The Move: Challenges Expatriates Face

Theres is no doubt that the act of moving could be very stressful and cumbersome for expats and their families. Although sponsor companies generally take care of the costs related to the move of their nomad employees, expats still need to invest a lot of time and energy in logistic and administrative related tasks to the transfer.


Choosing the right moving company is imperative to reduce the amount of uncertainty related to the move and to have a trustful enterprise to transfer one’s belongings/home from one place to another. The right moving company should provide expats and their families with clear and adequate information regarding the process, timings, logistics and anything else that could reduce the ambiguity that international families have to face. Expats should always read deeply into their contract when choosing a company and review the possibility of insurance to make sure they are covered in the best possible way. Consumers Advocate has put together an interesting piece of research: that compares an array of different moving companies in the US, highlighting the point of difference of each one of them and helping readers with their analysis.


One important decision expats should take, relates to what to include in the air freight shipment and what to send inside the container (maritime freight). Expats should consider that they will not have most of their belongings up until a certain amount of weeks or months and, in that sense, it is important that the air freight shipment includes not only normal clothes and toiletries, but also things that will help them start a routine and create a home from the moment they arrive to their new destination. For example, if playing tennis is something that an expat and his/her family normally do, maybe they should include tennis gear and equipment on the boxes that will be send by plane and that therefore will arrive quickly. If they like to read maybe including some books is a good idea. In other words, taking anything that could give expat families some sort of normality when arriving to their new environment is worth including in the plane shipment. The rest and, and obviously, the bulk of their belongings and artifacts should be sent via container.


Another important decision and expat must take before moving is when the move will actually take place. On one hand, if it’s early, let’s say one month before boarding the plane, expat families will need to live in a temporary accommodation before family leaving the country, but at the same time they will have more time to spend as a family and to attend farewell parties and events, without having to worry of packing or moving related activities. On the other hand, if they decide to move their things closer to their departure, they will have their home for a longer time, but they will live in a temporary accommodation in the new destination for longer. They will also be potentially more stressed towards the end, without time or right mindset for family gatherings and good bye events. It is a matter of balancing things out and choosing whatever is best for the peace of mind of the entire family.


Moving from one place to the other is not, by any means, an easy task, but frustrations and uncertainty can be reduced if the process is managed smartly, if information and timings are clear from the beginning and if planning is rigorous.

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