According to the United Nations, there are around 5 million British expats scattered around the globe, with an estimated 343,000 Brits moving abroad in 2018 alone. With Brexit (potentially) right around the corner, even more Brits might be tempted to make the move abroad.

However, moving home is one of the most stressful and costly things you’ll do, and if you’re relocating to a new country this can add thousands to your total moving bill. In fact, it can cost up to £25,000 just to transport your furniture and most prized possessions.

That’s why PACK & SEND has put together a guide to making your big move abroad as stress-free and cheap as possible.

Be prepared for customs charges

Sending belongings abroad can leave you subject to international customs regulations. Each country has its own customs laws and if you’re unprepared you could face unexpected charges or customs delays which can leave you with a very empty property when you arrive.

Check the customs regulations of the place you’re travelling to in advance to make sure you don’t make any errors on the paperwork, mis-label your items, forget documentation or try to send items that may be banned in certain territories.

For example, a family recently had their antique piano held at customs in New Zealand and stripped of its ivory keys, after failing to read the country’s customs regulations on endangered animal products, before migrating.

Familiarising yourself with the relevant customs laws before your big move will save you time and money in the long run and avoid any hold-ups when you arrive.

Protect your valuable items

Moving abroad means shipping your belongings by air, road or sea, so there’s a small chance items may be damaged or lost in transit.

If you’re sending valuable items, it’s worth taking out international shipping cover to protect yourself against any costs you may face as a result of lost or damaged items.

Check with your shipping service to see if they offer any special packaging services, like crates, custom-made boxes and padding or foam, to get your valuable items to your new home in one piece.

Separate the essentials

Packing your life away into boxes is not an easy task and you’ll likely find the first thing you need in your new home is at the bottom of a mislabelled box.

Save on stress by making an ‘essentials’ box and fill it with the items you’ll need for your first few days in your new home, like your kettle, tableware, toilet roll and bedding. It can take weeks to completely unpack, so keep your must-haves to hand if possible. Oh, and don’t forget plug adaptors!

Call on the community

Moving abroad is the perfect time to go through your old things and decide what is and isn’t worth taking with you. It’ll also cut down on what you’re transporting, meaning reduced shipping costs.

However, getting rid of your unwanted furniture and belongings can be time-consuming, travelling back and forth to the refuse centre.

To make things easier for yourself (and potential buyers), check out online local community pages on Facebook and sites like Gumtree and Shpock, where it’s common for people nearby to freecycle or sell second-hand items for a discounted price.

You may also find the perfect piece for your new home and it’ll usually only be a short pick-up away.

Other considerations

You’ll need to move your finances abroad and this can take a while to go through the acceptance and transfer process. Speak to your bank to see if it’s possible to open an account in your new country – in most countries, this will be quick and simple.

It’s also worthwhile converting an amount of cash into your new local currency for any small payments when you need to make when you arrive while you’re still finding your feet.

If you’re only moving temporarily and renting a furnished place, consider renting storage space domestically for your furniture and larger belongings. It’ll save you time and money on buying new when you return.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to buy in your new location but haven’t yet found the perfect place, it may be cheaper to ship and store your items close by until you’ve secured a permanent property.