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Shipping personal effects abroad - advice please!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by saladinlee, May 8, 2011.

  1. I've been successful in gaining an international school appointment abroad. Hurrah! But now there is all the organising to do, boo!

    Have any of you got any advice on the best way to send my stuff out to my new country? I know you can send unaccompanied baggage, or use a removal service, or pay the extra for extra baggage. Which is best? I only need to send a couple of boxes of books, some kitchen stuff and things to make my new place seem like home (soft furnishings and other such girly things).

    What do you think?

  2. thepinkrachael

    thepinkrachael New commenter

    I brought whatever I could using my normal luggage. The rest I packed into cardboard boxes and used a company called Transglobal Express, they were the cheapest I found and have used them 3 times now to send extra bits and pieces and have always been easy to use, arrived on time, easy to track etc.
  3. rednelly84

    rednelly84 Occasional commenter

    My school paid for 20kgs of unaccompanied baggage and used DSV Sea and Air. No problems with them at all. For what it's worth, depending on where you are headed, I wouldn't pack kitchen stuff.
  4. I would only pack essentials. Most posts overseas are not too distant from shops where you can get essentials.
  5. def depends on where you are headed - i'm getting scary quotes for Korea area (island) but shipped 4 trunks and 6 cases to HK for 350quid!!!
  6. also - with HK, I waited until later on in the day - it takes around 6 weeks to get there so waited until 7 weeks before then called shipping firms. They are more desperate to fill containers by the week before sailings so you can do far better bargaining with them!!!
  7. ceviche

    ceviche New commenter

    I'm being given a baggage allowance of £750 and have been told to air freight it to the same airport I'll be going to. I contacted the cargo arm of the airline and they said they no longer take freight from private individuals for security reasons. They gave me the contact details of a company which I'll investigate this week.
    But I'm a frugal sort of person and don't have much stuff, so wonder if it's better to just turn up at the airport and pay the excess fees. I recall them being outrageously expensive (like £15 per kg) but that means I could take about 50kg extra, which is probably enough for me. I'm also concerned about customs charges and other bureaucracy at my destination (in Africa) which I imagine could be an issue if using a freight company.
    Any advice would be welcome!
  8. happygreenfrog

    happygreenfrog Occasional commenter

    To OP, I'd try and avoid taking too much, though depends on how long you'd like to stay in that location and whether you are leaving a home behind. I spent that first month salary on essentials and the place soon took on a homely feel. One tends to accumulate anyhow and I return home (i have an apartment in the UK) each summer with plenty of junk and presents from your experiences, that will make you wonder why you wasted a couple of hundred shipping out your personals.
  9. Travel light. Clothes only. Computer, yes, but all else leave at home. Photos will be on the computer I presume - get them copied.
    If you intend to make a bit of a home from home in your new place, buy the stuff there; maybe second hand later when staff leave. You can always sell stuff on when you go.
    ipod and ipad, you should take, but iron, buy there...

  10. Thanks all. Very helpful.

    FP - iron - what's one of those?!

  11. No idea. The wife has one, though....
  12. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, the laptop is essential kit for any international teacher. Before you leave your present job, I would scan everything and anything that might be of some use and store it all onto your laptop. No one worries about copyright nonsense, except fussy people in the UK. Get an external hard drive (or is it a harddrive?) as well and make a copy of everything, just in case. Some schools may have heaps of lovely teaching resources, but some don't, so be prepared for the worst!
    As for your new school, I would politely ask for an inventory or at least some sort of list of the bits and pieces that will be in your apartment. Bear in mind that the more stuff you bring out with you from the UK, the more you will have to take away with you when you leave (which may be sooner than you think!)
    Air freight is in some ways a relatively painless way of doing things, but do not forget that this will mean a trip to the airport's freight department to collect it all at the other end. It is unlikely to be waiting for you when you get off the plane, so a separate trip will be needed. If you have no car, and you probably won't have when you arrive, then this can be a frustrating and expensive business. Some schools may lend you a minibus and someone to drive it, but in my experience the whole thing of collecting air freight can take a lot longer than one would imagine.
  13. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    Sevenseas were good for us from the UK to China - the next one we used (a school appointed one) broke one of our most sentimental items, although I suspect the local packing agents. Make sure you are fully insured - all of our moves have resulted in damaged items. Make sure you have a door to door service if available, because otherwise import taxes can add quite a chunk to the overall cost.
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    It was a few years ago now, but I simply must relate my experiences of air freighting to Egypt. The school kindly gave me a driver and a car to go to the freight depot in Cairo. The bad news was that I had to wait for five hours in a dirty, dingy and hot freight depot. All of our carefully packed cases and boxes were broken open and things were taken out, but not put back. I had to put them back myself. Some things were stolen and some were broken. Then I was given a bill by the Egyptian customs officials for nearly a thousand pounds, for storage and clearance! Considering that our freight just consisted of used personal efects and teaching materials, this was outrageous. Other teachers had similar stories. I would never recommend anyone to send any kind of freight to Egypt, as the customs officials were just a bunch of crooks. Not surprisingly, Mrs Hippopotamus was very upset. After five hours of waiting, I was just glad to be back at our apartment. Oh the joys of international education!
  15. And that is why I'm shipping my stuff back to the UK instead of Egypt. I figure we'll have enough guests in the next year that they can bring the bulk of out stuff over as extra luggage (barring a few pieces of oversized furniture).
  16. Hippo - when I started work in Egypt and our shipping arrived, the school warned us......
    In previous years, when the boxes of various staff members were opened and checked, the contents were replaced haphazardly, meaning that people generally found their colleagues' personal items in among their own. The mind boggles.....

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