Got Your Sights Set Abroad? Here’s How Much an International Move Costs

Leah Lopez Cardenas
Updated February 24, 2022
A couple furnishing their new apartment together
Photo: StefaNikolic / E+/ Getty Images

Highlights

  • Moving internationally typically costs around $20,000.

  • Shipping furniture internationally generally costs $1,000 to $4,500 per piece.

  • The country you move to will drastically change costs based on many factors.

  • You can save money by doing your own packing and buying new furniture rather than shipping it.

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Moving from the United States to another country? Fantastique! You are beginning an exciting adventure. But of course, you first need to get there with all of your belongings. And understanding the costs associated with an international move and how to budget for your journey is an essential part of successfully planning for life in your new home.

International Average CostMinimum CostMaximum Cost
$20,000$7,000$35,000

How Much Does an International Move Cost by Country?

The most affordable countries to move to from the United States are Mexico and Canada, since you can drive your items to your new location via truck. One of the biggest costs of DIY moving is a moving truck, which generally runs around $40 per day plus the cost of fuel. There may also be a fee if you don’t return the truck to the same location you got it from. But this is still less than shipping items via air or sea freight as you might use to move to a faraway country like the United Kingdom, India, or New Zealand.

How Much Furniture Can I Ship Internationally With My Budget?

Shipping furniture internationally costs between $1,000 and $4,500 per piece. But this depends on the furniture you’re moving—smaller furniture like a bookcase costs $740 on average while shipping a dining set can be closer to $4,500.

$5,000

For this lower-end budget, you may be able to ship a few smaller furniture items or one to two large pieces. Generally expect to pay more than this to move the majority of your belongings, especially if you must ship them via air or sea. If you’re driving a moving truck to your new destination, you’ll be able to take more items for this budget.

$10,000

This mid-range budget will allow you to ship a few large furniture items or around five small or medium pieces. If you have several sentimental furniture pieces you can’t find anywhere else, it may be worth spending this much.

$20,000+

Spending this amount or more may allow you to bring pretty much any furniture you want to take with you. However, if you could more easily buy new furniture in your new home country that you’ll like, that may save you money in the long run and you won’t have to worry about damages to your belongings during the shipping process. Plus, you can likely have the new furniture delivered to your new home from the furniture store which can save you a lot of stress.

How Much Does It Cost to Move Internationally Yourself vs. Hiring a Moving Company?

A room full of stacked cardboard boxes
Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial / Moment / Getty Images

Some tasks involved with moving to another country can be completed on your own to save, including packing and unpacking, as well as moving items yourself from the final destination port to your new home. This last task may still involve renting a moving truck in your new home country, but will likely be more affordable than paying a moving company to move your items from the port to your house for you.

The cost to hire professional movers runs anywhere between $240 and $10,000, but can certainly cost more based on your moving needs.

If you decide to go with a moving company, make sure you select one that is affiliated with an established network of freight forwarders who can deliver your belongings from the United States to virtually anywhere in the world. 

  • Ask if the country you’re moving to is one of their frequent routes. 

  • Make sure the U.S. moving company is experienced with international moves and can guide you through your international moving needs.

  • Watch out for any moving company scams.

What Factors Influence International Moving Costs?

Consider all of these factors so you can budget properly and formulate an overseas move that fits your needs.

Which Country You Move To

Geographically closer countries to the United States generally won’t cost as much to move things, since the journey is shorter and you can use different transportation. For example, countries you can drive to from the United States, such as Mexico and Canada, cost less to move items than countries you have to ship your items to via plane or cargo ship.

Cost to Immigrate

Many countries have visa processing fees. For example, Canada requires an $825 visa processing fee and $225 per dependent child accompanying you to Canada for express entry, plus you must prove you have a substantial amount of savings to support your cost of living there. Most countries also require medical exams, vaccinations, and more. If you hire a lawyer to help you through the process, this will also add to the cost. Every country has different costs and requirements, so check with the embassy of your new home country for a full list.

Well before you move, it’s not a bad idea to meet with the embassy as well. Make sure you have all the immigration paperwork, the correct visas for all family members, and documents for pets in place. This can be very time-intensive, so make sure you do this early in the process.

Cost of Travel to Get There

Once you’re ready to make the move to your new home, you’ll have to book transportation to get you and your family and pets there. Depending on the country you’re going to and whether or not you need to fly there will cost vastly different amounts.

For example, an average one-way flight to Sydney, Australia from the United States in 2022 is around $1,000 per person while a one-way flight from the United States to London, England can be as low as $300 per person, but these prices could change drastically based on the season and when more people start traveling again.

How You Pack

Packing your items yourself rather than hiring a packing service will save you money. Packing a home costs $200 to $2,200 on average. 

However, with all the other stressors involved in uprooting your life to move to another country, having a packing service do the work for you can be helpful if you want to budget for it.

Volume of Your Shipment

Volume is measured by either cubic feet or weight, depending on the final destination of your international move.

If you choose to sell or store most of your belongings and only take what you can fit in a few suitcases aboard your flight, you’ll save considerably on moving costs. However, if you intend to make your new home a long-term or permanent home and need to take everything with you, you’ll spend more on the cost to ship your furniture and other items.

Type of Shipment

If you prefer to have an exclusive container for your shipment via air or sea freight, that will likely cost more than consolidating with other overseas shipments.

Insurance

Moving insurance is worth the cost if you’re shipping precious cargo, like beloved family heirlooms or high-end furniture. The price depends on which type of moving insurance you purchase, including:

  • Full value protection from the moving company: Usually costs 1% of the total estimated value of your household items

  • Released value protection from the moving company: Usually $0.60 per pound per item

  • Third-party or separate liability coverage: Check with your home insurance provider for rates

This means if your shipment totals around 8,000 pounds and the shipper values your items at $6 per pound, you’ll pay $480 for the insurance on a $48,000 total valuation.

Door-to-Door or Door-to-Port Service

If you are looking to save money, a door-to-port service will get your belongings to the airport or seaport of your choice and you can take care of the final delivery to your home yourself.

Additional Storage Needs

If you need a little buffer while you finalize your new flat arrangements, you may want to put your items in storage. Storage unit rental costs range from $50 to $300 per month in the United States, but the price can vary widely based on the country you’re moving to (especially countries with currency valued higher than the dollar), so check out local listings online to find one you can afford—and trust.

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