8 Top Tips for Shipping Your Belongings Overseas

8 Top Tips for Shipping Your Belongings Overseas

This article is created in partnership with Sanelo

Moving abroad can be an exciting yet daunting experience. Last year, my family and I relocated from Dubai to Portugal, and one of the critical aspects of our move was finding a reliable international shipping company to transport our belongings safely. We chose Sanelo, a reputable shipping company that provided us with a seamless and stress-free moving experience.

In this blog post, I’ll share my top tips for shipping your belongings overseas and highlight how Sanelo made our move a success.

1. Do Your Research and Get Recommendations

Research is your best friend when it comes to moving abroad, and finding the right shipping partner is no exception. Start by reaching out to fellow expats and friends who have moved internationally; their first-hand experiences can be invaluable. Additionally, conduct thorough online research and read reviews. Reputable moving companies, like Sanelo, will have a plethora of reviews that provide insights into their service quality and reliability.

Once you have a list of potential candidates, reach out to at least 3-4 of them. To easily get several quotes via one website, I like to use sirelo.org.

Request quotes and take the opportunity to gauge their customer service and work ethic. Visit their offices if possible, ask questions, and choose a partner you can trust. Sanelo’s excellent customer service and transparency were some of the reasons we selected them for our move.

2. Check Accreditations

FIDI, an independent global organization representing qualified professional international moving companies, is a crucial accreditation to look for. Choosing a FIDI-accredited company ensures that you’re working with professionals who meet international standards in transporting, packing, and unpacking your belongings. It’s also wise to check for other country-specific accreditations such as EuRA or LACMA, as well as certifications like Health & Safety Management and Data security.

Our experience with Sanelo gave us confidence in their commitment to quality and safety, as they held several of these accreditations.

Shipping Your Belonings Overseas
The superb packing team in action

3. Carefully Review the Estimated Costs

When you receive quotes from different shipping companies, don’t rush to choose the cheapest one. Instead, review the inclusions and exclusions in each quote thoroughly. Some companies may seem cheaper initially but could have hidden costs that will add up later. Ensure you understand the services and options offered and inquire about comprehensive insurance options.

Sanelo provided us with a transparent quote covering all the essential aspects, sparing us of any unpleasant surprises. Clear communication and detailed quotes are key indicators of a trustworthy shipping company.

Here’s a quick overview of things to review in your shipping quotes:

  • What are the inclusions and exclusions in the quote?
  • What are the services and options stated in the quote?
  • Is there a comprehensive insurance option that includes mold & mildew, electrical and mechanical derangement, and sets and pairs with no deductibles?
  • Are the prices clear, and do they answer your questions to clarify your quote?

In general, there will be a lot of terms and abbreviations that might be confusing, so don’t hesitate to ask any questions and get the representative to clarify any questions and doubts you might have.

4. Don’t Skip on Insurance

Accidents can happen during an international move, even with a trusted shipping partner. It’s therefore crucial to select appropriate insurance coverage. Here are some insurance-related tips:

  • Understand what your insurance covers, including protection against loss, damage, electrical and mechanical derangements, and matching sets/pairs. Sanelo offered a Shipment Protection Cover that gave us peace of mind.
  • Discuss storage insurance options with your shipping company if you need to store your items before shipping. Sanelo provided us with valuable advice about the risks associated with storage in a hot and humid climate, ensuring we had the proper measurements and insurance in place.
  • Create a detailed inventory of your belongings, complete with quantities and values. Photograph your items, especially if there’s existing damage. With my book, Let’s Move Abroad, you can access several digital tools, including an inventory template, to simplify this process.
Shipping Your Belongings Overseas
A trustworthy partner makes all the difference

5. Select a partner that fits your needs

Every move is different. That’s why it’s essential to select a moving company that prioritizes your specific needs and concerns. To ensure your chosen mover can cater to your individual preferences, be sure to ask the following essential questions:

  • Is the company available on your preferred move date?
  • Can they provide comprehensive services that meet your needs, including full door-to-door services and assistance with customs regulations?
  • Do they offer the right packing materials and secure crating for art pieces or fragile items?

6. Understand Customs  Regulations and Documentation

International moves involve crossing borders, which means dealing with customs regulations and documentation. A reputable shipping company should offer guidance on the necessary paperwork and compliance with customs requirements. Make sure to ask your potential shipping partner about their expertise in handling customs procedures. Sanelo provided us with valuable insights into the documentation required for our move and ensured a smooth customs clearance process, which saved us a lot of headaches.


7. Evaluate Container and Shipping Options

Different international moves may require various container and shipping options. Discuss the container sizes available and the most suitable option for your belongings with your chosen shipping company. Some companies offer full container loads (FCL) or shared container loads (LCL). Evaluate the cost and convenience of each option to determine what works best for your move. When we moved our belongings from Sydney to the Netherlands, we opted for a shared container, but when our little family of four moved from Dubai to Lisbon, the best option for us was a full container load. 


8. Check for Additional Services

Beyond the basic shipping services, inquire about any additional services the shipping company offers. Some companies may provide packing and unpacking assistance, storage solutions, and even pet transportation services. These supplementary services can make your move more convenient and less stressful, depending on your unique needs. 


Shipping Your Belongings OverseasIn summary, when it comes to hiring an international shipping company, thorough research, accreditation checks, cost evaluation, and insurance planning are essential steps.

With our latest move with Sanelo, we had our best shipping experience to date and it demonstrates the importance of choosing a reliable partner. By following these tips and selecting a reputable company that suits your needs, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free relocation. 

For more tips and practical documents, including the inventory overview, make sure to pick up a copy of my book, “Let’s Move Abroad.” This comprehensive workbook is packed with valuable insights and resources to help you navigate the complexities of international relocation successfully.




Psst! Just between us, some of the links in my blog post might be affiliates. But don’t sweat it; you won’t be charged extra! If you happen to make a purchase, I might earn a small commission. It’s just my way of keeping the content coming and the dog food stocked. Thanks for stopping by to read my post!

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