How to Ship Personal Items Internationally

words Al Woods

Everyone likes a little bit of familiarity, and no matter how far away from home you might move, you’ll want to bring some familiar possessions with you as you might feel lost without them. Whether it’s a childhood blanket or the most comfortable bed, the conundrum of shipping furniture overseas from the UK raises its head.

But don’t fret, there’s no task that can’t be overcome and, luckily for you, we’re here to explain some of the intricacies of shipping belongings overseas. So, relax and keep reading!

Ship Items Internationally

Overseas Shipping

In the case where you’re looking to ship furniture overseas, you might be curious to know more about the process that this will entail. Our first piece of advice would be to find the removal company that best suits your needs, which is something you can easily do with the help of With their service, you can easily find up to 5 removal companies that can help with your overseas shipping! However, there’s more to shipping furniture overseas, and before you find a removal company, you might like to be aware of some key terms. A trustworthy partner for your overseas shipping will have lots of experience and possess all the knowledge needed to secure the best deal. Lots of companies ship from USA with Shippn to ensure their goods go from door to door without any hiccups. Plus, being able to track your items along the way is a great feature to ensure peace of mind.

20ft or 40ft Container

There are two options when it comes to containers, 20ft or 40ft. There’s not too much to explain here, but we can try to contextualise this for you. Depending on the volume of the contents of your house, you might need a large, 40ft, or small, 20ft, shipping container, or even to share a container with someone else (which will be explained in the next section as there’s a specific term for this).

For example, if you have an average 3-bedroom house, your belongings should fit into a 20ft container, while a 40ft container will usually hold about a 5-bedroom house. An important thing to note is that a larger container can add £1,000 to the cost of a move abroad. So, if money is of concern, you can try and part with the items that won’t complement your new life.

Full Container Load & Less Container Load

We mentioned that you could share a container, and this is where the terms Full Container Load (FCL) and Less Container Load (LCL) come in. FCL means that you’ll be using the whole container entirely by yourself. There are some perks to this, compared to the option of LCL. For instance, since it will just be just your belongings in the container, you can expect that shipping the container overseas will be quicker as you don’t need to sit around waiting for other’s items to be loaded.

On the other hand, LCL might be preferable if you have a small amount of items to ship overseas from the UK. While it does mean you’ll be sharing a shipping container, it also means that you’ll be splitting the cost of transport with someone moving your same route. Less money out of your pocket is always a good thing when moving abroad!

Delivery Options

The next few options relate to how your goods will be moved from your old house to your new home. It’s good to be aware of them as some options are preferable than others, believe us!

Port to Port

If you’re a fan of challenges, this might be the option for you! With the port to port option, you’ll be provided with a container to fill for shipping belongings overseas form the UK. The catch is that there will be no help to bring your goods to the port, which means it’s something you need to organise on your lonesome. As we said, this will be a challenge and we’re sure you can imagine why!

Drop and Fill

You might be more amenable to this option than the previous, even though it comes with a slight price increase. Instead of a container at a port, a container will be dropped off at a predetermined location of your choosing. Then, you can fill the container yourself before it’s collected by a removal company and then shipped overseas.

Door to Door

This last option is the most preferable for those moving house with overseas shipping. The reason being that it’s often the easiest and least stressful option as a company will help you both load and unload the container. It’s an end-to-end service that will make your life so much easier, even if it is the most expensive option.

Filling a Container

If you decide to take up the challenge of filling the container by yourself, be sure that the container is in good condition. We advise that you check for holes in the sides of the container and ensure the base is lined with pallets to protect your belongings. Finally, safeguard that your belongings are well secured, so they don’t move around when on the open and tumultuous sea.

Furthermore, you should be sure that your belongings are well wrapped before loading into the container. This will help protect larger items from damage as the extra padding will help if there’s a slight give or an item has broken free of its constraints. Similarly, if you’re shipping fragile items overseas, you’ll need to ensure that there’s a decent buffer of packing material protecting these items to ensure that no harm comes to them!


Now that you know more about what you can expect when it comes to shipping your belongings overseas, you should be up to the task and ready to take on the lingo. There’s honestly nothing to fear, you just need to find a removal company and a container for your belongings!

Of course, before you move overseas, you should probably read the Government’s page on living abroad. Additionally, you should know that you’ll need to contact HMRC to avoid being taxed in two countries, since nobody wants that. Finally, good luck and we wish you a relaxed move!


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