Tips for members of military moving overseas

Moving is complicated by itself and if you are in the military, you know moving your belongings and family can be quite a challenge. A permanent change of station (PCS) is something every military family will experience eventually.

To make the move a lot smoother, here are some simple tips to keep in mind when heading overseas:
Personal Property Office (PPO) – Once you receive your PCS, contact the PPO. You might have already done this before but no two moves are alike and they have excellent resources for you. There, you can find your basic entitlements and responsibilities among many other helpful tips. A website you will find useful is the Department of Defense site that offers a lot of basic PCS information.
Make sure to contact your sponsor or new command once you receive your PCS. Your sponsor can help you get to know your new destination and provide you valuable information about what specific belongings to bring or not to bring. In other words, if you are moving to a country that doesn’t accommodate big-sized furniture, your sponsor will let you know so you can put some of your possessions in storage until your new PCS.
Need to know your entitlement – Make sure you find out how much weight for your move that the government will pay for you. This is really important to ensure you stay within their budget and yours too so you avoid any extra excessive weight fees or charges.
Papers in order – Before moving, you will need to make sure you have plenty of copies of your PCS available and stored in a safe location. Be sure to have any letters of authorizations, powers of attorney docs, appraisal of high-priced belongings, video or photo identification of your items, and pertinent insurance policies.

One final tip, always purchase movers’ insurance before you move so that your personal belongings are protected when they are shipped overseas. It will provide you peace-of-mind. By following these tips and thoroughly preparing before your move, you will know you did everything in your power to ensure a safe military move.

Safe moving!

Your own overseas help-desk right at your fingertips

So now you have useful online tools when moving overseas from last week’s blog, but what about essential international moving links to ensure you have a safe and smooth overseas move with useful information you need at your fingertips.

I have compiled useful information from some of my previous blogs that you should bookmark and make sure they are with you before venturing overseas. It is like having your own personal help-desk wherever you go:
Passports and visas – Descriptions of passports and visas and tips to ensure you have the right one before you move.
International paperwork – There is a lot of paperwork you will need before moving and a list is provided to ensure you have all the needed documentation before moving overseas.
Moving automobiles – Tips when you have a car or other type of transportation that needs to be moved overseas.
Utilizing embassies and consulates – This blog provides you tips on how to take full advantage of their resources in the country you are moving to.
Embassies and consulate directories – Want to know the address and contact information of the embassy or consulate you are moving to? Embassy.org has the list and much more!

Safe moving!

Helpful tips to take online tools for your international move

Last week, we covered how to move your automobiles overseas. This week, I’ll provide you useful tips of what online tools to take with you overseas. There are four online relocation tools that you should bookmark before you head on out across the pond. These are helpful tools when you are living in a different country.
Currency calculator – Oanda provides advanced and comprehensive currency exchanges as well as trading, data input with foreign exchange rates and many other useful foreign exchange tools.
Language translator – Google provides a solid text and web page translations. It covers practically all languages in the world.
Time zones – This gives you current local times in cities and all countries around the world.
Electrical guide – Need to know what type of adapters to purchase when moving overseas? The website provides you with the type of adapters and power sockets you’ll need so you can use your current electronics and other devices in your new home overseas.

Taking these specific online tools will make your international move much easier.

Safe moving!

Tips when moving cars and other big-ticket items overseas

Your moving overseas and as discussed last week, you have your taxes in order. But what do you do if you need to ship your car, motorcycle or another big-ticket item overseas. Depending upon where you are moving, you can have your far-wheeled friend shipped overseas by us through an international auto transport company.

That’s not too difficult but there are some other things you need to consider before your car or other two or four-wheeled is revved up to be shipped across the Atlantic or elsewhere. As always, do your research and find out about the country or city’s public transportation system. This really varies from country-to-country and you will be able to assess how much you will need to drive your car and what kind of driving conditions you can expect.

Here are some factors to keep-in-mind and to know about:
• Is your automobile street legal in your new city? Remember that Japan, Britain, Australia and other countries require you to drive on the right-side of the road.
• Make sure your professional mover knows about any import tariffs. Your mover lets you know about any of these potential fees so you are not surprised by any unexpected costs.
• Drivers licenses – Most countries will allow you to drive with your existing American driver’s license but only for a specified period of time.
• Research your new country’s driving regulations and laws before your international move so you know when you need to obtain a new license.
• Purchase insurance – When you move, things can happen so make sure you buy moving insurance for your car especially if it’s a new car. This will provide you peace-of-mind if something should go wrong during the transport.

Follow these tips and ensure you hire a reputable moving company so that your automobile or other type of vehicle is taken care of during your overseas move.

Safe moving

Tips to getting you connected when moving overseas

Last week, I discussed some of the risks to avoid when moving overseas. This week, I’m going to provide you some tips on how to stay electronically connected when moving overseas. If you are moving internationally and taking your desktop or laptop with you, you’ll want to be sure to stay connected especially if your move is work-related. There are many things to keep in mind and be aware of before you leave the U.S. so your connection to your computer with the local system is completely compatible. Many countries are not digitally connected yet like here at home.

Important tips and things to consider to ensure you are connected before heading overseas:
• Learn what the country’s voltage is and what type of built-in adapters you need to take with you. Ask if the telephone plugs are hard-wired directly into the wall or is it digital. Digital signals vary and your modem may not work. Purchase a modem and voltage adapter based on the power voltage of your new country of origin.
• To avoid having a full meltdown of your computer if for some reason a power surge occurs and you don’t have a surge protector, find out if the power or electricity is reliable and what specific power protector you should have. Trust me, this will save you a lot of headaches and preserve your desktop information if it isn’t based on the cloud.
• There are some modems that don’t run properly in certain countries. Make sure to find out what type of modem that is compatible.
• Before you move, find out what local Internet Service Provider (ISP) is best to use. Local ISPs for the most part are much cheaper than the granddaddy ones and more reliable too. In general, partake in what the locals do.
• Check to ensure you have all the correct software and programs that are compatible in your new home. In addition, there are some local software packages that makes it easier to use your programs in another country.

It’s easy to take for granted when living in the states how everyone is connected especially with smartphones and smart TVs. Digital has made things much better but not every country is up-to-par yet. Do a little research, purchase pertinent adapters and you’ll be able to stay connected before moving out of the country.

Safe moving!

Researching tips to find the best movers – part 2

In part two of my two-part series regarding researching to find the best movers, I’m going to give you tips this week about how to make sure your movers are experienced professionals.

Keep these tips in mind when you are looking into a moving company that has expert skills and professional know-how required to perform a smooth and problem-free location move whether local, state or international move:
• History in business – This is key in so many ways. If a company has been in business a long time with an excellent track record, you know they are more than legitimate and have the experience to provide you with a hassle-free move.
• Number of employees/vendors – Research to see if the company has enough employees to get the job done. In other words, do they have solid vendors and experienced professionals to do the move or do they hire seasonally with inexperienced workers who lack experience and can ruin your move.
• Valuable/specialty items – Check to see if the company has moved specialty items before such as a Jacuzzi, sauna, pool table, expensive furniture and art. Movers with this experience will do a great job of relocating these items and valuable goods.
• Specialized equipment – No matter how experienced, if your movers don’t have the proper tools and packing supplies, the move could be a disaster.

By doing a little research and making sure the moving company is licensed and highly experienced, you’ll have a quality and uneventful move without any headaches.

Safe moving!

Researching tips to find the best movers – part 1

Last week, I discussed the risks in moving by yourself or doing it on your own. This week, I’m going to provide you tips on how to research moving companies and finding the best moving company when you have decided not to DIY. Note, when looking for moving companies, they don’t have to be in your area to move your household goods. I’m located here in Seattle but I move people’s goods to all over the world by utilizing the best moving professionals out there.

There are many reputable moving companies throughout the U.S., most are solid and do a good job. However, some movers are in business that shouldn’t be in business and are incompetent.

Here are some key tips to keep in mind when researching and considering hiring a professional moving company and avoiding a sour lemon organization:
Confirm licenses – Professional movers are required to have licenses. Companies need intrastate and interstate moving licensing. If you are moving overseas, make sure they have an international moving license. You can go to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and look up to make sure they are certified and insured.
Bonded and insured for damage – Make sure your moving company is covered by both. If the company is reliable, they will automatically provide you with basic liability protection. But the insurance coverage is limited. A great company will offer full value protection for all of your household goods so if any items are damaged or missing during transit, you will receive 100 percent of the value back.
Moving associations – Most reliable moving companies belong to a moving association or other type of organization. Why? Because membership provides credibility along with the quality of standards rules the association requires of each company in their membership. If a company holds an accreditation from a reputable association, it’s a guarantee of reliability and professionalism.
Business rating online – Positive ratings and awards are a great sign to demonstrate it’s an awesome company to hire. Here at Rainier, we pride ourselves with excellent testimonials year end and year out. Check with the BBB to make sure it’s a solid organization.
Online company profile – The Internet has made it easy now to research into a company’s profile to find out how reliable they are. Read customer reviews (we have a page dedicated to Rainier reviews) and visit websites to look for evidence of trustworthiness and competence or lack thereof.

By doing your research and homework before hiring a moving company, it will go a long way to ensure you hire a solid moving company.

Safe moving!

Risks to avoid when moving overseas

When you are moving overseas whether it’s for employment reasons or you just want a different scenery and lifestyle, it’s ideal to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before jetting off. Throughout my career at Rainier Overseas, I’ve seen many risks people take when moving to another country.

Relocating overseas is hard work and there are plenty of potential problems to trip you along the way. I’m going to share with you the six major risks or blunders I’ve seen people make so you can avoid them like the plaque and have a safer and successful move to a foreign land.

False premise:
Vacationing at your destination will be the same when you live there. Taking a vacation is a lot different than living there long-term. No matter where you live, you will always have daily frustrations and routines. In other words, unless you are Bill Gates, you will still have to go to work, access public services, and clean your toilet wherever you live in the world. Minimize risk by researching daily living at your destination.

Not doing your research:
Make sure you do your research before you move. Research should include looking into local laws, customs, taxes, building regulations, the health and education systems, and the public transport systems. These all will be part of your daily life and in case of things like the health system, we are talking about your health and the quality of it.

Job over-commitment:
Just because you’ve always dreamed about teaching English in Brazil doesn’t mean you will love it. Don’t sign too long of a contract for work because if things don’t work out, or and for whatever reason you can’t overcome the barriers, it will reflect badly on you with your employer if you break your contract.

Purchasing too soon:
Be willing to rent for several months before you decide to purchase a new home. This will save you a lot of headaches because you may learn that your new neighborhood is unbearable during the offseason, noisy at peak times, and your beautiful old home is right in the path of floodwaters in the rainy season or beautiful mountainsides are vulnerable to forest fires in the summer.

Not learning the language:
Limit risk by learning the language. Become part of the local community by learning the country or city’s language. Your new language skills are best learned by interacting with the natives. It’s easy to fall in the “English” trap by interacting only with those that speak English and not the local language.

On vacation 24/7:
Spending money like there’s no tomorrow, hanging out in bars every night and sitting on the beach all day are fine for two weeks but insolvency, alcoholism, and skin cancer will do little to enhance your living abroad experience much less your pocket book and liver. Immerse yourself in the culture and move away feeling like a visitor and become more of a member of the community.

By simply accepting the fact that things in your new country will be different, not necessarily better or worse, just different, you will be on your way to a much more fulfilling life in your new overseas home.

Safe moving!

Tips to moving your car overseas

Once you secure a good mover and you have a car you want to ship overseas, I have some tips to be able to rev the engine internationally.

Your moving overseas and what do you do if you want your best friend to come with you? That nice shiny four- wheeled friend has taken you all over the place. And now you want your cool car with you when you move. Depending upon where you are moving, you can have your four-wheeled friend shipped overseas by us through an international auto transport company.

There are some other things you need to consider before your car is revved up to be shipped across the Atlantic or elsewhere. Do your research and find out about the country or city’s public transportation system. This varies from country-to-country and you will be able to assess how much you will need to drive your car and what kind of driving conditions you can expect.

Here are some factors to keep-in-mind and to know about:
• Is your automobile street legal in your new city? Remember that Japan, Britain, Australia and other countries require you to drive on the right-side of the road.
• Make sure your professional mover knows about any import tariffs. Your mover lets you know about any of these potential fees so you are not surprised by any unexpected costs.
• Drivers licenses – Most countries will allow you to drive with your existing American driver’s license but only for a specified period.
• Research your new country’s driving regulations and laws before your international move so you know when you need to obtain a new license.
• Purchase insurance – When you move, things can happen so make sure you buy moving insurance for your car especially if it’s a new car. This will provide you peace-of-mind if something should go wrong during the transport.

Follow these tips and ensure you hire a reputable moving company so that your four-wheel friend is taken care of during your overseas move.

Safe moving!

Tips to avoid moving scammers

There are plenty of scammers in the moving industry but unfortunately, people don’t look out for the warning signs of crooked movers. Many so-called “discounted movers” are unethical, shady and disreputable moving outfits who are more interested in liberating you from your cash than delivering your possessions safe and sound.

Disreputable movers
Some of the signs are obvious. Poor phone manners should be a big red flag. A website that looks woefully out of date is another. Likewise, a general feeling that the movers are disorganized or lack experience shouldn’t be ignored. None is proof that a company is dishonest, but if your instincts say there’s something fishy, go with your gut and move away from them as soon as possible.

Tips to avoid scammers
• Company’s reputation, business licenses – Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org) and do your research to insure the moving company you may be hiring is legit and reputable in the industry. Don’t call the company of interest but talk to other people and organizations to check if they are in good standing or not.
• Visual inspections – Ensure the company is willing to come to your home to do visual inspections of the items you wish to move. They will send out a surveyor or assessor with an electronic handheld machine to enter information about your belongings, an estimate of how much possessions you have and the weight of it etc. If someone provides you a quote over the phone without coming to see your stuff, that’s a bad sign.
• Payment in advance – If a moving company requests, demands that you pay in advance or provide an abnormally large portion of the payment before the organization does the move – that should set off alarm bells.
• Insurance policy – Ask if the moving company has an insurance policy for at least $1 million. Most businesses or buildings etc. will require movers to have their own insurance policy before they can enter any building or area. If the movers accidentally ruin the property, the building owners know their property will be covered by the mover’s insurance policy. Request their policy number and ask the name of their insurance company, make a call to insure the mover is insured.

It ultimately comes down to common sense and doing a little homework on your part. Before you commit to a mover, ask around. Check out websites and references. If a company has a bad reputation, somebody will have written about it online. You don’t want to take a chance when it comes to your belongings. Do your research, and you’ll be far less likely to get burned by disreputable and crooked movers.
Safe moving!