Choosing a Shipping Company: The Complete Guide

International Moving Advice

ocean cargo freight

Relocating can be a truly harrowing experience from the very beginning. The first thing you can do is find a reliable moving and cargo shipping company that can take care of a lot of your worries (inevitably, there are some things that no moving company can alleviate).

You will be better off taking the time to carefully choose the right shipping company – after all, it is a very long process and they’ll be shipping some of your most valuable possessions.

Of course, if your employer is relocating you for business purposes, most aspects pertaining to your move will be taken care of by the company, though some companies let their employees handle the relocation on their own, while just providing some budgetary ceiling and guidelines.

Like with most things today, there are tons of choice available to you, which can in fact make the decision all the more difficult. However, there are some key factors that should be considered in evaluating the moving company, which this article covers,

To skip ahead to later sections including our tips for choosing an overseas shipping company and the important questions you should ask, click on the respective sections below.

-Our Top Tips

-Important Questions Should Ask

If you were to view it simplistically, the very broad aspects that dictate the ultimate choice will be:

  • Destination: Where are you relocating to and from where? Does the moving company provide services in those areas?
  • Goods being shipped: What kind of goods will you be shipping? Are you looking to ship your car or will it include only household items such as furniture and consumer electronics?
  • Urgency: How quickly do you want the goods to be shipped?
  • Budget: One of the most important considerations when it comes to relocation.
  • Level of Service: Does the moving company provide a complete end-to-end service?

Shipping costs

It is very important to remember that lowest shipping rates may not always be the best shipping rates. Read the fine print, because choosing a moving company that is offering exceptionally low rates may be providing lower service levels or accepting much lower responsibility in case something were to go wrong.

For example, a relocation company with no provision for workers’ compensation insurance may charge you lower prices, but consider the liability you may incur if their uninsured worker is hurt while handling your luggage on your premises. It would, therefore, be better to pay slightly higher price rather than taking the risk.

The cost of shipping a consignment is determined by a representative of the moving company who surveys the entire list of goods. Pricing is generally based on the volume, weight, the distance of the destination and the type of move (by air, sea or road).

It must, however, be noted that it is an international air cargo convention to charge for weight or volume, whichever is greater. When moving effects by air, airline companies have devised formula to convert volume into weight to ensure that they earn a fair amount of freight charges for very light items, such as bags of light weight feathers which occupy lots of space.

Therefore, knowing factors such as the weight and volume are quite important in determining whether you should ship your cargo by air, sea or road in relation to cost.

Warehouse Facility

Ask if the company has good temporary storage or warehouse facilities in case you don’t have immediate arrangements to offload and ship them to your new premises, particularly in the event that you reach your destination later than your goods.

In some cases, when relocating to a new country, you may have to warehouse your cargo until you have found a suitable accommodation. Most companies have a stated time period in which no storage fees will accrue so make sure to ask your shipping company in advance.

Knowing the Jargon used by Shipping Companies

If you are thinking of moving, it would help to know some of the jargon used by the shipping companies.

While you are not expected to be an expert in the shipping of household goods, or vehicles, it will help to be familiar with (or at least aware of) some of the terms such as Accessorial Charges, Bill of Lading, Binding Estimate, Booker, Bulky Article, Carrier, Carrier Liability, Cash on Delivery (COD), Cartons, Consignee, Consignor, Containerization, Delivery Date, Demurrage, Inventory (INV), Storage-In-Transit, Tariff, containers, shipping container lengths, FTL/HTL and so on.

In all likelihood, a good international moving company will ensure that you are not bombarded with too much information and at the least clearly communicate what everything means. Afterall, your main priority would be to get settled in the new location and leave the relocation worries to the shipping company you’ve chosen.

10 Tips for Selecting an Overseas Moving Company

We’ve all heard of horror stories of friends not receiving their belongings on time and ships delivering too early or too late. With everything considered, you need to make an educated decision so we’ve made also made this list. Here are some tips for you when choosing a cargo shipping company to move your goods overseas.

Tip # 1: Registration and Licensing

An important factor is to make sure your overseas shipping company is fully compliant within the moving industry. The best way to find this out is to simply ask about their registration and licensing. A shipping company that is professional and reputable will be able to provide their NVOCC number with the Department of Maritime commission.

If it is a domestic shipping company functioning within the United States, the company must be registered with the states in which it delivers. Also, when choosing your moving company, make sure that there is a physical business address even if it seems rather obvious.

Check whether the mover is duly licensed or authorized by the Federal Department of Transportation, Public Utilities Commission, the Better Business Bureau or Bureau of Consumer Affairs’ equivalent departments.

Professional shipping companies are usually enrolled as members of state registered movers associations such as the American Moving & Storage Association.

They are usually associated with FIDI or RIM, which are some of the reputable associations that quality movers want to be affiliated with and tend to have a very good level of customer service.

Tip # 2:  Cargo Loading Services

There are a lot of different cargo loading services that each company offers. When choosing the best company to move your items, ask about the loading services offered. Slideshare.com offers many documents about cargo moving and lists three main types of loading services.

The first is known as warehouse loading. With this option the shipping company will pack and load your items into a container after you have packed them yourself and deliver them to the mover’s warehouse.

The second type of loading service is a live load. A container is dropped at your home or business address and you have a specific period of time, usually a few hours for a live load to pack all your belongings yourself before the container is sealed and returned to the port for loading on the vessel for sailing. This service is time bound and you aren’t usually given much time to pack.

The last loading option is a “drop and pull service” which can be more expensive but less stressful. The container is dropped off at your home and you are given a few days to load and pack your items. The shipping company of choice will come and pick up your container at a later date which you agree upon when booking.

Tip # 3: Variety of Container Size and Capacity

Depending on what you really want to ship and what you can leave behind will determine what size container will be needed for your mover. Most moving companies offer the usual container sizes of a 20ft or a 40ft shipping container.

Household goods and vehicles are usually shipped this way. If you have items that are perishable you may need a temperature controlled container. These are known as ‘reefers‘ in the industry.

For items such as rare or expensive paintings, rare furniture or antique pictures that may be affected by heat, you can invest in a reefer container which is refrigerated and will keep everything in perfect condition. But most personal effects moves, can be facilitated by using standard containers.

Tip # 4:  Cargo Tracking Tools

With technological advances, cargo tracking tools are available to customers readily. Whether you’re given an online code to see where your ship is in transit or you receive emails updating you on your item’s travels, you’ll want to ask about this tracking option.

Some cargo shipping companies may charge an additional fee for this service while others include it in the overall price. Ask lots of questions about the company’s form of tracking.

Tip # 5: The Overall Price

As touched upon earlier, some cargo shipping companies may offer one price for ocean freight and then list additional charges thereafter and this may seem that additional fees are being added on.

Always compare the overall price of the items shipped and ask about fees such as fuel, insurance, tracking etc. Hidden fees should be made available to you and you can ask for a breakdown of the overall price before you choose to use a company’s services.

Tip # 6:  Industrial Standards

There are industrial standards to be met when shipping items overseas. You want to make sure that your company adheres to laws and regulations stated by the government in which you are having your goods received.

It’s important that the freight forwarder you choose to pack, wrap and ship, has a network of professional agents around the globe who can handle the container when it arrives at its final destination.

They will be the ones who will unpack and deliver your goods to you new home. That’s a very important part of the process.

NOTE: We recommend that you ask for the shipping company’s overseas agents information, that way you can do your own research or contact them directly.

Tip # 7:  Safety Records

Your cargo will go with one of the major steamship lines, and for the most part, they are all long standing companies within the industry and have reliable vessels and operating procedures.

Ask your international moving company who they will use for shipping your goods. Have any of their ships encountered safety issues? You can go to a company’s website and see their safety certifications and others quite easily.

Tip # 8: Insurance

Although most shipping companies offer insurance on your goods from the beginning to the end of the voyage, it’s vital to ask this question. If something was to go wrong with the ship, you need to know that your items are covered.

Usually the main shipping companies cover the minimum insurance of $0.60 per pound. If you would like more insurance on your goods you can purchase supplemental insurance.

You can look around for the best insurance rates for your items and compare the companies. Your shipping cargo company may also suggest an insurance company it partners with or be able to offer you rates themselves.

Tip # 9: Holding Facilities Provided

We touched on this earlier but what if your goods arrive earlier than planned or later? Where will they end up and what is the charge? Asking this question can save you a lot of money and hassle.

It’s important to know that if your container arrives at the location earlier if you will have to pay for it to be held or if it’s worked into the overall price of the service. If there is a chance you may be late picking up your items also ask what the fee is and where you will pick them up at. If your items need to be refrigerated, ask if the holding facilities are capable to facilitate this. If your goods are heat susceptible ask about air conditioning and such.

Tip # 10:  Discounts

Last but not least, look for discounts when comparing cargo shipping companies. There are always promotions going on and sometimes it only takes asking for a deal to get one. Cargo shipping is a business and there’s always room for some negotiation.

If there is a specific company you would like to go with, ask for a matching deal. Comparing is a great consumer power and you are bound to end up paying less if you simply ask. You may also want to try different dates if you are flexible. Different weeks of travel may be lower in cost.

Key Questions to Ask Your Shipping Company

These questions overlap and go hand in hand with the tips above but they’re important nonetheless. If you are planning to work with an international shipping service, your lack of information on the logistics of both scenarios will probably leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed.

When you get to the point where you are ready to commit to using a particular international moving company, you should put together a list of questions to ask—that way you can feel even more confident about the job at hand.

Before you start making calls, use these questions as a potential starting point for your interview process.

Here are the questions you should ask your freight company:

Can the quoted rate change?

Many times a freight company will send a quote that is valid for 30 days. Your move date may be further down the line than that. The company may be unable to provide an exact rate until after the job is complete. It is important that you understand how much “wiggle room” there is in the quote so that you will not be surprised.

Are there any additional fees?

Some freight forwarding companies quotes are broken down into separate cost sections and may have “hidden” fees. Find out the total of any extra moving fees you will pay ahead of time so you can better budget for the whole move.

What form of payment do you accept?

This is especially important if you are working with someone overseas. What currency can you pay in and are there bank or credit card charges payable?

What else can I ship via the freight service I choose?

Some companies will allow you to ship certain items, but not others. Sometimes the requirements are put in place because of laws in the country of destination. It is important you understand what you can and cannot ship, so learn about the customs of the destination country.

Who will be handling your freight?

Will the moving service provider you contract handle the shipment from drop off until destination? It may be that the company works with other companies to handle some of the process. If this is the case, you may want to know this ahead of time.

How long will the shipping process take?

It may not be possible for the company to give you an exact handling and shipping time frame, but it is nice to have a good idea of how long it will take.

This will all depend on the origin port, the destination country and city and the frequency of the shipments to that destination. Discuss this in great detail with your international shipping expert who will advise you so you can prepare for the packing at origin and the unpack at the other end.

Is insurance included?

Will you need to purchase additional insurance to make certain you are protected in the case of damage or loss, or is this already included? If you are shipping anything of value, this is especially important. You should itemize all expensive items and precious belongings so they are listed on the insurance policy separately.

These are just a few of the questions you may want answers to before you sign a contract for your overseas moving service.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact the shipping experts at Schumacher Cargo.

Written by Damien Shields

Schumacher Cargo Ships an Exploratory Submarine

triton-underwater-submarineSo we’ve recently decided to embrace our exploration side and take to the open seas…well…not quite but almost. Here’s an up update on our recent endeavor!

Schumacher Cargo was among several companies contacted by a US based world class underwater exploration company to provide rates to ship two Triton 1000/2 submarines and containers with parts and accessories from Spain back to the USA.

Our very own import specialist Filip Michelet prepared a detailed programme for the logistical move and provided comprehensive quotations for airfreight, ocean freight FCL and ocean freight RORO services. Fortunately for us, Schumacher Cargo was selected as the top company both for pricing and customer service provided.

This was just the beginning, now the real work started. The private chartered vessel from the marine explorers had an engine failure in European waters and was berthed at the Barcelona Port.

We were requested to airfreight one of their highly sensitive Triton 1000/2 submarines as soon as possible back to the USA so it could take part in the next expedition already scheduled. We also organized the 2nd submersible to be loaded onto a MAFI and shipped via RORO service from Barcelona. Roll-on Roll-off is quite common when shipping boats and watercraft overseas.

Additionally we delivered a 40’ high cube container that was loaded full with parts and accessories. This all had to happen at very short notice.

loading-underwater-submarineThanks to the teamwork of Filip and the import department, we were able to organize and complete the arrangements flawlessly and in conjunction with our partners in Spain, AM Cargo.

The first Triton submersible has already cleared US Customs and has been delivered to our client all within the scheduled time frame. It will depart shortly on its next underwater exploration voyage.


This is another example of the various types of complex and challenging shipments that we handle on a regular basis. We hope you enjoyed the voyage and if any out of the ordinary shipments ever come up, you know who to call!

How to Ship a Car Overseas from the USA

car loading in 40ft containerThere have been a lot of quality guides out there explaining the overall process of how to ship a car overseas from the USA.

This article will cover some similar steps as well as a few additional suggestions that we propose based on our own experiences over the past 37 years, as well as client feedback. So without further ado, let’s get started. Below is a quick navigation to each section.

  1. Research
    1. Research shipping companies
    2. Get an idea for basic costs
  2. Request and Compare Quotes
    1. Do you want vehicle shipping insurance?
  3. Determine your priorities…cost vs. time frame
    1. Choose which method is best for you
    2. Select your departure port
  4. Select a shipper and gather the paperwork
  5. Vehicle inspection and condition report
    1. Additional advice

First Step: Do Your Research

So one of the first steps in any purchasing decision is to do the research and when shipping a vehicle overseas, research is a very important step.

When we say do your research, there are a few things that need to be considered and we’ll explain how they should be done.

Company Research

The first things that you want to do is gather a list of international car transporters and shipping companies that you’re considering using.

Search in Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. but also use sites like BBB.org, fmc.gov, review sites, as well as forums. Don’t forget to use friends or friends of friends for references either.

Look at each company’s credentials and certifications. See whether or not the company is licensed, insured and bonded. If a company is all of the above they won’t hide it.

The licenses will vary also by the type of company you deal with. For example, freight forwarders will have FMC licensing and some may also have a special license if they operate as an NVOCC.

All domestic transporters are required to have their DOT license and if the international shipping company has an in house domestic pickup department, ask for their DOT information.

Additionally, make sure to ask each and every company, no matter how trivial it may seem, whether they are fully insured and licensed and whether they use licensed and insured carriers/third party services.

Go a step further and ask for those companies names and conduct some research on them as well.

Tip: Do this before you go out and request a quote from tons of websites. Anyone working from a computer can email you a price that looks great but it could be from an unlicensed company, for an uninsured transporter or a broker that never actually handles your car.

Cost Research

If you’re wondering how to research the cost of shipping a vehicle overseas without requesting a quote, you can check the actual websites for rates. Although, not all freight forwarders or transporters will disclose rate information online.

It’s important to note that the rates on their websites are usually for the ideal shipment (smallest size vehicle, to a popular destination, at their best rate). Also,

rates can change quite frequently with the rise of fuel costs and other surcharges so online prices may not be 100% up to date.

Another way to research shipping costs is by visiting a few forums and seeing what others paid to ship their cars overseas. The price that you’ll find will vary based on vehicle type, the company used, the shipping method used and their departure location. Make sure to look at the date of the response as some of the forums may contain responses from 5 or even 10 years ago.

So although you may not get an exact number using either of the two strategies it should give you a pretty nice ballpark figure, that way you have an idea of the budgetary requirements.

Step 2: Request Quotes and Compare Them

When comparing quotes, obviously the first thing that we do is look at that dollar amount. We don’t always look to see exactly what it includes. So make sure to read through each quote you receive carefully…and we mean carefully.

There’s a lot more to it than simply the ocean freight costs. Below are some key points to look for and they can all have a direct impact on cost but need to be predetermined before booking with a company.

  1. The type of service quoted: Are you paying for a port to port, door to port or door to door service?
  2. The method used: Is it shipping via roll on roll off vs. ocean container? Is it in a shared container or sole 20ft?
  3. Inland transportation: This goes hand in hand with number one. Some companies quote with domestic transport included, others only include the ocean transport.
  4. Destination Fees: Note: There will always be destination fees at every port, no matter the destination. This also relates to number one. If you are paying for door to port or port to port, this handles everything on the exporting side including US customs clearance. Unloading, customs clearance at the destination and transport from the arrival port all vary by destination. Make sure to ask about this!

Ask About Insurance

Most of the time, international auto transporters will offer this to you either through their own in house program or through a company they work with. Once again, these numbers differ by carriers and providers.

The rates can vary between 1.5% of the value of the car to 2.5%. Make sure you understand exactly what the insurance covers and ask your company! Are you purchasing a policy for total loss or all risk? When does coverage start?

Just like any type of insurance, when shipping a car overseas, the insurance is there for peace of mind. You will almost never need it, but when you do you’ll be glad.

Step 3: Determine Your Cost vs. Time Trade Off

This consideration is really all about your shipping preferences. Do you want the car shipped asap or are you more concerned with getting the cheapest rate?

Most people are uninformed of how long the process can take and how much it varies based on the method you choose.

Determining Shipping Method

If you are trying to determine how to ship a car overseas quickly, then the answer is simple. Book your own 20ft container, supply all the paperwork and pay the bill. As soon as it gets into the hands of your shipper with the documentation, the company will clear US customs and it will be loaded on the next available vessel then shipped.

The trade off here is the cost so expect to pay hundreds of dollars more than you would for some the next methods.

The middle ground for time vs. cost could be considered roll on roll off. Your car will be driven into the hull or belly of a RORO vessel and then secured and braced. This method is slower than the one listed above but costs substantially less.

Three things to consider with this method are that these vessels often transship, meaning they don’t go directly to your final destination. So they can end up taking longer. This isn’t always the case.

The other problem is that it lacks the added protection and security that transporting a car in a container offers. So it will be open to the elements such as sea water, moisture, etc.

Lastly, using RORO, absolutely nothing is allowed inside the vehicle other than standard tire jack, spare tire, etc. So if you wanted to supply a small manifest and place items in the car, that’s out of the question with this method.

Note: This does not mean that cars are showered with ocean water, but cars do end up getting more exposure to the elements.

The last method is consolidated vehicle shipping. This is where your car is loaded with other vehicles bound for the same final destination port. Not always, but it generally takes longer since the company must have other vehicles to fill the container before it  can be shipped overseas.

However, you get the added protection of a containerized shipment and you can save hundreds of dollars if not more than that.

Selecting a Departure Port

Now most of the time, the shipper you select to move your car overseas will give you their best rate from their closest departure port. They should also give you other options. So, for example let’s say you are shipping your ford truck to Australia and you live in New Jersey.

A company may have a location in New York and you may want to ship out of New York but they offer you a rate from the west coast in Los Angeles as well. At first it seems obvious that you’ll want to ship from the east coast, but there are two reasons it may be beneficial to move it to California first.

  1. West coast to Australia is a much quicker sail time and shorter distance meaning…the ocean freight will cost less.
  2. Most of the time there is a higher volume since Australia is a more common destination from the West coast.

*This type of scenario is more relevant to overseas consolidators but it is still useful when you’re trying to figure out how to ship a car overseas.

Step 4: Choose Your Shipper and Gather All the Paperwork

The first part is a result of the previous three steps and hopefully by this point you’ve already selected your shipper.

The next step is to gather all the paperwork that the company requires and send it to them as soon as possible to speed up the shipping process.

Most of the time the documentation is straightforward. Common documents include the:

  • Clear original title
  • Copy of bill of sale
  • Copy of your US Passport

*If you’re shipping via RORO, then we’ll only need copies and the originals can stay with the car.

There are additional forms or documentation that are required by particular ports or final destinations. We won’t list every single example because that list is exhaustive but we will list a few just to give you an idea.

Shipping a car out of Miami requires a special notarized power of attorney, whereas that’s not required in Los Angeles. New York sometimes requires proof of payment on vehicles newer than 2010.

If you want to move a vehicle to Australia, you absolutely must have an import approval prior to shipping. These are just a few examples but the sales reps are fully capable of answering these types of questions.

Step 5: Vehicle Inspection and Condition

When shipping any type of vehicle overseas, always do your own vehicle inspection report and take pictures. We recommend first servicing your car before handing it over as well as getting it washed.

This way, you know for sure the running condition of the vehicle and it will be much easier to spot any exterior dings or damage that your car already has to include in your report. Most overseas auto transporters will also do this as soon as the vehicle arrivals at their warehouse or office but two inspection reports are better than one.

Additional Advice:

If your company does not have it’s own warehouse or office overseas at your final destination city they’ll most likely be working with their own partners or agents.

Make sure to ask for their agent’s information and contact them well ahead of time. They’ll be able to answer more destination oriented questions.

In the end, there are numerous details and things that may come up during this process but being more informed about it will help you out in the end.

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to share it or like us at the top!

 

 

 

Common International Moving Questions

As an international moving service, we get asked hundreds of questions on a daily basis regarding moves overseas.

And although some of them can be answered with a simple yes or no, the majority of them are usually two or even three part answers depending on the clients’ needs and specifics of the move itself.

So, we’ve gathered some questions that we get asked frequently by those preparing for an international move so that anyone else trying to find out the same information won’t have to look far. Here’s a list of the four questions:

  1. How do I figure out the volume of my shipment or cubic footage?
  2. Can I pack on my own and do I need special boxes?
  3. What is included in the service?
  4. Will I need to pay duty tax on my goods?

Note: This is not another international moving checklist. However, if you are interested in getting that information, we also have a detailed checklist for those moving overseas.

Question #1: How do I figure out the volume of my shipment or cubic footage?

Assuming that you’ve already begun the initial research part of an international move, meaning you’ve looked at a few overseas relocation services and maybe even come across a few online moving quote forms, you most likely noticed that the size of the shipment is based on cubic volume/ft and not simple metrics like how many boxes you are shipping or the length of a couch.

Now, there is a mathematical way to find out the cubic volume so that you can determine the amount of furniture or household goods you actually want to move. But it is much easier nowadays and convenient to use an online tool to calculate the volume of a shipment. Some companies have an estimation tool built right into their quote forms.

Another way to get this information is simply to call one of the company’s specialists. If they are good at what they do, then they will be able to give you a pretty accurate figure over the phone.

Question # 2: Can I pack on my own and do I need special boxes?

The answer to this question is really a matter of preference and it will lead into question #3, but in almost every case, international shipping and moving companies give customers the choice to pack themselves and box everything up.

We always recommend that items be professionally packed since goods have a long ways to go whether you are using ocean freight or air freight.

If you elect to pack on your own, you’ll have the option to: a) have a shipping container delivered to your residence which will be picked up after you’ve loaded everything b) have the items wrapped, packed and picked up by local team of movers and then transported to your moving companies nearest location c) deliver your cargo yourself to the warehouse of the company you are using to move overseas.

The last two options are usually the case if you are located within reasonable distance of your mover.

Addressing the second part of your question, you don’t actually need to have special boxes; however it’s highly recommended to use sturdier corrugated boxes.

At the least, we always tell clients that if they are going to pack themselves to use new boxes, as already used/older ones can be worn down and make the contents more susceptible to damage.

Questions #3: What is included in the service?

Having this questioned answered by the relocation company either during the consultation process or after you’ve received an online quote is absolutely vital because you could end up getting a great rate and then getting the short end of the stick.

Our international moving quotes include a breakdown of everything covered in the service you’ve selected so that nothing is left unaddressed. It’s important to find out exactly what the breakdown entails and what you are paying for.

For instance, there are a few different service options that we offer, and are common among other established forwarders. Here are some of the common services you may come across:

  1. Door to Door: The least stressful and most straightforward way to move your household, as your household items are picked up from your home in the USA and delivered to your new home in the UK for example.
  2. Door to Port: As the name entails, the service only covers your move up until the point where the shipment arrives at the port of entry. For someone that wants to pick up their items overseas, this is an option to consider.

There are more types, but these are the two most common and the services really depend on your preference in terms of convenience and cost.

Questions #4: Will I need to pay duty tax on my goods?

This last question greatly depends on the following criteria of your move overseas:

  • Final destination
  • Status of residence
  • Types of goods and the condition
  • Duration of ownership prior to shipping

Since each and every country has different customs regulations, banned goods/commodities, quarantine requirements and classifications, the best way to get the most accurate information is to find your destination country’s government website or customs website. However some sites won’t have an English version and the next best thing to do would be to speak with an international relocation specialist.

Europe is a really good example to use for this particular question. As the EU is an economic union, the member countries generally share a commonality when it comes to household goods moves and import duties.

Although it doesn’t apply to every case, in Europe or around the globe, if the items you are shipping as part of your international move are used, you have owned them for six months and have lived in your country of origin for more than a year; you’ll be able to import them without having to pay a duty tax.

Once again, this isn’t something that applies 100% of the time to 100% of the countries overseas, but it should give you a good understanding of what to expect.

If you do happen to be preparing for an upcoming move overseas and would like to find out what it’s going to costs or just have specific questions, you can contact us online or use our form to request a free international moving quote.

Written by Martyn Cohen

The Cost of Living in Spain

Written by Damien Shields

Spain has long held the interests of Americans looking for an expat adventure. From Hemmingway’s coverage of the Spanish Civil War to many students studying abroad in Madrid to the world renowned El Bulli restaurant’s influence on many of our top chefs, Spain just holds a certain kind of magic for Americans. And with their relatively low cost of living, you can experience that magic of moving to Spain yourself.

With the glaring exception of Madrid, a couple can expect to get by in Spain for around $20,000 per year and with a little money in the budget for going out and experiencing Spain’s world famous cuisine. Let’s take a look at how the prices break down.

Rent:

Again, excluding Madrid, rent in Spain is very affordable. Two-bedroom apartments can be found for as cheap as $850/month and it’s not entirely unreasonable that you could get a three-bedroom house for as low as $1600/month; which is great if you plan on bringing or having kids. Utilities average around 116 Euros but still makes it cheaper than many American cities.

Dining Out:

Let’s be honest, you’re not moving all the way around the world to prepare all your meals at home. Part of the experience of going abroad is tasting the local flare as only they can make it. Luckily, doing so won’t break the bank. Mid-tier dining for two, including wine, can be found for $20-$40. You can save extra money by buying the daily specials, called menu del dia. 

Groceries:

Because every meal shouldn’t be taken at a restaurant if you want to live affordably, you’re going to have to buy some groceries. Again, the prices here are not too steep either. You can expect to pay about $70-$80 per week on groceries and keep in mind that the food you’ll be getting is extremely fresh and mostly organic.

Transportation:

Getting around in Spain is another affordable perk. Local public transit costs less than $3 dollars for a one-way ticket. Gasoline, however, is a little more expensive than in America, close to $5 per gallon when converted as they measure in liters. Luckily, as with most European cities, cars are not necessary to get around.

What You Can Expect From Your Move To France

Written by Alex Bach

Just as there aren’t cheeseburger-eating cowboys shooting guns on every street in America, not every street in France is lined with baguettes, not every Frenchman is anti-American, and not all sparkling wines are Champagne. Knowing what to expect when moving to France is crucial if you want to get the most out of your stay. Here are some of the things, both good and bad, that you can expect to find when you begin your French expat journey.

And if you need help with the logistics of your journey, we’ve helped hundreds of families relocate all over the world and can make your move to France as painless as possible.

Managing Your French Expectations:

  • The bread really is as fresh as everyone makes it out to be. Made daily, your bountiful bread options in France are going to be better than almost anywhere in the world. Ditto their pastries.
  • French women aren’t necessarily the friendliest towards female expats–possibly because they feel all their french men are out to woo them. As with any move, you should try and find a community of other expats to help cut down on the loneliness from time to time.
  • Shorter workweeks! In France, the national full-time work week is 35-hours.  If you work any longer than that you automatically get paid overtime–which you can spend on more crepes, wine, and cheese.
  • Speaking of which…the food really is just as good as its made out to be. Seriously, even the smaller, street fair could pass for Michelin-rated cuisine in America. Part of that is due to the abounding freshness of the ingredients as they joined with many other European countries in banning GMOs.
  • Speaking of “speaking,” you will need to know passable French in order to enjoy your stay in France. Remember Ted Nugent’s infamous quote from a while back “Speak English or Die,” it’s kind of like that, but with French! France’s aversion of catering to your linguistic needs (even if they speak English) is probably the most realistic stereotype you’ll encounter. But don’t think of this as a downside: the more French you learn the more you’ll feel at home and the less you’ll be treated as an outsider.
  • Lastly, moving to France will not be easy. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get legal clearance to move to and work in France. But know that once you do you will truly be in for one of the greatest adventures of your life.

Best High Performance Convertibles for A Summer Cruise

Written by Damien Shields

Summer’s just around the corner, and that means so is convertible season. I mean, what better way to enjoy the weather than by going on a long cruise with the top down. But in order to do that you’re going to need the right the car. Here are some of the best convertibles for the 2014-2015 season.

And if you need help getting your dream convertible to your joy ride launch point–be it Dubai, the Australian Coast, or Hawaii–Schumacher Cargo can help. We ship thousands of cars every year and have the experience and skill to get yours to your new home safely.

Best Convertibles of 2014-2015:

2014 Ferrari F12 Spider:

FERRARI F12 SPIDER

While certainly not in everyone’s price range, if you can afford this gallant machine you won’t regret it. This retractable hardtop features 730-hp from a 6.3 liter, 12-cylinder V-engine–and might be Ferrari’s fastest roadster yet!

2015 Ford Mustang GT Convertible:

New FORD MUSTANG GT CONVERTIBLE

Although significantly cheaper than the F12 Spider, the Mustang is in no way a significantly lesser ride. The start of a whole new generation of mustangs, the design is one of the best they’ve had since the late 60s and the iconic Shelby Gt500. The 2015 GT convertible features a 6-speed manual transmission and a 5.0 liter V-8 engine. This horse gallops!

2014 McLaren MP4-12C Roadster:

MCLAREN's Epic MP4-12C ROADSTER

McLaren took the top of their famous MP4-12C model to give their customers a convertible experience with all the style and speed of the hardtop model. Capable of reaching speeds up to 205 mph, this beast is driven by a 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8 engine with 592-hp and can do 0-60 in a whopping 3.2 seconds. This car will turn heads and break hearts.

2014 BMW 4-Series Convertible:

BMW's new 4-series hard-top

The 4-series is a newer line but one that still has all the power and grace of their other iconic lines. This stylish hardtop has several different engines to choose from: starting with a 2-liter diesel 420d, advancing up to the 3-liter inline 6-cylinder turbo 435i and ending at the mind-blowing 8-speed ZF automatic. Bad drives are not to be had in this beauty.

2015 Lexus LF-CC:

Lexus’s new convertible–scheduled for release in 2015–is a challenge to BMW’s convertible above. It is still in the works and remains very secretive but the company’s stated goals are to produce a GT as sleek and powerful as any of the German models.

Things to Watch Out For When Moving to Italy

Written by Mark Neville

While moving to Italy might be part of your dream expat adventure, there are some things you should know or expect when you arrive. That is, if you want to enjoy your experience and not find it embittered by disappointment or, as many unfortunate travelers find out, outrageous parking tickets.

Not to worry, we’ve got a list to help manage those expectations. Keep these things in mind when you arrive and your adventure will be that much more enjoyable.

And if you need help with the actual move to Italy itself, Schumacher Cargo is once again happy to oblige. We’ve helped hundreds of families make international moves and can make a difficult move a breeze.

What to Know When Moving to Italy:

Theory of Relativity:

The first thing you should be aware of when moving to Italy is that time works a little differently here. One man’s 5 o’clock might be another’s 5:45.

That is, strict timetables and schedules do not exist here; they are more of a suggestion. Think of it as island time, if that helps. Or just think of it as more time to enjoy this new country while you wait thirty minutes for a tour to start.

Park at Your Own Risk:

Parking doesn’t work the same as it does in the US. Parking zones and their according fees are designated by color and can be a huge hit to your wallet when you get back to your car…if it hasn’t already been towed. Learn the color codes, or, simply try not to drive.

Tip Culture:

You might have heard that most of Europe doesn’t have a tipping culture and you’d be right. Despite that, many people, and not just Italians, will try to take advantage of American’s notoriety for tipping, meaning you’ll be spending even more money. Don’t feel you have to tip, unless someone really goes out of their way.

Sicily vs. Italy:

Don’t call a Sicilian Italian and vice versa. Don’t say “capeesh” to a mainlander. While much of America’s Italian lexicon is derived from American gangster films, which neither region cares for, much of the “Italian” being spoken in there is an American form of Sicilian.

Don’t assume you know Italian culture based off modified Sicilian culture: the two see each other as vastly different. Think of it as the difference between England and Ireland if that helps.

No Mafia Jokes:

I mean it! The mafia is a real phenomenon and still very much an institution in many regions of Italy. And it is absolutely not something you should casually joke about with your waiter or cab driver or pretty much anyone…especially as your jokes will likely be steeped in offensive stereotypes.

Top Myths That Need to be Dispelled Before Your Move to the UK

Written by Mark Neville

No matter where we move to, whether it’s from the suburbs of New York to the Big Apple, from Chicago to Boston, or from San Francisco to Singapore, there are always going to be a few misconceptions out there that will, at best, get you tagged as a tourist and, at worst, lead to you offend the entire country. Here are the myths you need to dispel before moving to the UK.

Top 5 Myths About Living In The UK:

  1. The UK is just England and Scotland, right? Wrong, the UK includes England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and–the one most Americans commonly forget–Wales.
  2. There is only one “accent” in England. Wrong again. Just as people from the Bronx have a different accent than, say, Long Island or Atlanta, Georgia, so too are the accents of England different. Most accents have to do with class and location and can change significantly over the course of a 45 minute drive: see The Beatles trademark Liverpool accents as compared to Steve Coogan’s Manchester lilt.
  3. Everyone loves Fish and Chips. While many do love the popular pub food Americans have associated as possibly the one and only dish served in England, the most popular food in the UK is actually curry. The penchant for the exotic flavor has to do with the country’s former imperial relationship with India.
  4. No ice for your cocktail! This myth has thankfully faded away for many gin and tonic drinkers out there. You can now expect most of your cocktails to come with ice–though you should know that your beer will be a litter warmer than the ice cold taste of the Rockies. The good news is that it will have more flavor as the home of the Extra Special Bitter, Brown ale and IPA!
  5. All rain all the time. While England is certainly a rainy place (most islands usually are) not every day is a gloomy, Seattle-soaked day. Many days the rain will come in a brief afternoon shower offsetting a gorgeous sunny day.

Things You Need to Know About Your Move to Switzerland

Written by Jason Lowder

Before moving to the land of neutrality, chocolate and Cuckoo clocks, there are a few things you need to know about Switzerland. Some of these things might be splendid, some unusual, and a few you should probably watch out for or keep in mind.

Moving is made of two components: the excitement and the hard work.  Let Schumacher Cargo Logistics handle all the hard work for your move to Switzerland, allowing you to focus solely on the excitement!

Things To Know Before Moving to Switzerland:

  • Switzerland has one of the best economies in the world–700 years of neutrality and the world’s most recognizable banks will do that. With that stable economy comes a great quality of living(high cost), well paying jobs, and a strong openness for foreign residents and workers.
  • You’ve got Mountains and Mediterranean Climates! A gorgeous repository of mountains and lakes, Switzerland’s close proximity to the Mediterranean also gives it a very temperate climate that makes summer and spring unforgettable.
  • Finding a job in Switzerland is competitive as an outsider. If you’re looking to make the move try and find work before you go, either with some of the larger Swiss companies or with American companies that have offices in Switzerland, they might be able to help you transfer.
  • You can also take advantage of Switzerland’s three-month grace period for foreigners. This period allows non-residents to stay in the country for three months while they try and find permanent work.
  • Income taxes are lower in Switzerland but that’s because the costs of living in Switzerland are so high.
  • Leave the guns at home. Switzerland does not feature much of the same second amendment fervor we have in America which possibly has something to do with the fact that they are a neutral country…either way, leave the guns back in the states.
  • Baby names for Swiss residents have to be taken from a pre-approved list. Don’t expect to be able to pop your baby out and name him Apple Pie Asterisk. If you do, you’ll have to request official permission from your embassy which will be a long and tedious process.