Preparing Your Valuables for Shipping

Shipping Personal Effects 

An international move gives you many things to think about and shipping personal effects can feel overwhelming. You need to consider language barriers, navigating cultural differences, perhaps even immigration applications. As experts in international shipping, we can help.

The team at World Cargo has assembled this “how to” list to help you get ready for an important move.

The Right Shipping Partner

On the top of your To Do list will be the need to find the right shipping partner and learn what’s involved in getting your property where you need it to be. Choose an organization that gives you the confidence your belongings are handled how you want them handled. This starts with knowing your goals (shipping your personal effects to a foreign country perhaps 😀) and then choosing a freight forwarding partner that will answer all your questions openly and transparently. You are looking for very clear communication and support.

freight forwarding

Let’s Explore Options for Shipping Personal Effects

Ocean, Air Freight or Ground Transport. Ocean freight is the more popular choice, thanks in large part to its lower cost. Another major advantage of ocean freight is that you can send large personal goods easily—you can even ship a car or motorcycle. It’s primary drawback, however, is that the transit time is longer than by air. Many people find the lower cost makes it worth the long wait. Typically, you can expect the transit times for your personal items to be around 30-50 days for ocean freight. Air freight is normally faster—3-5 days, on average. Transit time also varies depending on the distance of the destination.

You’ll want to note that all shipping times are estimates, since uncontrollable factors (like weather, border delays, or traffic conditions) may come into play. If you choose to work with us, you can feel confident that we will do everything in our power to get your personal goods to you on the estimated date.

You must also consider learning about arrival costs. Check out our bl


Whether you hire packers or do it yourself, pay attention to the details and you will avoid issues with customs and reduce risks. Pack the boxes securely to ensure the contents are well insulated. We do everything we can to strap and secure cargo, but rough seas and air turbulence are the unknowables we cannot control. As an extra layer of protection pay attention to:

  • Keep important travel documents with you. 
  • Packing lists must be clear, accurate descriptions. 
  • Don’t use abbreviations on the lists. 
  • Ensure that lists are complete and include descriptions of the contents. 
  • Use boxes meant for packing. Recycled boxes can cause issues due to potential soil or pest contamination 
  • Leave the solvents, paints, cleaners, compressed sprays out
  • Look into insuring the shipment
  • Be meticulous in your packing to protect your belongings. 
  • Be certain to provide the appropriate documentation, including shipping labels with forwarding and return addresses.

What to Think about on Arrival

While we do cover this in some detail in The Hidden Costs of Shipping blog….here is a brief overview of what you need to be aware of on arrival. As with anything, being prepared is a vital first step, especially when shipping personal effects. Different countries have different hoops to jump through, so make sure you get busy on google discovering the peculiarities of your destination. You’ll need to inquire about:

  • Duties and tariffs
  • Inspection fees
  • Documentation processing costs
  • Sales taxes
  • Bond costs
  • Charges assessed by a customs broker
  • Storage fees
  • Customs exam
  • Port fees
  • Insurance

For additional questions about shipping household items or help setting up a shipment, contact World Cargo. Find out how we can make the process of shipping goods via air or ocean easier, safer and cheaper. Click here to request a transparent price quote now.