before Moving:

  • Contact Utilities. Have them all disconnected the day AFTER you move out.
  • EAT! Seriously!  Try to shop for groceries as little as possible, eat as much as you can form yoru pantry and freezer.  Consider donating your uneaten, unopened, nonperishable food to a local food bank- Charities like Move for Hunger partner with moving companies to do just that!
  • Pay your last bills. It’s easy enough but don’t overlook those last bills that come in before you move.
  • Documents.  Make sure passports, ID’s, spare keys, birth certificates, all the important paperwork, and even your daily medications are all in one place and packed in a carry on for your travels.
  • Finalize.  What’s going into storage, what’s going with you, and get rid of any last minute items that don’t fall into either category.

Day Before & on Moving Day:

  • Defrost the fridge/ freezer. And clean it!
  • Be on hand for moving day. Have the kids and pets away from the home if possible
  • Check and sign. The inventory form.  Also, check through the home and in closets/ cabinets to be sure nothing was accidentally missed.  Confirm the information on your paperwork will still be the best way to reach you once you relocate


And take a deep breath!  Moving abroad is stressful, but when you work with an International Moving Company like Stewart Moving & Storage, our experience becomes your best asset.