Overseas Shipping for Students and Small Movers

For students - There are 3 broad categories to consider when shipping overseas

*Excess baggage - If you have a small amount of baggage, phone around to see if an airline will extend your baggage allowance. You may need an official letter from your college, and you may well not get enough extra allowance, but it's worth a go.

*Boxed and single items which do not include furniture, and which exceed your baggage allowance.


If you wish to ship furniture, expect costs to get expensive. It will need to be professionally wrapped, possibly crated, and may require 2 or more men to handle it at every stage. You will probably need to share a sea-container. You should investigate delivering to, and picking up from, the shippers depot for savings.

You will require Quality packaging

Maybe you have seen those airport baggage handlers throwing cases around...
The cartons used for shipping are extra durable...and you need to pack them very thoroughly.

The packaging you need will probably not be available from the mail order companies listed elsewhere on this site. Their boxes tend to be thin to save costs.
There are however, good quality suppliers listed

You should consult your shipper, who may supply cartons, but it may be a good idea to stack one box inside a larger one for extra protection. You should pad the space between them, possibly with old clothes.

Make sure The shipper provides you with an inventory form to complete, together with labels.

How to save on shipping costs

1) Obtain more than 2 written quotes

2) Deliver and collect from the shippers depot, or investigate the cost of having a small removal firm deliver/pick up at each end and compare that cost to the shippers charge. (or you could hire a van)

3) Air freight is charged by weight, and you may have a choice of tariffs depending on how quickly you need your property shipped. sea freight is charged by volume and is slow

4) Advertise (on the message board) for partners to group up a load (and search for shippers who will offer a discount).

5) Investigate your insurance options: Self packed items may be excluded from breakage cover, and you should try to avoid sending fragile items - if possible take them with your hand luggage. Beware of 'exlusion', 'excess' and 'limits to liability' clauses in any policy you pay for.
As always, there is no substitute for proper and (over protective) packing.

The cover you must have is for complete or partial loss or destruction, or the insolvency of a carrier or storer, which may cause your property to be impounded.

You could contact the 'British Association of Removers' at info@bar.co.uk
or consult a good insurance broker - possibly your student specialist.

I have included some specialist small move shippers at www.student-movers-forum.com/overseas shipping
You can read advice on small moves, packing and insurance, at www.student-movers-forum.com.

About the Author

The author has spent 25 years in various service industries, including the last 8 in the removals sector.