Everything You’ll Need To Know Before Moving Overseas.



Ask the Moving Doctor

Our resident Moving Doctor, Mark Nash is in the house! Mark has been in the moving business for 33 years, originally from England; he has moved 5 times internationally and has worked in England, mainland Europe, The Middle East and for the past 19 years in the USA. If he doesn’t know the answer to the question, he has enough friends in this industry to find out for you.

He currently sits on the board of the International Shippers Association and the Commercial Affairs committee at the International Association of Movers.

Mark will always do his best to provide an answer honestly, professionally and treat this forum as a place where everyone can learn about moving overseas.

Ask your question below!

  • Avatar
    John De Costa
    Posted at 11:04h, 06 June Reply

    Hello. We are moving from the UK to Mexico and have arranged, with a baggage forwarding agency, to ship all items that will fit into their standard size boxes (up to 30 kilos per box). This leaves us with an antique cigar cabinet that measures 200 x 75 x 35 cm that we want to ship. Mexico is extremely expensive for port charges, so I’m not sure that popping it in a container with other shippers is an option. Or, maybe it is (but I’m told that each consigner, within a container, needs to pay the port charge – rather than share it). We are working with the Mexican consulate in London and can receive papers that will exempt the shipment from import taxes (not to be confused with the port charge). What is the most economical way to ship the cabinet from London to Mexico. Thank you, John.

    • The Moving Doctor
      The Moving Doctor
      Posted at 19:21h, 10 June Reply

      Hello John, thanks for the great question and sorry for the delay in my reply. I have been trying to find out a feasible way to ship your cigar cabinet! As you know the Mexican ports are notorious for extra fees, damage and generally a tough customs clearance experience. I have a feeling the costs of shipping will cost more than what the cabinet is worth. Shipping a single piece of furniture anywhere in the world is not cost effective to be honest, let alone Mexico. I think if this is a must have item for you in your new home, then the only safe way and semi cost effective way to ship it would be airfreight. You would need to have the cabinet packed and wrapped and placed in a wooden crate for protection but it should arrive safely, get through customs ok and stay within the budget that you were quoted.
      Neither I nor UPakWeShip have a huge amount of experience with Mexico to be honest but if you would like we can give you a quote for packing and crating and airfreight to arrival Mexico City.
      I suggest you find a local customs broker who knows the ropes to clear it through customs. The best way to do this is to ask around locals that you might know down there or other expats, an employer or even Facebook groups.
      I do have an American contact that we work together with and he is based in the Lake Chapala area. If you would like me to introduce you let me know
      Sorry I cant be more help but its a tricky one!
      The International Moving Doctor.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 21:19h, 04 June Reply


    Can you please explain where a U-Crate can be picked up from? The cut-de-sac in front of our house is on a bit of an incline and our driveway is also slanted, so I am worried we won’t be able to load at our home.

    Can you also provide an estimated transit time for shipping to NZ? And the process of delivery of items once taken out of the U-Crate? If everything is delivered loose after customs inspection, will fragile items be safe?


    • The Moving Doctor
      The Moving Doctor
      Posted at 14:41h, 05 June Reply

      Hello Kathleen, thanks for the questions. The U Crates can be collected from anywhere that a tractor trailer truck can fit. Most cities also have smaller straight trucks that we can collect in. The truck needs space to drop down its tail lift at the back of the truck and with a pallet truck push the U Crate onto the tail lift and then the tail lift lifts it up to be pushed into the trailer. So the ground needs to be a hard surface like road or concrete, not shingle or stones or dirt. The area also needs to be reasonably flat so the U Crate once loaded can be pushed or pulled across the surface on the pallet jack. A small incline might be ok if someone was there to help push or pull but the U Crate might weigh 1000 lbs so even when its on wheels on the pallet jack its still a lot of weight to be pushing up an incline! As long as he truck has room to turn around or pull through in the cul de sac then that should be ok and the tail lift can level up with the curb to drive it straight onto the tail lift from the curb.
      If you are still not sure and it can depend where you are in the USA, what gradient the incline is and how much room there is, please take some pictures and email them to your contact at UPakWeShip and they will be able to confirm hopefully a “Yes No Problem” or lets discuss a plan B….

      The estimated transit time can be long to NZ. Two factors here, its a long way by ship and as its not as popular as say Europe, we only load a consolidation container to NZ maybe every 6 weeks. We would work with you and let you know if there was a pending loading date so you wouldn’t just miss a container. Having said all this I would budget somewhere between 12-16 weeks for door to door transit.

      Regarding the Customs / quarantine inspection, with Australia its more likely the shipment will be loaded loose for final delivery and its a possibility with New Zealand shipments. My advice is to pack items well using packing paper and pad the bottom and top of boxes with crushed up paper, cushions, left over amazon packing from a delivery so everything is well padded and the boxes are full so they keep their shape. See my how to pack a box video here.
      Also label each box or loose item you are shipping in the U Crates and make sure the contents description matches the packing list. Don’t pack anything that used to be living and make sure everything is super clean, no mud or dirt on bike tires, golf clubs, beach chairs or camping equipment.

      Will the items be safe? Yes if you pack everything well. I strongly believe the average person can take their time and pack better than a moving company and more sensibly as you know what valuable to you. The average mover probably doesn’t use bubble wrap and definitely doesn’t pad a fragile box with a cushion on the bottom and on the top!

      At the time of inspection, if anything is unwrapped for inspection it will be re wrapped and re taped so this procedure should not cause any risk of damage if you pack properly in the first place. They are used to doing this down there and I have never herd of complaints that there was damages due to the inspection which by the way is done in the movers warehouse and not in the port so its all quite civilized.

      I hope that helps and feel free to let me know or anyone in sales or operations if you need more clarification on any of your questions.

      Cheers and Happy Packing!
      The International Moving Doctor

  • Avatar
    Andrea Jeffrey
    Posted at 16:30h, 01 June Reply

    we live in a condo on the 2nd floor. a Ucrate seems a great option to pack up and ship our stuff to the UK, but the ucrate would not be able to loaded inside our condo as we could not get the crate downstairs. what options do we have ?

    • The Moving Doctor
      The Moving Doctor
      Posted at 19:25h, 04 June Reply

      Hello Andrea, thanks for the question. The U Crate is the best option for shipping part loads to the UK. They come flat packed and are roughly the size of a pallet and about 12 inches deep and weigh about 100 pounds. I am telling you this in case your condo has an elevator, in which case two people can carry, roll or possibly push it from where its dropped off into the elevator and up into your condo. Once in your condo you can open it up, play around with it practicing loading it and seeing how everything fits. On the day you choose for collection, you can then carry the U Crate pieces back down in the elevator to the parking lot and load the U Crate up ready for the truck to collect it.
      If this doesn’t work then maybe we can deliver the kit to a friends house or work or maybe a self store and you could load it there ready for us to collect?
      Lastly if all else fails we can let you know where our closest trucking terminal is for you to load it at.

      I hope these ideas give you an option that might work for you. Don’t forget to apply for your transfer of residence, (TOR)

      If you haven’t already seen the all inclusive prices, then feel dree to look at the rates here:
      or complete the quote or contact request form on our home page

      Cheers, The International Moving Doctor.

  • Avatar
    Tim P
    Posted at 00:52h, 27 May Reply

    On the UPakWeShip list of prohibited items, they mention weapons such as knives. Would sharp kitchen knives (e.g. a chef’s knife) be included in that category?
    Thanks so much,

    • The Moving Doctor
      The Moving Doctor
      Posted at 15:46h, 28 May Reply

      Hi Tim, sharp Kitchen knives are fine. We have moved many chefs with all their knives no problem. You can just list them on the packing list as kitchen items. I have found the simplest and safest way to pack knives if you don’t have their sheaths is push them into a roll of paper towels.
      I hope that helps,
      Cheers & happy packing.
      The International Moving Doctor.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 13:51h, 25 May Reply

    We are moving from Germany to Thailand. Do you ship on this route?
    Thank you!

    • The Moving Doctor
      The Moving Doctor
      Posted at 15:33h, 28 May Reply

      Hi, yes we can move you from Germany to Thailand. I will ask our EU sales manager to contact you via this email to see how we can assist.
      Cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  • Avatar
    Andras Kalasz
    Posted at 15:32h, 14 May Reply

    Hello UPakWeShip! This message posted 5/14/2024 by Andras Kalasz

    We are planning to move to Hungary in the beginning of 2026. I would like to know when your company delivers the container to our house , is the container sitting on the ground or do I need a ramp. Second question is how much time you allow to load the container completely full.? I mean what is the stand by time for the container. The third question is also related to to the previous question. How much time you allow to unload the container in the destination country? Thank you in advance !

    • The Moving Doctor
      The Moving Doctor
      Posted at 18:35h, 14 May Reply

      Hello Andras, thanks for the great questions!
      The container will come on a chassis / trailer so it will be about 4.5 -5 ft. off the ground so you need two people stationed in the container and 2 or 3 people taking things from the house and handing stuff up to them, or a ramp.

      You are allowed two hours free to load and then after that the wait time if you take longer is about $100 per hour.

      The same is for the delivery, two hours free then about Euros 100 per hour wait time.

      So the important thing to cut down time is have all your things, packed, labelled and positioned downstairs in the house or garage ready for loading. At the time of delivery, get everything unloaded out of the container first and then worry about where everything goes exactly in the house once the container is unloaded and gone.

      I hope that helps, my advice if you think it might take all day to load the container which could cost an extra sat $600 is instead hire a local mover to help you load which will probably cost you about the same and it saves breaking your back!

      Lastly, have a look at our You Tube channel to see containers being loaded and get a better idea of how it works. and

  • Avatar
    Rob B
    Posted at 14:51h, 09 May Reply

    Hi there, Mark – we’re moving from Tampa, FL to Somerset, UK at the end of May and will likely be booking 3 or 4 UCRATE 100 pallets to get our stuff there. Regarding optimizing cubes for packing in the UCRATE 100, we’ve read the recommendations just to get boxes from U-Haul, Lowe’s, U-Line or similar – but we’re keen to get the very best size(s) to lock them up on the pallets, and stack most securely/efficiently. Also, definitely worth it to us to pay a bit more for double-wall or similar, as what we’re sending is the irreplaceable items (we’re giving away/selling furniture, electricals, kitchen, tools, etc). What specific sizes and specs would you recommend, and from where. Lastly, we have several items already packed in Rubbermaid ‘Roughneck’ 18 gal tubs (super robust) – would you recommend stacking these on one of the pallets, or ditching them and going to strong corrugated boxes for the whole lot? Thanks so much for your advice and help!

    • The Moving Doctor
      The Moving Doctor
      Posted at 19:43h, 09 May Reply

      Hi Rob, a very common question and to be honest no clear answer! In the USA moving boxes are not standard sizes like some countries so every manufacturer or store sells slightly different size boxes. I would just buy two sizes of boxes like a book carton and a larger carton say about 4 or 5 cubic feet and just for for it. I have found if you have a gap of a few inches spread the boxes out so you have the gap in the middle and slide in awkward things like a step ladder, folding table, beach chairs, keyboard stand or keyboard, guitar case, picture boxes for example.
      Regarding the robust Rubbermaid tubs, they are fine if you don’t make them too heavy as they can split open if the bottom one has a lot of heavy tubs stacked on top. The other thing is they are not rectangular and normally the top is wider than the bottom so when you put them in the U Crate you are wasting some volume space between the tubs. The advantage though if you have them already is you can use them at home for your Christmas decorations etc.
      May be a mix of each? and always put the heaviest on the bottom and if using carboard cartons make sure they are well padded and totally full so they hold their shape.
      I hope that helps and if you find the perfect measurement box or anyone else does, please let me know,
      cheers The International Moving Doctor.

  • Avatar
    Del Harvey
    Posted at 00:47h, 29 April Reply

    Hello, we are planning to move from Connecticut, USA to France next year. We have a one bedroom home with a lot of living room furniture. We don’t plan on bringing our bedroom furniture or our dining room furniture. We estimate roughly a 2 bedroom home, or somewhere between 130 and 140 square meters of belongings.

    What size container do you think we might need? I ask knowing fully that this is all just guess work. I think we have a 20 foot container’s worth of belongings.

    With your company, how does that work? Would you drop the container off, we pack it, then you ship it to France?

    And what is the process through customs in France? And what kind of charges does that involve?

    Thank you for any opinions or suggestions you might be able to share.

    • The Moving Doctor
      The Moving Doctor
      Posted at 14:58h, 03 May Reply

      Hello Del, thanks for the question and apologies for the delayed reply while I was traveling to see our European team in the UK and Netherlands. As you know but for the benefit of others reading, I put you in touch with John Bonney our sales manager to assist answering your questions as I thought it was easier to chat about the different options and answer the questions.
      For anyone else reading this questions, when shipping furniture you have three main options with UPakWeShip.
      1/ load a 20 foot shipping container at your residence and unload at your destination. The container will be shipped to the nearest port so either Le Havre or Fos sur Mer. Containers arriving direct in the EU country need the correct paperwork for moving so check our resources to see the full list of documents you would need to ship into France direct.
      2/ load a U Units container on the ground at your residence and it gets shipped to our shipping terminal near Charleston SC where we tranship the load into our consolidation 40 foot container that ships via Rotterdam. Its then trucked to France by moving van and delivered to you. Simple documents needed like just a packing list and passport copy.
      3/ Hire a truck and bring your things to us near Charleston where we will help you unload and load it into our consolidation container via Rotterdam with the simple customs clearance as above.
      Each option has pros and cons which John will explain to you about.
      Hope that help and let us know if you need anything else,
      the international moving doctor.

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