Sooner or later, moving day arrives for almost every expat. Whether your belongings are bound for Stanley or Sydney, relocation is enough to send most of us into a nail-biting panic. Fear not. Here, a couple of our readers share their straightforward and stress-free moving experiences, and we provide some useful tips for those heading further afield.
“I’ve moved four times in the past few years: from Hong Kong to Singapore for work, then back to Hong Kong to a village house, then back to the city, and then a few months later to the Southside.
Each move has involved me and my three cats, along with all my furniture, including my baby grand piano. I also have a small statute of the Virgin Mary and, when I moved back to Hong Kong from Singapore, I found her all alone in a box. Out of respect for my religion, the movers didn’t pack her with my other stuff. It was a very respectful gesture.
Each time I’ve moved, I’ve engaged the services of reloSMART. I was more than satisfied with their services and wouldn’t use any other companies – what I love most about using reloSMART is their speed at packing and unpacking. My first move to Singapore involved around 110 boxes, and when I moved back to Hong Kong nine months later I had 130 boxes; the number increases every time I move! The move is also not the easiest when I tend to live only in walkups.
To be honest, the reason I chose reloSMART over other companies initially was because of their Pet Relocation Services; from the first phone call, I could quickly identify the consultant as a crazy pet lover. Since I was going to use them for my pets, I decided to try them out with everything else. I’m so happy I did!”
2561 3030 | relosmart.asia
“My husband and I, and our two children (ages 4 and 2) recently relocated to Hong Kong from Singapore; this was our third international move. In terms of the quantity of goods, we had a large amount of kitchenware and clothing to move, but not a great deal of furniture, aside from our leather sofa. Also in our shipment were my most cherished Chanel purses, which I was confident Crown would take care of. We didn’t have any special requirements, other than making sure everything was wrapped, packaged and labelled accordingly.
We chose Crown based on recommendations from my husband’s work colleagues in Hong Kong, and we were happy with the move. The team in Singapore was extremely competent, professional and organised. They arrived early on both scheduled days for packing and the actual move, and they packed each item carefully, and labelled all the boxes perfectly. I was particularly impressed with the packing of our paintings.
On the day of the move, everything went as planned. The supervisor in charge knew what needed to be done, and far surpassed our expectations. We moved into our flat two weeks after we arrived in Hong Kong. On the day of the move, the Hong Kong team was punctual, professional, efficient and helpful.
I think what helped make this move successful was the constant communication between my husband and the Crown team in Hong Kong. Our move was truly stress-free and hassle-free thanks to Crown Relocation.”
2636 8388 | crownrelo.com
You may have arrived with just one suitcase and an iPad or Blackberry. When it’s time to leave, though, you won’t believe how much you’ve accumulated! If you need to relocate furniture, children and pets, then self-packing is not recommended – especially if you value your sanity (and your marriage). International movers such as the two mentioned by our readers on the previous page, and the likes of Allied Pickfords and UniGroup Relocation, typically provide the following services or will have access to service companies who provide them.
- Packing of your possessions, including all packing materials
- Insurance to cover anything that gets lost or damaged during transit
- Customs clearance and import duty
- Door-to-door delivery and unpacking at the other end
- Putting up pictures and arranging furniture
- Shipping can take anywhere between three and six weeks. So, if a long vacation isn’t feasible, you may want to consider renting a serviced apartment. If you’re going back to a home country, a long stay with family, no matter how much you love them, can make the move even more stressful.
Here are some moving tips you may find helpful:
Before your movers pack up the contents of your desk, including your passport and visa, it’s a good idea to put all the essentials to one side. It can be useful to keep other valuable documents with you, such as birth and marriage certificates, academic certificates, wills, recent bank statements, pay-slips, and income tax returns.
Antiques and valuables:
Although moving companies are experts at moving furniture, carting your favourite 200-year-old cabinet across the globe isn’t necessarily a good idea. If you’re moving on to a humid or extremely dry location, you may wish to consider storing special heirlooms with family or friends back home.
If your home country doesn’t work on the British system, you’ll need adapters for your electrical appliances you bought in Hong Kong. If you come from North America or Japan, where the voltage is 100-127V, you should know that the voltage here is 224-240V. Adapters and transformers are easily available in hardware stores.
Pets and quarantine:
- For many expats, our furry friends are part of the family and will accompany us on our exotic posting. To take a pet out of Hong Kong, you need to get a Health Certificate approved by the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) from a local vet.
- Depending on the destination, some animals may require a period of quarantine. Contact the embassy in the new country of residence for up to date information on importing animals.
- US citizens returning home can consult the US Government travel site or their Department of Agriculture.
- Expats returning to the UK can find out more at the gov.uk website. The UK has stricter laws than many countries, with the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) maintaining guidelines for transportation that must be adhered to.
Allied Pickfords: 2736 6032 | alliedpickfords.com.hk
UniGroup Relocation: 2418 4333 | firstname.lastname@example.org
See more useful tips in our Living in Hong Kong section: