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Preparing for PCS to Germany

Every year, military members prepare for their PCS to Germany. For some, this PCS is their first time ever traveling abroad. This can be intimidating, but many people have experiences and tips to share to make this transition easy. Germany offers an amazing experience with a large expat community.

To get ready for the big move, take a look at our guide below on preparing for your PCS to Germany.

Jet Flying By the American Flag PCS Germany

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pair of chairs on a beach

Ah, retirement. The golden age of new opportunities and looking back on a life full of hard work. You have the time now to pick up new hobbies or take on the adventure of a lifetime. And while many retirees may feel inclined to stay close to home and loved ones, this is the perfect chance to settle down someplace new and discover a whole new world.

Every January for the past 29 years, International Living updates its list of the top 10 countries for retirees to move to every year. These countries receive an average score based on the International Living Annual Global Retirement Index. This index considers the overall quality of life for expat retirees, according to a number of metrics.

So if you’re soon approaching retirement and planning this next chapter, already retired and looking for a change of pace, or even years away and simply daydreaming, consider an international retirement! There is no better time than now to pack your bags and jetset for a new life across the world in the best international retirement locations.

The 10 Best Places to Retire Abroad in 2019

10. Spain

Spain

This western European country is a prime beach destination for the rest of the continent. And since it’s a first world country, expats will find a comfortable standard of living and many of the familiar amenities of home. Traveling around the country and to other parts of Europe is easily done via train.

The country’s warm provides long farming seasons, meaning there is plenty of fresh and inexpensive produce at the market. The southern region, close to the Mediterranean Sea, is hot and dry, while further north toward the Pyrenees Mountains is mild and cool.

Spain boasts one of the lowest costs of living in western Europe. A couple could comfortably live on $2,500 a month in many parts of the country. Additionally, the World Healthcare Organization ranks Spain as having one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

9. Thailand

Thailand

Nestled in southeast Asian, Thailand is a tropical paradise. The tropical and humid climate means there is no threat of a cold winter; perfect for snowbirds.

The cost of living is considerably low; a modern studio apartment can be rented for $400 a month. Utilities and groceries are also low. Travel within the country is also inexpensive, and it’s easy to hop on a plane to explore the rest of southeast Asia.

For those who are really looking for an all-immersive experience, Thailand boasts a rich culture that’s completely its own. The country has never been colonized by western or European countries. However, there are plenty of bustling expat communities for you to make plans with new friends.

8. Peru

Peru

This mountainous country of ancient Incan ruins and llamas has recently become a favored retirement location. There is a large number of expats living throughout the country. In Lima, the country’s capital, you can find incredible restaurants, art museums, galleries and theaters. The international airport is constantly seeing direct flights to and from neighboring South American countries.

The weather is mild with sunshine for 300 days out of the year. This temperate climate means that fresh and local produce is always available at a low cost. The overall cost of living stays low, too. A couple can easily live on a budget of less than $2,000 a month in most regions.

Since there are not many English-speakers, anyone moving here should learn Spanish to fit in and get around. However, the community is still friendly and welcoming of expats.

7. Portugal

Portugal

Portugal is known for its friendly community. The people are happy to share their culture with others, and they make an effort to welcome visitors and expats. English is widely spoken in the more populous urban areas of Porto and Lisbon, so English-speakers can easily get around.

Portugal is the second least expensive country in Europe, just after Bulgaria. You can modestly live here on a comfortable budget of $2,500 a month. Additionally, the 2018 Global Peace Index rated Portugal as the fourth-safest country in the world.

6. Colombia

Colombia

If you can’t start your day without a cup of coffee, Colombia might be the perfect place for you. The country is known for its incredible coffee industry, and the Coffee Triangle offers beautiful and lush mountain scenery. If the mountains aren’t calling your name, don’t worry. You can head down to the Caribbean for tropical and hot beaches. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, so there is no shortage of incredible landscapes.

Retired expats can easily attain a retirement visa that’s good for three years. You’ll also have easy access to affordable yet high quality healthcare. The World Health Organization ranks Colombia’s health system at #22 (for perspective, the United States is at #37 and Canada is at #30).

5. Malaysia

Malaysia

Malaysia is a popular choice for those who love an outdoor lifestyle. More than 878 islands make up the country’s geography, and there are amazing hiking trails through the beaches and rainforests. Discovering the rest of Asia can be done through direct and inexpensive flights right out of the Penang International Airport.

Don’t worry if you don’t speak Malay; English is the unofficial first language. Malaysian law is based on the British system, and all road signs are in both English and Malay.

A couple can comfortably live on the island of Penang for $1,800 a month, including rent. And don’t forget the affordable healthcare. Medical services can be done day-of and on a low budget, so it’s an especially attractive feature for expats.

4. Ecuador

Ecuador

There is something for everyone in Ecuador. Choose to live along the tropical coast or up in the temperate Andes mountains. Get caught in the bustle of the big-city life and all of its conveniences or choose to watch the world go by in quaint villages. You’ll find a fascinating mix of indigenous, Inca and Spanish cultures, great for those always trying something new. There are plenty of expat communities that take advantage of the local laidback lifestyle, and you’ll want to jump right in.

Another benefit is the affordability. It’s entirely possible to buy a beach home for less than $150,000. Utilities, household help and personal services are also low cost. The warm climate allows for year-round growing seasons, so food is fresh and inexpensive at local markets.

3. Mexico

Mexico

Mexico’s proximity to the United States has made it a popular vacation destination for generations, so why not choose to move here? Expats will find incredibly affordable healthcare and a low cost of living. Depending on the location, a couple can comfortably live on $1,500 to $3,000 a month, including rent and healthcare. After you are granted residency, you can sign up for a national healthcare plan. Residents over the age of 60 can also acquire a national senior discount card.

Geographically, Mexico is a huge country. The vast landscape includes farmland, beaches, mountains, oceans and lakes. You can choose to live in the warm beach towns or up in the spring-like Colonial Highlands. Wherever you go, you’re sure to find a community that is welcoming to expats.

2. Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a healthy history of a peaceful culture and stable democracy. The country abolished its army in 1948 and dedicated that budget to its education and healthcare instead. The country has plenty of options for healthcare services, and the socialized medicine program is available once you acquire residency.

For active retirees who love the outdoors, there is no shortage of activities to get you outside. The tropical rainforests, pristine beaches and lush mountains supply the perfect backdrop for fishing, golfing, horseback riding, hiking, yoga and diving.

Costa Ricans, locally known as Ticos, are warm and welcoming to expats. There are plenty of expat communities as well to help you fit in.

1. Panama

Panama

One definite perk to Panama is its location. It’s warm and tropical near the Caribbean, but it’s also outside of the hurricane belt. It’s located close enough to the United States that a visit home is easy; Miami is only a 3-hour plane ride away. The U.S. dollar is the country’s accepted currency, so no need to figure out a new exchange rate.

The capital, Panama City, is Central America’s only first world city. This bustling metropolis also boasts stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Outside of the city, you’ll find amazing mountains and beaches.

Retirees in Panama have access to the country’s Pensionado Program. It’s considered one of the best retiree programs in the world and is open to everyone. Program participants have access to incredible discounts on everything from medical expenses to entertainment and travel.

How International Living’s Global Retirement Index Works

The Retirement Index was developed in 1990 and weighs the financial, health, lifestyle and governance pros and cons of each country. Such metrics include Cost of Living, Fitting In, Healthcare, Climate and Development. Every factor is carefully considered to determine the best retirement destinations abroad.

These retirement havens are given scores based off of International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index. These scores are then averaged and the highest scores make the list for the new year. Additionally, the International Living team is spread throughout 5 continents and is able to provide a personal take on what life is like for an expat in these countries. With their help, International Living annually publishes who’s on top of the Global Retirement Index list.

Retire Overseas with Schumacher Cargo Logistics

Ready to take on the next chapter in life in a new and foreign land? Our Moving Specialists are here to tell you how to move abroad. With 40 years of internationally shipping vehicles and household goods, our team ensures a safe and efficient move. Whether you’re moving just across the Atlantic to Spain or around the world to Malaysia, you can get your free shipping quote and call us toll-free at 1-800-599-0190 today.

man mopping kitchen floor
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It’s moving day. The heavy furniture is packed into a trailer. Your belongings are put away in boxes and loaded into the car. The place is empty, but now what? Before handing over the key, do yourself– and the next inhabitants– a favor by cleaning the home. While it may be tempting to hire someone offering move out cleaning services, it can save you a lot to DIY it.

So how clean should a house be when moving out? That depends. If you’re a tenant, a deep clean could be the difference between getting your security deposit back or not. But if you’re a homeowner and not on a lease, doing a final sweep is still the neighborly thing to do.

As experts in moving household goods and vehicles around the country or overseas, we’ve seen our fair share of clean, empty homes. Use our move out cleaning checklist as you prepare for your big move.

House Cleaning Tips

Before you get started, keep these tips in mind:

  • When packing, do not pack your cleaning supplies. Set those aside and clearly mark them so they aren’t stashed into the moving van before you’re ready.
  • As you work your way through the home, triple check that you’ve packed all your essential belongings.
  • Open windows to air out any smells left by cleaning supplies.
  • If you’re on a lease, read through it very carefully for any sneaky fine print that requires certain cleaning standards.
  • Use microfiber towels instead of paper towels or plain rags. These are eco-friendly, reusable and streak-free.

Deep Cleaning House Checklist

Use this first checklist to get a general start on cleaning the home:

  • Vacuum every room. Mop any tile, linoleum or laminate floors. Apply a treatment oil to wood flooring. If the carpet is extremely dirty, rent a carpet cleaner.
  • Dust everything. This includes corners, fans, window sills, built-in shelves and cabinets, lights, and any other permanent fixture in the home.
  • Remove any nails, hooks and similar hardware. Repair these holes with some spackle, then repaint the spot. This will give the wall and rest of the room a fresh look.
  • Repair any damaged wall fixtures like a clothing rack or lighting fixtures.
  • Wipe down all the doors, trim, baseboards and crown molding.
  • Clean all windows– both sides– with a streak-free glass cleaner.

After you’re done with the initial groundwork, follow these cleaning checklists for specific rooms in your home.

Bathroom Cleaning Checklist

  • Use grout cleaner on tiled areas. Apply it early so it has time to work.
  • Clean out the exhaust fan.
  • Use special bathroom cleaner, usually with a bleaching agent, on the toilet. Clean all surfaces of the toilet.
  • Scrub the shower and tub with a soap scum fighting cleaner.
  • Clean the countertops, sinks, towel racks, lights and any storage areas.
  • Clean the mirror with a streak-free glass cleaner.

Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

  • If the refrigerator, oven, microwave or other appliances are staying, clean the interior and exterior of those. Take advantage of the oven’s self-cleaning feature, if there is one.
  • Clean the floor below and wall behind the appliances.
  • Empty out cabinets, drawers and shelves, then dust the insides. Wipe down the front of cabinets.
  • Scrub the countertops, backsplash and sink.
  • Clean out the exhaust fan and garbage disposal.

Living Room, Office and Bedroom Cleaning Checklist

  • Dust light fixtures, ceiling fans and any built-ins. Then wipe down with an all-purpose cleaner.
  • If applicable, clean out the fireplace and chimney.
  • Dust window blinds and sills.
  • Clean out air vents and replace filters.

Outdoor Home Cleaning Checklist

  • Clean out the gutters of any leaves, twigs or build-up from rain and snow.
  • Sweep dirt, grass and other debris out of the walkways.
  • Mow the lawn, bag up fallen leaves, and do basic grooming of any other landscaping.
  • Replace burnt out bulbs in exterior lights.
  • Clean out dirty outdoor trash cans or recycling bins.

Moving Tips from Schumacher Cargo Logistics

Moving out of your old home and into a new, unfamiliar place can be a daunting and exhaustive process. Keep your head on straight and use our packing tips and moving guide to help ensure a smooth move. Heading to foreign lands? Our international moving guide will also keep you on the right path.

With 40 years of moving and shipping experience, the moving specialists at Schumacher Cargo Logistics know how to safely get your items from Point A to Point B. Whether it be within the same area code or halfway across the world, call our moving specialists today to get a free quote on our services.

Moving Boxes

Why Hire a Moving Company?

From finding a new home to getting accustomed to the new culture and lifestyle, moving is already a stressful feat on its own. Especially when it’s an international move. The last thing you want to worry about is transporting your vehicles and household goods from Point A to Point B. That’s why choosing a trusted moving company for international shipping is vital to a successful relocation.

How Much Does A Moving Company Cost?

Get at Least Three Quotes

Request and compare estimates from at least three separate reputable shipping companies. You can see the differences between how much different moving companies charge you. Check every detail on these quotes, including the time frame, shipping method, packing materials, and if there are any fragile or precious items in the shipment.

Additionally, the final cost of your shipment will depend not only on the amount of items included. There’s also the space it takes up and the special services provided by the company, like door-to-door delivery or packing and unpacking for you; these features can drive the cost up or down. Deciding which special services are most important to you will help determine which company to choose.

How to Evaluate Moving Companies

Start your research early

Waiting until a few weeks before your move may put you in a tough spot. You run the risk of a hefty upcharge for the last minute accommodations, or you may not even find a company with available space for your items. So don’t put it off until the last minute. You’ll want to do extensive research on which companies ship to your desired port, what items you’re allowed to ship, and how past customers enjoyed their experience with their company. Give yourself plenty of time to decide.

Licenses, Accreditations and Memberships

One of the most important considerations is the company’s licensing and accreditations. Since these are given based off of industry-wide standards and qualifications, you’ll have a third-party guarantee whether a company is worthwhile or not.

The most prestigious accreditation for a moving company to have is the FIDI/FAIM membership. FIDI is the Federation of International Movers, and it is considered a worldwide standard for top quality movers. The FIDI Accredited International Mover (FAIM) Quality Management Programme is a quality certification reserved for the best international moving companies.

Other licenses to look for are:

  • FMC – Federal Maritime Commission
  • AMSA – American Moving and Storage Association
  • IAM – International Association of Movers
  • DOT – Department of Transportation
  • OTI – Ocean Transport Intermediary
  • NVOCC – Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier

Tracking Information

You feverishly refresh the “track package” page while waiting for an online order to arrive. Why shouldn’t you have the same comfort when moving? One of the greatest advantages of modern technology is the ability to keep track of your shipment status. Choosing a company that gives you this option can relieve the tension of wondering when your household goods will appear.

Experience with Foreign Ports and Customs

An international move is completely different than a domestic move. Each country has its own customs protocol and requires different shipping documents. Shipping with an experienced international moving company that knows how to handle these logistics will make your move much smoother.

Ship with Schumacher Cargo Logistics

Schumacher Cargo Logistics fulfills all of these expectations listed above. That’s what makes us one of the top international moving companies. We offer plenty of shipping services designed for a variety of customers. Get your free moving quote today!

Passport and others identity paper and cards

At Schumacher Cargo Logistics, we’re experts in shipping vehicles overseas or exporting household goods. However, not everyone knows what’s required and we receive a lot of questions about what documents our customers need when moving internationally. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a helpful guide to explain some of the most common documents required when exporting an automobile or household goods.

Documents for Vehicle Export from USA

  1. Passport
    • A clear scanned copy with the passport number
    • If it’s a U.S. passport, it needs to include the Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • If it is not a U.S. passport, no EIN is needed
    • Receive your Employer Identification Number with the EIN Assistant
  2. Certificate of Title
    • The shipper’s name has to be the current owner of the vehicle listed on the title
  3. Bill of Sale
  4. Power of Attorney, depending on the port

Documents for Exporting Household Goods

  1. Passport
    • A clear scanned copy with the passport number
    • If it’s a U.S. passport, it needs to include the Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • If it is not a U.S. passport, no EIN is needed
    • Receive your Employer Identification Number with the EIN Assistant
  2. Valuation of the shipment, as required by U.S. Customs
  3. Signed Schumacher Quotation
  4. Marine Insurance Form, if applicable

For Temporary Exports

If you are only exporting your vehicle for a temporary amount of time, you can get an ATA Carnet. This specialized document allows you to bring your car and household goods overseas for up to a year, and then the item(s) need to be brought back. For example, you would use this document if you were shipping your car overseas for a race or a show; after the event, the car would be returned to the United States.

Using this document gives you the benefit of bringing your vehicle and household goods into the country duty and tax free. In addition, you cannot sell the item(s) with a carnet overseas.

Documents for Exporting Items, by Country

Note that the lists above are not exhaustive; these documents are only the most commonly required. Each country will have its own specific requirements for exported items. Here are some examples of the different documentation required by Australia, France and the United Kingdom.

Australia

  • B534 Form – Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement

France

  • Inventaire pour la Douane Française / Inventory for French Customs
  • CERFA 10070*02
  • Certificate of Non-Resale

United Kingdom

How Schumacher Cargo Logistics Can Help You Export Your Items

To keep things in order, Schumacher Cargo Logistics provides to our customers a checklist to ensure that all required documents are received, as well as assistance if you need help completing the documents. In addition, you will receive a booking confirmation letter containing details of your shipment and information for the documents required by your destination country.

For more information about moving and shipping internationally, call our moving specialists toll-free at 800-599-0190 or request your free shipping quote today.

Schumacher Cargo Logistics utilizes insured, secured and bonded facilities. We provide warehousing, packing, crating, trucking and loading services out of our own warehouses here in the USA - Los Angeles, Houston, Savannah, Miami, New York, and New Jersey. All other worldwide destinations are covered by our affiliated organization member companies.