Moving house across Europe and the EU countries is increasingly attractive. Migrant workers, relocators and retirees see the benefits of starting afresh in countries across Europe where the sun shines and the cost of living is lower. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, France and Bulgaria are amongst the most popular locations for emigration abroad. EU citizens have the right to move freely to these and other countries, the right to reside and the right to buy and own property.
Yet, regulations and administration varies a lot between countries and the logistics of removals are not always easy. Above all, it’s a long way and the customs are different. Practicalities and language can be more tricky that when you’re moving within your own country.
So here’s an easy guide to get the job done. None of this is rocket science – but it is likely to be all new to you unless you’re a regular mover across countries. Consider consulting a relocation specialist, especially if your destination country is not within the EU, where things can be a little more complicated. They can handle all your paperwork and the admin of border crossings, customs and importation: which differs by country.
Choosing the right company. There are several different routes you can take when choosing an international removals firm. Many claim to be specialists in European moves, and will be large chains with similarly large price tags. An easy Google search on ‘removals to [insert your country]‘ will yield a lot of results. But there are alternatives, depending on where you move to and how many household possessions you have. You can deal direct with logistics and freight forwarding companies, which can work out cheaper. Sea and rail containers, usually 40 foot in length, can be rented and transported all over the world. By going straight to these commercial and industrial shippers, you will save money and a forty foot container will transport most of a 4 bedroom house. This is what the relocation firms do: deal direct with the freight forwarders. So you can save their fees by dealing with those big lorry companies who do European runs every day. Or, you can pay the relocations company to do so on your behalf and have all the hassle, emails and telephone calls handled by them.
If you have less to move, for example you are going on sabbatical for a matter of months, you could consider a man with a van service. There are now many available, for example doing regular UK to France or England to Bulgaria transportation. Facebook and expat forums are a great place to get advice and impartial recommendations for appropriate van services that specialise in moving your belongings to a particular country. This is a much cheaper option than retaining the services of a relocation firm or an international removals service.
Whichever option you choose, make sure your insurance is comprehensive – or the company’s is. This is the only way to protect all your valuables. They should also be experienced, knowing all about the different border crossings, customs declarations and vignettes, tolls and more that are regularly encountered as you pass through different countries en route to your new home.
Of course, there’s also the option of driving yourself and your possessions. Hire a van and get insured if you’re considering it. This tends to appeal a lot when there are just a couple of countries to pass through, for example when moving from the UK to France, Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany. Border crossings are uncomplicated and the entire journey takes just one or two days.