Moving your belongings abroad

Moving Abroad PinterestWhenever you move, be it to the house next door, from Land’s End to John O’Groats or from country to country, at some point you need to face the inevitable conundrum; how do I move all my stuff from the home I am leaving to the home I am moving to…

Moving next door? Carry it, every time.

Moving end-to-end? For me there are two options here; hire, pack and drive a van yourself or employ a removals company/man with a van to do it for you.

Moving countries? Here the options really open up (and some of them become amazingly more expensive).


The obvious option is to employ a removals company to come around, pack up everything you own into boxes, load it onto their wagon and drive it to your new country/home… Simple, fast and effective? Yes. Safe? Most likely (and if not you claim against the company). Reliable? Mostly Affordable? Ummmmm…

When exploring our own options, we looked at 2 or 3 companies, both local ones and national ones and the most affordable option we found was in the region of £4,000.
Now, if you have the money to spend, then of course this is the way to go – but if you don’t this is the kind of number that seems an impossible mountain to climb.

Man & VanMan with A Van

Similar to removals but without the painted wagons, the accreditation that comes with being part of trade organisations or the sheer man- and vehicle-power of the larger removals companies.

The pros – they are often cheaper, so if you are looking at affordability, this is a better option. The downsides, you’re less sure that your precious items will be looked after properly. They may also not have the same level of insurance as the larger firms meaning if you have particularly expensive items, you may need to think about extra insurance (and therefore extra cost).

Again, we looked at 3/4 companies for this option when planning our moving strategy. The average was between £1,000-1,300. More affordable certainly that the removals companies.

Hire, Pack & Drive

Basically, this is the van, without the man. The plan here is you hire a van, pack it and drive it to your new country and then unload. One option is then return the van in your new country and then fly home, the other is to drive back.

With Denmark, we couldn’t find any companies that would do a one-way hire. So it was a case of hiring a van, driving from the UK to DK and back again. The hire for the van was anything from £600-£1,000 but with fuel, ferry/tunnel fares and food/drink or even hotels along the route, it quickly becomes as much as, if not more than, the man with a van option.

Now the obvious bonus here is, well, what an adventure! The opportunity to drive across 3 European countries (in this case France, Belgium and Germany) on top of the UK and Denmark was a big draw. It also means you are responsible for, and can take care of your own stuff.

Be careful, though, that the quotes you get include being able to take the vehicle abroad (in terms of hire fees/insurance etc) else you can suddenly find the price rise dramatically!

Maersk ShippingShipping

There are a couple of options when it comes to shipping. Pallet shipping is certainly an option and we were able to find a deal where 3 pallets would cost around £500. You then get the pallets, pack them and have them collected.
The worry with this method is that your precious things then essentially become freight rather than being regarded as your personal property and so there is a greater risk of damage in transit.

In the end, we chose a courier as our preferred moving method for our things. We have already decided not to take our furniture and some larger items to Denmark, preferring really to start again in terms of home furnishings. This left just our belongings which have been lovingly packed into boxes of various sizes and the first shipment of parcels has already arrived by courier to Denmark and are currently being looked after in a family member’s home.
This has worked out well for us. We have found a courier who ships up to 30kg for just £20 and so we are able to send relatively large amounts in one go. It also means that we are able to spread the cost of sending the items and can stagger our sending meaning that we don’t have to have lost all of our home comforts in one go before we move into our new apartment.

Currently, we are waiting to confirm our apartment and therefore when we will move in. It’s looking like it will probably be March (or soon thereafter) at the moment so to have already sent over some of our belongings is both a relief and a little sad but knowing that the things we use every day don’t have to go any time soon is a comfort. It’s also nice to know that we can track the parcels every step of the way (almost like a giant Amazon order).

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