Packing and Moving Your Physical and Mental Baggage

long distance moving and storage Bay Area

Any out-of-town relocation requires packing up the old home and getting to know new terrain. International relocation adds complications to both the moving process and the experience of community in the new place.

Physical Baggage

The easiest overseas relocation logistically is made by an adventurous explorer traveling light, with no expectation of setting up a fully functioning household at the other end. For the rest, it’s a question of how much to bring and how much to leave behind. The decision depends partly on the availability and cost of goods on the other end. Find out what you can before you begin packing.

Hiring a Freight Forwarder or Overseas Relocation Company

Unless you are making an overseas job transfer arranged by your employer, your first step is to contact freight forwarders and overseas relocation companies for quotes and service summaries. The company representative will want to know your estimate of the number, volume, and weight of boxes and furnishings you’ll be shipping. You’ll be deciding which aspects of the move you will have the company or companies handle and which you’ll do yourself (obviously, you can’t do the shipping itself).

  • Packing and inventorying boxes
  • Transporting boxes to the warehouse
  • Palletizing or crating up the boxes
  • Shipping to the port nearest your destination
  • Customs clearance
  • Delivery to your door


If you’re doing the packing, be efficient. Buy standard-sized boxes in several sizes. Create a spreadsheet with columns for each box’s dimensions, weight, and contents, and fill in the spreadsheet as you seal each box. The weight and dimensional tallies will help your communications with your shipper and keep you aware of how close you are to your estimate and to the price tiers for weight and volume.

Typically, boxes within a shipping crate may be stacked five or six high, so assume that a box will have other boxes stacked on top of it, and pack accordingly, using adequately strong boxes and enough packing materials to protect fragile items.

Mental Baggage

An overseas move entails a whopping dose of cultural adjustment and linguistic challenge (even if you move to an English-speaking country where, for example, “sidewalks” become “footpaths” and “tea” is a meal). These are, in fact, the same factors that make moving overseas fascinating and rewarding. Every new word and every cultural difference provides insight into other ways of perceiving the world and each other. Nevertheless, these novelties are exhausting. Inevitably, the new country will at times baffle and annoy you. If it wasn’t your idea to make the move, you may find it difficult to keep resentment from coloring your perception of your host country. If you arrived with idealized notions of your new home, your rosy view will be dimmed by impatience with the unfamiliar.

It’s generally recognized that adjusting to a new culture involves several stages, beginning with a honeymoon that may last many months, followed by discomfort leading to hostility or rejection, then a stage of coming to terms with the new place, and finally, perhaps after several years, a stage of feeling at home. Anticipating these stages will help you keep your feelings in context. The best way to cope with feelings of alienation, oddly enough, is to immerse yourself in the new place, avoiding isolation and engaging in many social activities.

Movers N’ Shakers Can Facilitate Your Overseas Move

The moving and packing experts and logistics team at Movers N’ Shakers can ease the transition to your new home in a new country. There is a lot to consider and unless you’re experienced or you have a overseas relocation company helping you through your transition, you will need to ensure that your move is planned out perfectly to make your overall transition easier on the front end. See our International and Overseas Moving page for an overview of our comprehensive services or give us a call to discuss and price out your move (877)797-4253.