Covering over 180 countries we offer Removals, Shipping, Airfreight and Relocation Support services to make international moving easy.

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Moving house can be complicated, especially when this involves moving overseas. Scroll through our international removals process guide to find out what to expect, but don't worry, we're here to guide you through every step of the journey and make sure your move overseas is simple and stress free.


How International Removals Removals Companies Work

When you hire an international removals company they will provide a range of services to help you move house from packing and wrapping your furniture, loading on a vehicle or into a shipping / airfreight container and transporting to your new home and then unpacking and taking away all the packing materials….and many, like us, offer lots of additional services on top of that to make moving as easy as possible.

International Removals are made up of three main elements:

  • Collection – including packing services (where required) and loading for transport, either into our own vehicle or a shipping or airfreight container
  • Transport to destination – there are a number of international transport options depending on your destination and your budget/speed requirements
  • Delivery – including unloading and unpacking (where required)

For some destinations the collection or delivery may be handled by one of our Harmony Relocation Network service centres, (or a member of the FIDI Association of Professional Movers to ensure consistent high quality services worldwide) with Bournes in full control and wholly responsible for the management of your International Removal



Getting an international removals quote

Most of our International Removals clients arrange their moves 2-3 months in advance, but don’t worry if you’re moving at short notice as our flexible resources mean we can meet your schedules. The cost of moving house internationally is made up of lots of different factors, so when you call us we’ll ask you some questions to find out about your specific move requirements and in most cases will arrange for a Move Consultant to visit to undertake a free, no obligation pre-move survey which will cover:

  • What’s important to you about the move
  • Any questions or concerns you’ve got about the move
  • The amount of items you wish to move (the volume)
  • Access to your property(s) and to the rooms inside
  • Any special items you need moving
  • Advice and tips for your move
  • Explain what happens next

The visit should last no more than an hour (depending on your property size) and will allow us to provide an accurate quotation for your move. Download our guide to your move consultation by clicking here.

Alternatively if you would prefer, or if you only have a small amount to be moved you can complete and return our online inventory to estimate your own volume to be moved or even arrange a live video survey.

From these specifications and feedback from the Move Consultant will start to create your tailored move plan and quotation. Careful planning ensures all the resources including the staff, the packing materials and vehicles required are all in place and that all our costs are clear, upfront and with no hidden charges.


Packing options for International Removals

We offer a range of packing options to meet your needs. Choose from the following, or customise your own move!

In deciding which options you would like you should to consider the time and materials required to pack (you'll need tape, boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap etc) and importantly the packing skills required to ensure your items arrive safely. If you're not sure which option is best for you let us provide a quote with the optional upgrade of a packing service as it may not cost as much as you think and could save you a lot of time and stress in the run up to the move.

Full packing service:
Packing can be time consuming and stressful, so why not let us do this for you? After all, our packers are the experts. All Bournes packing crews undergo in house training by a British Removals Association qualified instructor and will use a range of specially designed packing materials to ensure that all your cherished belongings are ready to be safely and securely transported to your new home.

Part Packing Services:
If you don’t need all of our services you can pick and choose how much or how little help you would like, from a little help with packing books and clothes, assistance dismantling larger furniture items or someone to re-hang all your pictures – you decide, after all, it’s your move.

Fragile packing:
China, glass, ornaments, lamps and pictures can be awkward and difficult to pack, and if not protected properly could be damaged during the move. Our crews will take extra care to pack and wrap all these items safely using specially designed materials and crates ready for their transportation

Non Fragile Packing:
If you would like a little more assistance with packing some of your belongings you can choose for our crew to pack all or just some of the following options.

  • Books / CDs & DVDs / Videos / Records
  • Kitchen Items
  • Shoes / Linen / Bedding / Clothes (our specially designed wardrobe cartons mean that hanging clothes can be packed still on their hangers to ensure that they arrive at your new home in the same good condition that they left)
  • Toys / Sundries
  • Garage / Shed Contents

Self Packing Services (not available for USA)
If you would like to do your own packing we can simply provide a collection, transport and delivery service. We will wrap all your furniture before loading along with your pre-packed boxes to ensure everything is protected for the journey. At your new home we'll unload and place all the items in the rooms you request before leaving you to unpack at your convenience.

If you would like to pack all or some of your own belongings we can provide a range of specially designed packing materials including cartons, bubble wrap and tape. Check out our packing guide for hints and tips for packing yourself.

What about unpacking?
You can choose to handle all your unpacking yourself or select our standard unpacking service which includes unpacking your items from cartons onto flat surfaces.

Alternatively, if you would like a little more assistance with your unpacking you can select our housemaid service. The housemaid will help you with unpacking items into cupboards, hanging pictures and mirrors, putting up curtains, and more, to allow you to get on with settling in to your new home.

Special Care Furniture - Export Wrapping
If you have furniture that requires extra protection then we can wrap using a range of specially designed materials including BubbleCraft and 5ply paper blankets to ensure your belongings are sufficiently protected for their journey. (This service comes as standard for international moves or any move involving a period of storage).


International Transport Options

Airfreight available to all destinations
If you need or all of your items quickly airfreight provides the quickest method of transport which means you can be settled in your new home faster. For larger moves this method is not as cost effective as others owing to the higher cost of airfreight

Overland Road Removals to mainland European destinations

  • Exclusive Load Removals: Your own vehicle and you choose your own dates.
  • Direct Load Removals: Choose your own dates but share your vehicle – only pay for the space you use.
  • Part Load Removals: Share a vehicle so you only pay for the space you use, choose a delivery window and we’ll confirm your final delivery date before the vehicle departs.

Sea Shipping

  • Full (Exclusive) Container Load (FCL):
    Your goods consignment will be loaded within an exclusive use 20 or 40 foot steel container which will be sealed and transported to the port for shipping. At destination the container will be customs cleared, delivered and unloaded at your residence. This service is direct therefore provides the quickest transit time by sea and still offers the most cost effective solution for larger volumes of belongings (the average 3 bedroom home would fill approximately one 20ft container of goods)
  • Shared Container Services:
    We offer two types of shared container services depending on your destination and how quickly you’d like delivery.
  • Less than Container Load (LCL):
    If you are moving a smaller volume of belongings we offer shared container services where you share the space in a steel container with other customers moving to the same destination. Your belongings are over cased in a wooden lift van before loading into a steel container by a consolidator. The container is shipped to destination where your belongings are customs cleared, deconsolidated, delivered and unloaded at your residence. LCL is a cost effective method of shipping if you do not wish to wait too long for your shipments as you only pay for the space you use and transit times are only a few days slower than an exclusive load which results simply from the consolidation and deconsolidation period.
  • Groupage service to Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada:
    If you are moving a smaller volume of belongings we offer shared container services where you share the space in a steel container with other Bournes customers moving to the same destination. Groupage offers a cost effective method of shipping as you only pay for the space you use; however, transit times are slightly slower than a dedicated container. Ask your Move Consultant about current transit times.



Comparing International Removals Quotations

Our quotes are made up of two sections, your basic removal charge for the services you’ve requested and then additional services for those that you’ve asked for as optional or that we would recommend you include.

Once you’ve received all your quotations you’ll need to check a few things to make sure you’re comparing prices on a like-for-like basis. Make sure you check exclusions and inclusions and check that they are all working on the same:

  • Volume (if the quotation doesn’t show this, ask – this will allow you to check that no one missed anything or included something they shouldn’t which could skew their price)
  • Packing services (including crating or special wrapping of certain items)
  • Packing materials
  • Storage and final delivery (if your move involves a period in store)
  • Transport options and speed of delivery (exclusive service vs. a part load or groupage consignment)
  • Extra services such as dismantling furniture
  • Access to properties

Don’t forget to compare the costs of any additional services you are going to take, such as waivers or insurance or any third party charges such as customs inspections or handling charges that are not included in your fixed quote.

If a company is submitting a quote without visiting your home to view your belongings make sure you know clearly what the quote is based on and the process for additional charges should the move specification (volume, access, etc) be different from what the removals company expects or assumes.

Remember, price isn't everything. Does the company provide any reviews on their website, or even better on an independent website such as the BAR’s Trusted Mover site and research to make sure a company is part of the industry’s professional associations to determine which companies have a solid international reputation. Happy customers and objective, trusted referrals can say a lot about the company you consider for your move. Spending a bit more on a reputable company will be worth it in the end as you’ll be dealing with experienced international professionals and there won’t be any unpleasant surprises during the move or on the bill.


Booking your International Removal

Once you are happy with your quotation and you know the dates of your move please telephone or email us as soon as possible to let us know you’d like us to book your crew and vehicle for moving day.

Once we’ve booked your resources we will ask you to sign and return your acceptance form which contains your move details and any optional services you would like us to provide by ticking the relevant boxes.

Please ensure you read and understand our terms and conditions on the reverse of your quotation as signing the acceptance forms our contractual agreement. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask your move consultant.

We require payment for your move at least 7 working days in advance. We accept credit and debit card payment via telephone or online 24/7 (click here for our payment portal). We can also accept cheques.

Pre-payment in advance of your move is standard industry practice, however, we understand that you may be concerned regarding your up front payment should anything happen before your move is complete. That is why Bournes is a member of the BAR Overseas moving group. As part of this group we subscribe to the IMMI payment protection scheme. IMMI protection gives you the peace of mind that should anything happen to our company while your goods are in transit your belongings will still be delivered safely and on time with the same standards of service you were promised, as another BAR Overseas member will step in to complete the move at no extra cost or inconvenience to you.


Insurance & Waivers

Bournes provides a range of additional Insurance and Waiver options for customers moving in the UK to protect you against the unexpected during the course of your move.

Comprehensive Removals Insurance for your belongings
While we pledge our greatest care and expertise, occasionally accidents can occur. A relatively small investment in insurance will guarantee your valuable and personal possessions are covered for damage throughout your move. The benefits of insurance, and the peace of mind that it provides, means its inclusion is always recommended. Click here to find out more about our insurance cover.

Cancellation / Postponement Protection Waiver
We all know things can change quickly in the process of moving house. Like most BAR movers’ standard terms and conditions we reserve the right to charge a percentage of your move costs if you cancel/postpone your move at short notice (usually within 10 days). Our cancellation waiver covers you in the event that you need to change your move schedule at the last minute. This means that you don’t have to worry about additional charges if your plans have to change as we agree to waive the charges in clause 6 upon payment by you of the cancellation waiver charge prior to commencement of the services. This waiver entitles you to only one cancellation or postponement.


Prepare for move day

Your move coordinator will discuss with you all the documentation you will need to complete or provide in order to move your belongings overseas. They will provide you (where possible) with all the necessary forms and guide you through their completion to make sure everything is with the right people in plenty of time to ensure your move runs smoothly.

Preparing your belongings:
If you have selected our full packing services you don’t need to do anything to prepare your items to move. In your move plan we will specifically list any tasks that you have not selected for our crews to undertake and which will therefore be your responsibility to complete prior to the crew arrival. These may include:

  • Self assembly furniture
    If this requires dismantling for moving this will need to be done prior to the move. Please let us know if you’d like our crews to handle this for you and we can include this in your quotation.
  • Attics and lofts
    If the attic or loft is not boarded and lit or does not have safe access our crew cannot enter. Any attic or loft items will need to be taken down and placed in another room ready to be moved.
  • Cookers / washing machines / fridges and freezers
    Fridges and freezers will need to be defrosted in plenty of time to be dried thoroughly before moving. Cookers will need to be disconnected (by approved CORGI agents for gas cookers) and washing machines drained. Washing machines should be secured with the brackets supplied by the manufacturer for transportation.
  • Fixtures and fittings / curtains / blinds
    Fittings will need to be taken down ready to be packed and moved by the crew.
  • Garages and sheds
    We cannot transport flammable substances (e.g.,. tins of paint, gas bottles, etc) and therefore request that these items are sorted with rubbish and discarded in advance
  • Access / Parking
    We would advise letting your neighbours at both collection and delivery address know of your move date if our vehicles are going to cause them any inconvenience. If it is required and you have not asked us to do so on your behalf please ensure any parking arrangements are made in advance.
  • Packing
    If you have chosen a self or part pack move all your packing will need to be done ready for our crew to arrive. Please let us know if you decide closer to move day that you need a little extra help with this and we can arrange for our crews to assist.

If you have chosen to do your own packing it is important to use the appropriate containers for different items. Click here to view our guide. We will be happy to provide you with a quotation for pre-delivery of cartons and packing material for you to use.



Our crews will arrive at your home at a time pre-arranged between you and your move manager. Our crews are highly experienced and understand the pressures of moving day so will carry out your move in a friendly, caring and professional manner and help in any way they can. When we arrive we will prepare your home for the move by protecting carpets and surfaces before loading your belongings onto our vehicles ready to be transported to their new home.

On arrival your team leader will introduce himself and his crew. He’ll then undertake a quick walk through of your property with you to make sure he understands everything that is important to you and to let you know the plans for move day. If there is anything you want kept separately or anything you don’t want to be moved either move these items to a dedicated area of your home or point them out to the team leader on arrival.

We’ll take a full inventory of the items loaded. This is for customs purposes as well as to provide a quick way to locate your items which you’ll be asked to check off on delivery to make sure that everything has been delivered as agreed.

Children & Pets
When possible try to make arrangements for children and/or pets to be looked after on moving day. If children can’t be taken care of try to settle them in one place with an activity such as a colouring book or a toy or, for older children, give them an age appropriate task to help them feel involved. See our guide to moving with children for more advice.



For sea shipments and airfreight:
While your goods are in transit we will keep you up to date with progress and ensure everything is running to plan. Once we are informed of the estimated arrival date at the destination port we will contact you to arrange final dates for delivery to your new home. On delivery our crew will arrive at the agreed date and time to unload, unpack and place your items onto flat surfaces as well as to reassemble any items that we are handling on your behalf.

You can keep track of your shipment online via our secure web portal.

For some destinations you will be required to attend customs clearance in person. Your Move Coordinator will advise you of this process when preparing for your move.

For Road removals
For exclusive moves your belongings will travel by road to your destination and on arrival will be unloaded, unpacked and placed onto flat surfaces. For part load moves we will arrange a date within your agreed delivery window to arrive at your destination to unload, unpack and place onto flat surfaces as well as to reassemble any items that we are handling on your behalf.


At Destination

Once your shipment has arrived at destination we will arrange for it to clear customs and be delivered to your new home. As you concentrate on settling in and enjoying your new home our crew will unload all your belongings and place them in the correct rooms at your request. If you have selected unpacking services we will then unpack and place your items on to flat surfaces exactly where you require as per your move plan


Post Move

When your move is complete our crew will make sure you’re happy with everything before leaving you to get settled in your new home. If you need us post move (with any extra help or to collect used boxes) or if you have any problems or any issues that couldn’t be rectified on move day then your coordinator and our dedicated quality manager are here to assist.


Contact us to get a customised quote for your move and find out how the process could work for you.