On the Move to a Land Down Under?

The logistics of relocating to Australia
March 31, 2015 Updated: March 26, 2015

Relocating abroad is a big decision but it is also a very exciting one. Whether you are relocating for work, family or the weather, there are many things to consider when moving overseas. Research shows moving house is thought of as one of life’s most stressful events, but if moving across town is deemed a major stress, imagine how it feels to move across the world.

In 2014 it was reported that the U.S. was the most popular place for Brits to move, and for the three years previous to that it was the sun-drenched country of Australia. Australia has long been a favourite with British expats, promising a healthy outdoor lifestyle for all the family, so if you are looking to take the plunge and move down under, what are your key considerations?

Making the Move

The most important factor to consider when moving abroad is to research your planned destination thoroughly. Accommodation, schooling, healthcare, banking and the cost of living are all essential things to research before you make your move. In the U.S., for example, the healthcare system is wildly different to the one we have in the U.K., so looking into insurance plans for you and the family is imperative.

The cost of living is another key factor to consider including the price of cars, rent, utilities and property. Costs can add up, so budgeting and research before you go will make sure you are fully prepared before embarking on your exciting adventure.

Once your research is complete make an appointment for a survey with an accredited international mover, preferably one with a dedicated international team. International moving specialists can offer a complete door-to-door service including export packing services, destination storage, and support with customs restrictions.

It is best to book a meeting with a sales surveyor at least three months in advance of your move so you can meet with them to discuss the costs and logistics of the move and verify the exact volume to ship.

Your trusted mover will also clarify the destination agent who will move you into your new home and who can offer destination storage and unpacking services. If you have a pet, accredited international movers will also have valuable partnerships with specialist pet relocation services to make sure all the family are moved abroad safely.

Most reputable removal companies will offer international insurance, but a fully comprehensive package such as marine transit insurance is advised.

Although precautions are taken to minimise any risk to your belongings, realistically insurance should be a priority and is something to think seriously about when budgeting your costs.

The Logistics

Your belongings will usually be shipped to Australia or the U.S., which can take between 12 and 14 weeks with a further 7–10 days in customs and quarantine once your shipment has arrived. Certain items, such as untreated wood, are prohibited from entering Australia and other items must be declared including those containing shells, coral, wool, and feathers, so bear this in mind when packing jewellery and household items.

All sports equipment and footwear (especially walking boots) must be sterilised to avoid fumigation and quarantine charges at Australian customs.

Customs restrictions and red tape can seem overwhelming, especially when you have to pack up your entire house, but a good international mover will guide you through the process as well as offering specialist export packing services.

Once your shipment has arrived and cleared customs your move co-ordinator will notify you and arrange a suitable date and time for delivery. If you are still in rented accommodation while you find the perfect home, storage for your shipped possessions can easily be organised.

The Practicalities

With so many things to think about concerning your new life, it is easy to forget about the loose ends to tie up before you go. Once you have made the decision to relocate, it is time to have a big clear out and decide what you are taking with you. Shipping your possessions abroad is costly so start decluttering your shed, wardrobes, and loft long before you have to start packing up your house for the move. If you are moving for a finite amount of time, you may need to store your furniture before you go, and this is something your removals company can help with.

Utilities, mobile contracts, and insurance are the more obvious things to cancel but remember to cancel gym memberships and subscriptions and to redirect your mail as well as notifying your electoral office. You will also need to organise your banking in your home and destination country and research the best deals on transferring your savings over to a foreign currency. International removals companies will also have partnerships with foreign exchange specialists who can help with this.

Whether you are looking to buy or rent a property abroad you will need furnished temporary accommodation while you wait for your furniture and possessions to be shipped. This can take a number of months and being without your things for so long can be overwhelming, especially if you have kids. Make sure you have chosen some homely accommodation before you travel so you have somewhere to settle when you land in your new home land.

Moving abroad for any length of time is an exciting experience, but is also a time full of planning, research, and organisation. By sourcing and working with a reputable international mover some of the stress of moving can be shared and you can concentrate on the first thrilling months of your expat life.

Holly Lowe works at Clockwork Removals, who specialise in local, national, and international removals and storage for individuals, families, and businesses.