A Comprehensive Checklist for Packing and Shipping Belongings Overseas

There’s nothing easy about moving.

You could be moving across the street, which will still be daunting. Much of that concerns what to bring, what to leave behind, and whether your stuff will fit into your new home.

Moving overseas means getting all of those concerns on a grand scale. 

Moving with your belongings abroad doesn’t have to be all that scary, especially when armed with practical information. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this comprehensive checklist for packing and shipping belongings overseas.

Understanding Custom Regulations

Researching your destination takes the guesswork out of everything. It should be the first thing you take care of; honestly, it will be a relief.

You want to understand your destination’s customs regulations because different countries have varying rules in terms of imports and duty fees. Therefore, knowing what to expect will help with the packing and shipping.

For example, some countries have high duty fees while others, like Canada, offer duty-free imports on certain items. By the way, this easiest way to immigrate to Canada guide will come in handy if that’s your destination.

Figuring Out Moving Logistics

Before packing, you must figure out how to move your household items overseas. 

You have to consider sea, air, and land freight options.

Sea Freight: Shipping items by sea is the most cost-effective option, but arriving at your new home can take the longest. 

Air freight: this is the fastest option but also very costly and comes with restrictions on what and how much you can bring on the plane.

Land Freight: moving household items by land is also a standard and cost-effective option. It also gets more complicated when your items have to cross the sea and you need to switch to one of the first two options.

At this point, it would make a lot more sense to hire an international moving company to take over. You don’t have to, but the process will be a ton more straightforward if you do.

The benefits of a professional moving company offering international moves are immense. They have done it many times, so they know what paperwork you need and how to secure it fast.

Not sure where to begin searching for a reputable moving company?

This USNews guide will help.

Your Packing Checklist

Packing for an overseas move means downsizing as much as possible. It wouldn’t make much financial sense to bring everything, So you should probably organize a garage sale for things you won’t need.


If you’re on medications, refilling your prescription and packing it alongside physical medical records would be a good idea. You don’t want to start looking for a doctor as soon as you land.


Create a list of essential documents to avoid leaving anything behind. Pack these documents inside a secure folder while ticking your list. Examples of these documents include:

  • Immigration papers
  • Legal and financial documents
  • Education records
  • Birth/marriage certificates
  • Property records


Items that hold sentimental value are those you have to bring with you. These include photo albums, trophies, paintings, books, special children’s belongings, etc. This category holds anything you can’t afford to part with.


Sticking to your furniture may not justify the cost of shipping. In that case, selling and buying new ones when you arrive is more practical. Of course, value is subjective, and you probably don’t want to part with antiques and heirlooms. 


You probably shouldn’t pack heavy or fragile items from your kitchen. Aside from hogging space, these items could break before reaching their destination. Bring a few cookware and small appliances you don’t have to replace if you must pack your kitchen.


You don’t have to pack your entire wardrobe. It adds to the shipping expenses; you probably won’t need all your stuff. 

First, research the climate in the country you’re moving to and pack only essential items.


When it comes to bedding, pack light as well. Think of what you can use while you work on replacing the rest. Pack Items you love that you associate with comfort, such as:

  • Your favourite pillow
  • Bedsheets
  • Linens
  • Pyjamas
  • Bedroom slippers 

Read more: Executive Large Office Moving Services Sherman Oaks

Final Thoughts

We all know how stressful moving can be, but nothing eases the process more than careful planning. 

If you have an international move, we suggest preparing months in advance. That much time ensures you cover every aspect of your relocation process.

Armed with this comprehensive packing and shipping checklist, you can be confident you will have a successful transition.

Leave a Comment