Arizona to New Zealand move - least expensive?
February 24, 2006 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Question for a friend... She's hoping to move to New Zealand, and wants an inexpensive way to ship her stuff.

She currently lives in Arizona. Her move should happen within 6-12 months, so time is not critical. Yet. She doesn't have a lot of stuff; an armoire, telescope, five boxes of books, guitar and a closet of clothes. And maybe one or two other boxes.

I've sent her links to big moving companies (Allied, U-Haul, etc.) that do international, which she is in the process of researching.

Any advice, helpful hints, cautionary tales welcome. Thanks!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does the armoire really needs to be moved to NZ? I would sell it at home and buy a new one at destination, if it is needed at all.
posted by jchgf at 8:29 AM on February 24, 2006

Response by poster: That's what I'd do, but it is a family heirloom.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:36 AM on February 24, 2006

So she's moving for good, right? She can't put the armoire into storage for x-years?

And does she have to keep the books?

(I did the reverse move 4 years ago with only 2 suitcases. Sold everything I owned and kept photos, clothes, cds and 5 books.)
posted by gaspode at 8:46 AM on February 24, 2006

There's good advice on the forums on this site. (Registration is required, but it's free and they don't spam.)
posted by luneray at 8:55 AM on February 24, 2006

Find out who handles customs on the receiving end and exactly how much it will cost. I've had my stuff held hostage to additional "customs clearance fees" and been charged customs tariffs on the packing and shipping costs.
posted by fuzz at 9:30 AM on February 24, 2006

New Zealand Shipping
posted by DirtyCreature at 9:56 AM on February 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

I discovered something interesting when shipping stuff to China. The post office has blue plastic zipper bags that come in various sizes including a pretty large one.

Shipments consolidated in one of these bags are much cheaper.

But be aware that one post office denied such a thing existed, finally got straightened out at the main NYC office.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:02 AM on February 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

I know it is possible to get a part share of shipping container and send stuff by sea. It takes a long time but it's meant to be the cheapest way.
posted by hardcode at 11:05 AM on February 24, 2006

Don't trust the guitar to shipping of any kind, is my thought. Carry it as hand luggage if you can.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 12:28 PM on February 24, 2006

Cautionary tale / Helpful hint : Follow the labelling instructions on the site I gave you carefully. Pack delicate things well and use lots of newspaper and clothes to cushion the impact of a few bumps. Mark every box with FRAGILE. Do NOT write the contents of the box on the outside of the box itself but DO keep an inventory of every box for your own records. Anything whose breakage would totally kill you, carry on the plane with you or find an alternative route. 95% of times, everything runs completely smoothly.
posted by DirtyCreature at 12:42 PM on February 24, 2006

Oh and don't expect slick front-of-shop, door-to-door, customer-friendly service like you would get with a big removal company. We're talking about your stuff stowing a ride with a commercial shipping company at a small fraction of the cost. It works and works very well if you follow instructions but it's not slick.
posted by DirtyCreature at 12:51 PM on February 24, 2006

We used a third party Less than Container Load (LCL) shipper which contracted with Oceanbridge out of Auckland. The third party sucked but Oceanbridge handled all of our freight (two pallets worth) issues superbly. It does take a while however. Everything should be put in plastic bags, placed in as uniform sized cardboard boxes as possible, palletized and pallet wrapped. Even so, in all likelihood the boxes will get severely banged up during shipping. It will be cheaper if she arranges the drop off and pick-up from the shipping port, but you can arrange transfer through local shippers if necessary.

Carry the telescope and guitar on the plane unless she has the original shipping containers and their foam liners. Even so, expect it to cost at least $500 but it is cheaper than any form of air shipping. Also, make sure she will be here to recieve them or the dock will start to charge storage after a couple days.

Also, furniture is insanely expensive here so shipping the armoire isn't a bad idea. Finally, make sure there is no dirt, camping equipment, food or animal products (including leather) or you will have to have a visit from the MAF man before you can pick it up. And make sure she has the correct (non-visitor) visa before moving here or they will nail her.
posted by arruns at 2:43 PM on February 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

We did the "Sell most of it all, and put into storage what you want to keep" deal. Antiques are in a U-Haul storage unit. The rest was sold off and we came to Sydney with two suitcases each. We haven't decided on if we are staying permanently, and I would even suggest that your friend hold off sending big things until she is sure she want to live in NZ forever.

Books, unless valuable, should be sold. Way too bulky and heavy to move cheaply. Also, does she have any relatives or friends who could hold onto the armoire until she is certain she wants to make the move permanent?
posted by qwip at 6:05 PM on February 24, 2006

Books, unless valuable, should be sold. Way too bulky and heavy to move cheaply.

Not by ship which is priced by volume and not by weight. Books are one of the easiest things to move by ship because they take up little volume for their equivalent weight. Generally air freight is priced by weight and ship by volume.
posted by DirtyCreature at 6:16 PM on February 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

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