Help with International Shipping

July 26, 2010

 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.


Going International with Pets

November 30, 2009

Departing Romania with my big black cat, a customs agent stuck his finger in the cage, gave George Clooney a pat and commented on his huge size. Arriving in Pakistan was just about the same scenario. Were the hours and money I spent to procure George’s travel papers a waste of time? My hunch was that if I didn’t have the correct documents someone would surely have asked to see them.

Traveling with pets is not always so easy.  lf you’re unfortunate enough to be a transit passenger in England and your connecting flight is delayed for some hours, you could find your pet quarantined for up to 6 months.  Also, consider that a long trip in the hold of an airplane could be devastating, if not life threatening for your pet. Lack of food and water and the threat of trauma are dangers to consider. Some international schools won’t hire teachers with four-legged pets while certain cultures view domestic animals quite differently than we do in the West. Your pet may not be welcome.

Going international with pets presents unique situations and problems. ISR invites pet owners to use our Going International with Pets Blog to share information, experiences and anecdotes with other pet owners traveling internationally with their pets.

We thought you may also find useful information in this video.