Help with International Shipping

 It’s been our experience that shipping agents, used-car salesmen and politicians have one description in common: ‘If they’re breathing, they’re probably concealing something from us.”

Shipping companies are particularly dangerous because once they have your precious, personal belongings in their “care”, they will hold them hostage until you pay all additional, trumped up charges. Everyone at ISR recalls being taken advantage of by a shipping company during one or more of their many international moves. This prompts us to endeavor to keep you safe with our article titled,  Don’t Get Burnt with International Shipping. We strongly recommend you give this article a read if you’re in the process of moving overseas or returning home.

“On my last move oversees the school’s shipper told me I would need to bribe customs $600 to retrieve my shipment due to missing documents. It turned out the documents were just “misplaced” when I produced a receipt proving they had been delivered by UPS to the same man asking for the money. On the return trip home 3 years later, the Stateside company tacked on a $300 sea inspection charge. I imagine that involved looking to see if my sealed crate was still on the boat mid-journey. Thieves!!!”

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing your “big” international school has clout with their shipping company and this will keep you safe. The truth is, your school’s shipping company only contracts with the company that packs and sends your belongings overseas, and receives them on the return trip. Your school’s shipper may treat you right while in country, but they don’t have reciprocal agreements with companies around the world and commonly use a phone directory to choose the company that handles your goods in your city.

“I got an email this morning, from a shipper which said I need to approve the costs before they proceed with packing. The quote had me paying over $1400! My school provides 3.5 cbm which I thought was plenty, but the quote estimated I would need 5.0 cbm. I’m only shipping 2 office chairs & six or seven boxes. All my stuff is in a storage unit that’s less than 3.5 cbm and I’m probably using 20% of the space. What is going on!?”

It’s important to stay pro-active to avoid being ripped off by unscrupulous shippers. Those of us who have navigated the ordeal of shipping our belongings overseas are here to offer advice to teachers new on the circuit. If you have a question, advice or a good anecdotal story about shipping your goods overseas this Blog is the place to post it.

33 Responses to Help with International Shipping

  1. Snoopy says:

    Has anyone shipped their car overseas and packed it with belongings? Just a thought. I was thinking that I have a perfectly great vehicle in Canada, so perhaps I could use the shipping allowance to send the car with everything I need in it. Thoughts?

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  2. Manx, I cannot help at the moment with the first one but will make inquiries with a couple of colleagues, but the second one a friend of mine sent her excess with the airline in this instance Qatar- their cargo and if necessary they will (if possible in your location give or charge a very small fee for the boxes, tape etc and if you can take it to their cargo depot. Charges to pick it up etc are usually expensive even for a small distance and most of them are well aware of the market at this time of the year so do it as soon as you can. If you use the airlines cargo I have found it is so much more reliable and make a list of everything you put in the boxes. If self packed they take no responsibility but you can see if the boxes have been tampered with. Hope this helps!

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  3. Manx in Africa says:

    Couple of questions, if anyone can help, please:

    1. Anyone know of a shipping company that ships from Tanzania (or even Nairobi) to Isle of Man or UK?

    2. Has anyone successfully taken excess baggage internationally and then on via a domestic flight? I’m flying to Manchester with Qatar, but then need to go over to IoM with Flybe and had a bad experience on the way out 5 years ago, resulting in all my luggage staying behind. Don’t want to repeat that again.

    Thank you.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    This is an old post but if you are moving from the Middle East I strongly suggest using Orbit Movers (Dubai). Not only did they give us the best price we were never asked for a single dollar more at any point. Very good service. Did have two lamps broken but all things considered it was a wonderful company. (Mrs. Wessel)

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  5. Catherine says:

    The comment about the scales is a good one for luggage and other items that a scale can connect to. I bought mine from Emirates at a very reasonable cost of Dirhams120 and they are deadly accurate
    Some schools are very quick to deduct amounts off final payments but after you have used your own resources for 2+ years they pay nothing for you to leave. They state that your next school should pay but allmost of them do are make HR excuses or pay like my school did in Kuwait KD30. My goods cost over KD100 to get out and everytime I visited Dubai I took another load back using the maximum option for luggage which on one airline is 40KG. Think very carefully before you take or buy a lot of anything that you will want to remove as schools in my opinion this year are all playing a dangerous game of having the percentage of experienced to inexperienced something like 20/80 and they know that there are hundreds more where the first lot came from so say one word out of place or give advice to the younger ones about what actually is the truth and watch out!!

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  6. Cate says:

    I have shipped items and I have done the excess baggage thing but not at the airport when I took off. Excess baggage seemed to be the easiest to organise and pick up at the other end in my new country, very straight forward and hardly any cost at all, compared with the cost of excess baggage at the time of take off. Would I ship again? Probably as most of what I have has personal signifcance or are teachable resources. I would really appreciate schools offering more advice on this issue as it is a minefield once you are in it.

    Like

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Cate for your comments and suggestions. I would appreciate schools paying for some of Teachers resources as they are only too happy for you to purchase them and save them money.

      As you state the amount one can take on the plane usually only covers your personal clothes etc and then there is the rest to worry about. When you are on your own and perhaps have no car it is very difficult doing it on your own. When I asked these questions before starting at my last school i used to get comments back from the Director stating that someone in HR would explain. Well I am still waiting for them to explain and I have completed my contract and moved on.

      Like

  7. Catherine says:

    In reply to the person who commented on Straffles and stated they had been hired by a Middle East location I think we would all like to know some details of who this is. I am about to sign another contract in the Middle East and it has a moderate relocation amount but these amounts of kilograms are extreme. Are they door to door or door to port because I believe if they are substantial charges will be levied to get them from the port. Are you sure these details are correct? Do you have this written in a signed, dated contract from your new employer that they will pay for this huge amount of goods. The circumstances and appointment firm may vary and private large multi-national companies do this type of transfer for executives so if this is the case that makes it credible or if the complete family are moving.and both husband and wife are involved then this may be correct. Could you please clarify the situation.

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  8. Catherine says:

    Jean,

    So pleased to hear that there are some employers out there who help with re-location. In five years of working in the Middle East I have asked each and every employer even ADEC(Provider) and the answer was always the same. No. This year I have asked the recruiter (one of the big ones) emphatic answer No they do not. Only help offered in my last contract was 30KD paid after arrival and at department. Check out the rates that airlines charge for even 10kg and one will see how far this goes. Same story things are cheap here so leave them behind (where) and buy again. Good quality here is expensive and the cheap goods electrical rubbish that will not work after 6months. So you are very lucky to have had employers who understand family or no family that settling in with your own goods makes such a difference. Thanks for giving some of us hope. Cheers

    Like

  9. Jean says:

    Moved from China to NZ in July ’12. No problems. AGS came to our apartment in China, quoted, packed on time, goods arrived in NZ in 6 weeks as promised. The only problem we had was the NZ company charged an extra $300 for delivery as we had a steep driveway (had informed of this before the quote) and we had to pay for some wooden items to be fumigated, but that is standard for NZ. Delivered to our home and unpacked. We moved from NZ to Oman by air excess freight and Oman to Zambia by container and Zambia to China by container- all no problems…. we had 2 children so moved with our possessions so our houses were homes. Now back in NZ and have to try and fit it all into a smaller house. In all cases the schools covered nearly the whole cost…choose a school with good moving allowances, in and out. Many schools give you an extra allowance for each year you are employed as they realise people buy ‘stuff’

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  10. Catherine says:

    Gypsie,
    Fabulous Information and I love the suggestion that this topic gets more exposure on the ISR. As most of our colleagues are on holidays many may be enjoying time with their family and not reading ISR. Then again they may be reading every line of reviews for schools that have offered them a position. To do this and support this wonderful organisation I encourage all Teachers to sign up membership and to post accurate and informative information. ISR please take this topic to our readership and lets put some pressure on these International Schools to help the teachers they employ with this costly situation.
    Regards

    Like

  11. Gypsie says:

    I have had 7 international moves and it seems the last few moves have been most problematic, both with the time taken and items disappearing. Once the companies have your money they don’t care. I have been advised after losing items, both leaving and coming into Indonesia, to go with the large companies. But how can international teachers do this? The allowance rarely covers the first cubic metre. Schools need to become more realistic in their assistance. In any other profession, relocation costs include full crates, storage in home countries and a spending allowance for when they arrive. Why is this not so for teachers?

    Like

  12. Catherine says:

    Keep your wonderful stories and experiences coming. I am learning something from everyone. The main problem is my former school gave us no help at the beginning nor at the end. They have this philosopy that they are doing you a favour by employing you and providing poor quality and dirty accommodation. Many of the staff had lots of sick leave in the weeks prior to the school year finishing and of course they were sick!! Funny that they can get out of the country in near record time even when they are not returning. Having family or a partner helps but I am single and doing it all myself. Being Ramadan is not a good time to seek packers so I will take the advice of several of the writers and take some and leave some here and return as soon as I can for the balance. All suggestions are very welcome and thanks so much. ISR please give this topic a run because in five years I have only had 1 employer and that was from my home town who supplied money for fares and computers etc in a very reasonable timeframe. The rest offered nothing by way of money, advice or interest.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Lots of moves over the years and it’s been good and bad. Zambia to China, door to door paid up front. Once in port, a big bill to bring it to Beijing. Contact with the company in Zambia was a joke but everything arrived and in good condition.
    Beijing to US. King’s Movers. Excellent on both ends.
    US to Penang. No furniture so took all as excess baggage. No problems.
    Penang to Germany, no problems. However the school in Germany was happy to pay for us to come with furniture etc. but when ready to leave it was a different story. If going home of record, all paid for but to a new post you got robbed of benefits. They contacted the new school and deducted that shipping allowance from theirs.
    Germany to Lima remains to be seen though already the port charges in Lima are double of the agreed costs. From Germany the company was good but required a 20ft. container which was only about 1/2 full when the loading was finished. Could have packed it better myself.
    Next move will take only personal essentials and teaching materials. Probably excess baggage.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    I no longer ship. I only do the maximum excess baggage. I have moved the family this way even with the decreased baggage rules. I purchase duffles, maximum size. We moved to China with 16 of them. They store under the bed.

    My artwork is large textiles that come off the stretchers and are re-stretched at the new location. It helps with settling in to have those big bare white walls covered with old favorites as soon as possible.

    Schools have become less willing to help and allowances have not kept up with costs. In the old days shipping allowances included containers and door-to-door and it was easy. At least with excess baggage, I have my stuff and I know the REAL costs upfront. Consider negotiating your settling allowance/relocation/shipping to be excess baggage. I do not put in teacher materials. I consider those to be job-related and the school needs to pay for those. This is part of our negotiations. Scanning has been a big help. There also is the little-known, unbelievably slow (6 months) but cheap and reliable M bag from the US Post Office. Its for printed material only.

    I do know that after I move, I’m still mentally assessing my new purchases for weight for about 6 months, as in “do I really want this, its 2 kilos” However our “essentials” are pared down and I’ve upped the quality of the things I really, really want. Less is more (and greener!)

    Be aware of the Hotel-California syndrome, ie “you can never leave” Schools are notorious for helping you arrive but aren’t interested in helping you leave. I’ve had wonderful help from parents who have overseen my goods as airline or shipping executives; who have included my belongings in their shipment, and who have even carried extra bags.

    Best of luck.

    Like

  15. DirkGently says:

    I have shipped, both be sea and air.

    General Advice:

    Contact your school and ask them if you can email someone who will tell what is and is not available/cheap in your destination country. That way you can assess what you really need to bring and what you can buy when you get there.

    Have to hand a detailed list of everything you pack. If you ship by freight, you will need it for the Bill of Lading. If you are taking everything as accompanied baggage, you may need it if you are asked by customs.

    Familiarise yourself with customs rules in your destination country. Avoid sending anything that may mean high levels of duty.

    Get advice from any expats living in your destination country (the school should be able to help with this) as to what is best. In some countries, boxes ‘disappear’ if they are shipped as freight, also, customs in some counties may be given to charging a ‘release fee’ (in cash with no receipt – if you catch my drift) for freighted items. In that case accompanied baggage is the best way forward.

    If you send anything by freight, get insurance.

    If you are buying a lot of stuff to move out with, buy it from a supplier who can provide you with the VAT refund forms, that way you can get some of the VAT back at the airport (allow time for this and you will have to have the items with you when you claim). If you spend £800 on a good laptop, you should get around £100 back.

    By Land/Sea Freight:

    You are usually billed by volume. My advice is to get a crate made up if you can, otherwise have it put on a pallet. The crate does two things: it makes sure that boxes are not ‘lost’ and also prevents disputes about volume.

    When shipping, pack everything in boxes etc.. yourself (if you have a crate made, you can pack that yourself). Some firms usually charge extortionate amounts for packing and often load everything that it takes up more space than it needs to and then charge you extra. I have friends who have had this issue – one of my friends went to the yard and showed them how to pack the pallet more efficiently herself.

    Get everything sent off early, so that it arrives a few days after you do (unless the school is taking the delivery and can store it, in which case plan to have it arrive a few days before you do).

    By Air:

    Do a quick search on excess baggage costs for airlines that fly to your desired destination – sometimes it can be better to book your flights with a more expensive airline, and not get it all paid for by your employer, if it means you don’t have to pay as much extra for your baggage if you plan on taking a lot with you (if you have a family, this will be especially useful). Some airlines can be so reasonable that it ends up costing less than air freight, anyway. If that is the case, then contact the airline in advance (email is best) and make sure that they are okay with the amount you wish to take (if they do not have a facility to book and pay for it online). If you cannot book the excess luggage in advance, at least get a note about the amount you wish to travel with put on your booking remarks (if you are not sure what that means, don’t worry: the customer service dept at the airline will know what it means).

    When packing, either for air freight or accompanied baggage, use laundry bags (they weigh next to nothing) for clothes. Do a few calculations on non-sentimental items (eg a 1kg suit may cost £10/kg, but would cost £50 to buy – pack it, but a 5kg dining set may only cost £30 to buy, so don’y bother with it). Take things out of boxes if they do not need to be protected and take all the tags off anything new – it is surprising how that sort of thing all adds up.

    Find out what you can carry as additional hand luggage. On one airline, I found out that I was allowed my hand luggage bag, a coat, a laptop bag, a duty free carrier bag, an umbrella, and loads of other odds and ends. Saved myself nearly £50 in excess luggage, as I had a long leather coat!

    At the airport, get all your bags wrapped in shrink wrap and then mark them with a black permanent pen (so that you can identify it at the other end). Stickers come off, sometimes!

    If you get any nonsense at check-in, just show them the email you received saying that the airline was aware of your luggage needs. They will usually take your luggage with any problems.

    I hope this all helps!

    Like

  16. Anonymous says:

    I’ve moved countries a dozen times or more, and have had varying experiences in each.

    On a negative note:

    I also once shipped with Excess Baggage Co. (out of London). I waited and waited for the shipment to arrive on the due day, but nothing. So, I rang. Turned out they had left my bag just sitting at the London depot.

    So, I sent a compaint letter to head office (ALWAYS do when things like this happen). Got my bag straight away as well as a part refund (about a third of what I had originally paid) as an apology.

    Also once had a shipment in limbo when a school broke contract. I’d forked out $1000 of my own money to get it all shipped and insured. Not only did the school refuse to refund me for the shipping but it cost me $2000 to get it returned.

    On a positive note:

    I once shipped more things than the school allowance offered but they paid the excess for me anyway, without my even asking.

    On another occassion, I shipped less than the shipping allowance the school offered so they gave me the extra money in cash.

    I also had a shipment stuck in a warehouse once because I had supposedly ‘insured it for too much’ so the customs officers were going through it all to see why (yeah, I was upset). I got in touch with the warehouse manager, explained how broke I was and how desperately I needed my stuff for my new job . . . and he took care of everything for me.

    Yes, he asked for a bribe but I just reminded him of ‘how broke I was’ and he just left it at that.🙂

    Like

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well I have worked in six international schools and have never had a problem (Just the one I mention at the end). Just the usual I want to move too much. My advice is to take abroad only the old stff that will wear out during the contract and throw as you go. When returing get all the leaving teachers and anybody else to have a sale. One of my schools let us use the Gym for this. This gets rid of a lot of stuff but you need to do it a month before you pack!
    Make sure your contract says that your school will transport goods door to door. When going on my last contract the school paid everything, the return was different without telling me they only paid to the port in my home country. leaving me wth a $1500 bill.

    Like

  18. At it for awhile says:

    This is an update to my original post from a few years ago (though it shows as 24 July 2012… thanks ISR for reposting, but would’ve liked a heads up on that?)…

    Anyway, a few more nuggets of wisdom gained through hard living. I’m now traveling with my wife, which means a LOT more stuff! We’ve started using shipping companies because 1.) it’s impractical/impossible to bring everything on the plane 2.) like Catherine we’re tired of repurchasing everything every year and 3.) airlines have much stricter policies on check luggage than they did when I wrote the original post.

    Our experience with moving companies has been a mixed bag.

    The biggest positive: The company comes to your home, packs and wraps everything for you, and (ideally) you don’t need to think about it again until they’ve finished unpacking it in your new home.

    The biggest negative: money. However, when you factor in the cost of repurchasing household goods in a new country (if you can even find them) and the peace of mind that comes with paying someone to do all the moving for you… I think it works itself out. It’s a good option for two (or more?) people. I wouldn’t recommend the container option for any singles if you must pay out of pocket for relocation.

    We’ve learned some valuable lessons these last few years.

    Lesson 1: A company can be brilliant in one city, and idiotic in another. We used AGS Four Winds to move out of Beijing. The local manager was one the phone with me every day. The company inspected our apartment, calculated a fair estimate, and stuck to it. A crackerjack team of packers arrived right on time and their supervisor spoke perfect English. However, when our crate arrived in KL, everything went wrong. We were given a million reasons that they could not get our shipment to us. Delay after delay after delay. The manager avoided us at every turn. A total nightmare!

    Lesson 2: Maintain your relationships. Despite a horrible experience with AGS, we found ourselves using them again. We were forced to pull a “Christmas runner” (horrible story) and our stuff, like Barbara’s, was stuck in limbo in our apartment. AGS was the only company willing to essentially “rob” the apartment for us. As you might expect, they took their sweet time on the delivery… it arrived months after the projected date. They were also quite happy to charge us liberally for the service.

    Lesson 3: Cut out the middleman. AGS told us that they’d charge an extra $700 our renegade crate to be delivered from the port to our current home. We were going to just pick the damn thing up at the port, but thought to call their partner company, Carson Removals, who’d be receiving the crate. They did if for about half the price.

    Lesson 4: Shop around. SO important! We considered Carson for our next move, but saved $400 by going with another company. It took about an hour or two for me to search available movers and call or email each one. Worth it.

    Lesson 5: Ask the important questions. Does the quote include door to door service? Does it include clearance costs? Duties? Bribes? What is provided by the company’s insurance vs. the insurance they want you to purchase? Will they adjust the price if your actual volume is less than projected? With which agencies are they certified? Can they provide references? Can they put all this in writing?

    This is not a finite list, and I’m sure we still have many hard and unfortunate lessons to learn. I’m surprised that there’s not yet a forum for int’l mover reviews — if I’m missing something, could you please post a link? Surely that could help bring some accountability to the field, in the same way ISR has put many a shabby school on report.

    We’re moving this week for a new job in Europe. The house is currently a wreck and right now I should be sorting and packing instead of typing. If all goes well, I’ll have some nice things to say on this forum about NZ VanLines.

    Like

  19. Catherine Blackmore says:

    Thank you International Schools Review. As I read each of the comments above I was surprised at the one from Straffles who has been given an allowance to ship by air and sea and of course appalled by the others who have been left to do it all on their own without any advice from their new employer. I am at present in Kuwait and being Ramadan I am not getting very far trying to get responses from companies. I have too many personal goods to put on the plane with me and all schools that have interviewed me have responded much the same. We do not help with shipping etc. Buy it here. Well I have bought it 5 times since I arrived in the Middle East 5 years ago and given it away but I am sick of doing this. Does anyone have contacts in Kuwait that have proved reliable and honest. Now I can hear you laughing !! Well if you know anyone I would appreciate a name and number as I have to leave by Monday 30/7/2012. I should not even be in this apartment but as I still do not have confirmation about my new position I can only relocate to a friends house in Dubai and wait. It is about time that new schools gave employees names of reliable firms in the country that they want you to work in. They will not get involved unless there is money in it for them and they will not pay. Stay away from some of these schools because they could not care less about you even when you are on the staff. They promise lots of things at interview and job acceptance time but deliver next to nothing once you are in the country at your own expense. The worst schools need to exposed as many new teachers are just bait waiting to be taken for a ride. As one of the comments states do be careful and DO NOT GIVE CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD DETAILS TO ANYONE.

    Like

    • JMS says:

      Catherine, I wish I could remember which company I used when I left Kuwait years ago because they were awesome. What I do remember is that they had an Arabic name (Al-Rashed maybe??) and were WAY less expensive than all of the others. When I asked why, they said it was because they are the “wholesalers” so to speak. They own the ships that the other companies use so they can afford to give it to the customer for the “best price”. It was the first time I had shipped anything (up until then I took it all as excess baggage) and in the end was very glad I did. They did an expert job of packing and everything arrived in Korea in less than three months (good for sea freight) with nothing broken (I had a lot of dishes and pictures framed in glass). I have continued to ship my belongings to every country I have lived in since with varying degrees of success, but I am always glad I did. I just make it very clear on the shipping end that I want to pay for it all up front, door-to-door, and want no charges on the other end. Yes, it is expensive and no, the allowance from the school never really covers it, but I do not have a house in the States and it is worth it to take my home with me wherever I go.

      Like

  20. Nancy says:

    There are moving companies that are rated with the GoodHousekeeping Seal of Approval, and by Consumer Reports check them. One older company that does world wide moving, has agents overseas, and has been rated very well for decades by the above is Wheaton World Wide moving. Love the idea above about the bike box and the airlines. Using a credit card like American Express can also bring extra insurance with it, check what your credit card offers for travelers if you purchase your tickets through them.

    Like

  21. Just shipped says:

    I wish this topic had been discussed earlier! Just sent out my shipment today with a relocation company. My new international school will not cover excess baggage, only a shipment. I’m going to cross my fingers that my things will turn up with no problems and a customs bill that isn’t too high! I would love to hear more personal experiences with using a shipping company so I know more in the future.

    Like

  22. straffles says:

    I’ve got a job at a school in the Middle East that allows 700kg shipping, 220kg by air, 480kg by sea, and the moving company they hired is one of the best in Asia (and took 2 hours to pack all our stuff up for us). Hasn’t cost us anything so far, but I’ll check back in and let you know when we and our shipping arrive.

    Like

  23. weedonald says:

    Anyone here know the cheapest and safest way to get things shipped back from Mexico?

    Like

  24. Up front with it says:

    I’ve had the best luck just taking my stuff with me on the plane. I get a bike box and stuff it full of quilts and pillows and towels and clothes and off it goes. I made three moves with a 20ft container provided by the school. It always ended up costing me a good bit out of pocket. The insurance companies are crooks and even the packer steal from you. Take my advice and just take it with you on the plane.

    Like

  25. Penelope says:

    I don’t know how to get things out of Limbo but I do know I will never EVER again be using Excess Baggage Company, apparently based out of London. After weeks and weeks of advance research and estimate gathering, they were very strange at the absolute last minute, being very rude, changing terms, insisting my boxes weighed more than they did, trying to bully me into sending more money and then finally, just taking what they wanted out of my debit card.

    After it had left but before it had been delivered, they claimed that the shipment weighed more than it did. I had my father go the DHL offices, weigh the packages in front of a manager and in essence, vouch for their weight, which was exactly as I had weighed them before they left. My father was able to reclaim them there but Excess Baggage sent a bullying email demanding that I ‘authorize’ more money. I got the feeling this was a routine maneuver by the way it was worded.

    Having all the correspondence via email helped, but I was taking it to my bank in the last 24 hours I had in town before leaving and it was very stressful. I was very lucky that the bank was big enough to muscle back the money and receptive enough to care. I can definitely see how it could have been far worse. Moral of the story: DON’T use Excess Baggage Company OR give your debit card info to any movers. Weigh everything, with witnesses and signatures at both ends.

    Barbara, I hope you’ve found a way to get your things back, good luck!

    Like

  26. Mr. C says:

    The best methods I’ve learned (all the hard way)

    1. If you can help it, don’t ship anything.

    2. Call the airline, find out how many items you can check, what weight they can be, and if they allow you to pay extra for additional weight.

    3. Be sure to ask if your items will check through to the partner airline (if applicable).

    4. Buy several Rubbermaid-style crates. The best choice are those with handles and locking tops. Don’t get the ones with wheels; the wheels break. Also buy a bathroom scale.

    5. Fill the crates with your gear. Start with essentials: toiletries not available in host country, spices, teacher supplies (many host countries don’t have teacher supply stores like in the US). I usually include some art from home, because you need some reminder of home in your strange new country.

    6. Don’t pack any recreational reading, unless it’s something you have yet to read or fully intend to reread. Books are killer weight.

    7. Weigh the crate. Realize it’s overweight. Reassess and repack. Repeat as necessary.

    8. Don’t forget to pack that bathroom scale. You need to do this all over again in 2 years!

    9. At the airport, get one of those baggage carts and check yourself through. You’re golden!

    The only exception to rule #1 is if you know somebody in the import/export business. Even then, things can get sticky in customs, but it could save some serious cash.

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  27. lisa says:

    Try to bring things excess baggage if you can.
    Ask lots of questions. Each country is different.
    Shipping between countries is the worst. To or from US, Canada, Australia is easier.
    Expect unexpected costs and expect to have delays.
    Pack everything you will need for the first month of school in your airline luggage.
    If I didn´t have kids I would never ship again!
    My wardrobe always needs to change in the new location, I would throw in a few essential files, grab the best local souvenirss, a few things I know I can´t get like spices, and sell the rest. IPODS, flashdrives and KINDLES have lightened the load a lot!

    Like

  28. barbara phipps says:

    Any ideas on how to get packages back after a school breaches contract while your packages are in limbo. My packages are stuck in a Kitakyushu DHL office and what I sent for $300 will cost $1059 to get back.

    Like

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