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International Moving

Shipping furniture overseas: How to get it done on a budget

By December 4, 2022January 27th, 2023No Comments
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Josh Morales

Josh M


Josh started International Van Lines in 2000 and has over 20 years of experience in the International moving industry. He enjoys writing helpful content that helps people make informed decisions about moving to a new country with household goods.

Moving abroad is more than exciting; it can be life-changing. However, there may be a few things you don’t want to leave behind, such as your family, pets, and possibly your furniture.

Shipping furniture overseas may seem complicated, and most people need help knowing where to begin. The good news is we’ve created a guide you can follow for shipping furniture internationally.

Let’s begin:

Furniture shipping moving quote

How much does it cost to ship furniture overseas? 

The average cost for shipping furniture from the US abroad is between $2200 and $9000. The amount of furniture you have, the destination country, and the moving service you require will be the determining factors. You can use the price list below as a guide: 

The most significant cost factor when shipping furniture overseas is the volume. The more stuff you have, the higher the price, so considering getting rid of unwanted stuff before your move will reduce the cost. 

It’s always best to speak with international moving companies that ship household items overseas, but you can use an international moving calculator to help you plan and budget accordingly. 

You should also check out: How much are international moving costs

What costs are involved in shipping furniture abroad? 

Moving household goods to a new country is less complicated than most think. The costs involved are packing, loading, ocean shipping, customs clearance, and delivery. However, you can customize an international shipping solution that fits your budget.

It’s always best to speak with an international moving company about ways to reduce your international moving costs. You can also learn more about moving furniture overseas. 

What’s the best way to ship furniture internationally on a budget?

If you’re moving overseas on a tight budget, you can consider a less expensive service. You can also consider self-packing, but you should weigh the pros and cons. Self-packing for an international move can be grueling, and it will affect your insurance options. 

We suggest speaking with an international mover who can walk you through the moving process and suggest ways to reduce the cost of your move; there are plenty of them.  

Donate furniture when moving abroad

Get rid of unwanted stuff

Moving internationally is a great time to purge, and reducing the load size will help reduce the cost of your move. Start by creating an inventory list of what must go and things you can live without. Then consider donating, selling, or giving away stuff you don’t use. 

Regardless of where you live, you can find a local charity to pick up unwanted furniture at no cost. It’s a great way to save money on your international removal, all while helping those in need. 

Sell stuff online

Selling online furniture is an excellent way to save money on your international move, and you may make a few bucks in the process. You can use an app like KAIYO or Facebook Marketplace to sell locally. 

Give away unused furniture

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to sell unwanted furniture online, you can consider giving it away. You can create a post on social media or find a neighbor that may be interested. 

Can I ship a three-bedroom home overseas for under $5000?

Yes, you can ship a three-bedroom home from the US abroad for under $5000, and here’s how you do it. First, speak with an international relocation company that offers ocean freight. Then ask them about a live load or drop-and-pick service. Last, find the closest port to your destination and request a door-to-port shipping service. 

A live load service is a great way to ship furniture overseas on a budget. However, you will need to be prepared. A driver will show up with a container and wait while you load it. If you need more time, you can try a drop-and-pick service where your container will be dropped at your home and picked up once loaded. 

Lastly, if you’re moving by a port like London or Rotterdam, you can arrange to pick up your furniture from the port of entry. Follow these steps and ship a three-bedroom home overseas for under $5000.

Declutter before moving overseas

Should I self-pack for my international move? 

Self-packing for an international move can be grueling, depending on what you have. Leave it to the pros if you’re on a time crunch or have a bad back. However, if you’re keen on self-packing, here’s what you do: 

Get packing supplies: You can buy packing material online or at any local Home Depot, Uhaul or Lowes

Disassemble: If you’re moving items such as bed frames and shelves of dining tables, you should consider disassembling them for loading the container. It will help prevent damage and will be easier to pack. 

Get blankets & bubble wrap: First, if you’re self-packing and loading your furniture in a container, it will need to be blanket wrapped. Shrink-wrapping fragile items and then using blankets as protection is the best approach.

Use boxes for personal items: In addition to furniture, if you’re moving clothes, books, and shoes, you will need boxes. Make sure that each box is condensed to avoid shifting. You can use t-shirts, blankets, or packing paper as a filler. 

Speaking with an international moving company regarding packing tips is always best.

What’s the least expensive international moving service?  

port-to-port ocean shipping service is the least expensive for shipping furniture overseas. However, a door-to-port service is ideal if you’re shipping a decent amount of furniture and here’s why:

Port warehouses can receive furniture, but they must be palletized. The port will not accept loose furniture making a door-to-port service ideal for people shipping one bedroom or more. A door-to-port service will deliver a container to your home for loading. 

However, if you’re shipping a small number of household items and you can have them palletized, then a port-to-port transportation option will be the least expensive way to get your stuff to your destination country. 

Using reputable international moving companies will save you money

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), nearly 7000 registered moving companies are in the US. However, only about 2% are lisenced to handle ocean freight transportation. Using a reputable moving company will help you avoid a problem like overcharging. 

You must research the best international moving company and confirm they have an active license with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). The FMC is the regulatory agency for ocean shipping. You should also check the Better Business Bureau and online reviews to evaluate a company’s reputation. 

Last, make sure you get up to three international moving estimates that you can compare. Look at the exclusions and ask the right questions. 

shipping furniture by air freight

Can I ship furniture overseas by air freight shipping? 

You can ship furniture overseas by air freight. However, it’s more expensive than sea freight, sometimes double or even triple the cost. But if you’re in a hurry to get your stuff, air freight is the quickest mode of transportation. 

Unlike sea freight, air shipping is based on weight or volume, whichever is greater. Shipping ports and the process will be similar, but if you’re self-packing, everything must be packed and palletized. 

International furniture shipping is best done using sea freight, but you can speak with the global relocation company of your choice about shipping costs. 

How much is international moving insurance, and is it worth it? 

International moving insurance can cost 2% to 4% of your furniture’s declared value. You will have the option of total loss or all-risk insurance coverage. You can find the details below: 

Self-pack insurance: If you opt-out of professional packing service, you can only get total loss coverage. Total loss insurance will only cover the value of the complete loss of your furniture. 

Professional packing insurance: If you’ve decided to hire an international mover to pack your household items, you can get all-risk coverage. It will cover the declared value for single items. 

If you choose not to get insurance, an international removals company is only responsible for 60 cents per lb per item. Moving insurance should be strongly considered when moving furniture abroad. 

Will I pay import taxes when shipping furniture to a new country? 

If you’re moving overseas with used furniture, you will not pay import tax or duties. However, if you’re not moving but shipping furniture overseas to sell, you may pay import tax. 

Import tax and duties depend on the country. It’s best to visit the customs website for your destination to learn about the import process and policies regarding tax and duties. 

How long does it take to ship household items overseas? 

The average transit time for ocean shipping is 4 to 8 weeks. A door-to-door delivery will take longer than a port-to-port delivery. However, if you’re looking for speedy shipping, you can consider air freight which takes 2 to 4 weeks on average. 

Things such as port congestion, weather, and the removal company you work with can affect shipping time frames. However, you can request estimated times of arrival upon requesting an international moving quote. 

International Shipping FAQ:


How often does damage occur when shipping furniture abroad?

Damage to furniture is not typical, but a possibility that you should consider, especially if you’re self-packing. It’s best to look into your international movers’ insurance and claims process in case something happens. 

What does door-to-door delivery include? 

A door-to-door delivery will include pickup from your residence and delivery to your final destination. However, you will have the option to self-pack or have your international mover handle it for you. 

What happens when the movers arrive to pick up my furniture? 

If you hire movers to pack your household items professionally, they will begin with disassembling your furniture. Then they will wrap your furniture with bubble wrap, shrink wrap, and blanket pads. Once completed, they will load your container and be on their way. 

What happens when my stuff arrives at my new home? 

Your furniture items will be placed in each room as needed. International movers will remove debris such as blankets, paper, and bubble wrap. Additionally, they will assemble any items that require assembly. 

How much should I tip the movers? 

Tipping movers is optional, but it is appreciated primarily since they work hard. Assuming they do a good job, you can leave the crew anywhere from $25 to $100 each. Your move size should determine the tip amount.

People also ask:  


How much does it cost to ship furniture to London from New York? 

The cost of shipping furniture to London from New York is $2000 to $9000. The amount of stuff you have and the required service will be the most significant cost factor. 

Is it worth shipping furniture to Australia? 

It’s best to consider whether your household items have sentimental and overall value. The cost of shipping furniture to Australia from the US is $3500 to $12,000. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth spending the money to ship your furniture or buy new furniture in Australia. 

How do people move their furniture to a new country? 

Using an international moving company is the primary way to ship furniture overseas. The most common transportation method is ocean freight shipping because it’s cost-effective. However, if you’re in a hurry to get your stuff, you can consider air freight which is a more expensive service. 

Who are the best international moving companies?

According to Forbes, US News, and News week, International Van Lines, Allied Van Lines, Atlas Van Lines, and North American Van Lines are the best and most affordable international movers in the country. 

Who’s the best international moving company to Canada from the US? 

According to several third-party publications, International Van Lines offers the best moving services to Canada from the US. 

How do I ship a small amount of furniture abroad? 

You can ask about a consolidated shipping service if you’re shipping a few furniture pieces. Most movers offer shared container service, which will help you save money on your move. 

Who are the best international movers in Europe from the US? 

International Van Lines and Allied Van Lines offer weekly shipping and consolidation services to Europe from the US. They both maintain excellent online reviews and have been in business for years. 

What’s the customs clearance process for shipping furniture abroad? 

The customs clearance process in most countries takes 2 to 3 days. However, a customs inspection can delay the clearance process, and you may have additional charges. To avoid customs inspection, you must ensure that your shipment does not contain illegal paraphernalia like weapons, drugs, or items your country prohibits. It’s best to check your destination country’s customs website to confirm their prohibited items


Shipping furniture overseas doesn’t have to break the bank. With some knowledge and research, you can find an economical shipping solution that fits your budget and needs. 

Here at International Van Lines, our specialty is shipping furniture worldwide. We service over 140 countries and offer export and import services for household items. 

Getting an international moving quote is easy. You can fill out an online form or call one of our relocation coordinators. Moving overseas is exciting, and we wish you the best of luck with your new venture. 


  1. Country guides for importing household goods
  2. International moving services guide
  3. International moving checklist
  4. Buy packing materials online
  5. International Movers in New York
  6. International movers in Los Angeles
  7. Guide for moving furniture overseas
  8. Moving furniture to Canada

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