Well, time to pack and prepare the trip “over the lake” like i heard so many times in the UK. So what do i had to prepare and take? I will talk this in sections:
1 – Clothes and stuff – All my clothes were packed and shipped by AMJ Campbell International, this group subcontracts other companies local and abroad to do the shipment.
2 – TVs, Stereos, electronics in general – In US everything works with 110v not 220v like in Europe so have a look at the electronics and see if they work with 110V, many do like modern TVs, laptops, etc. All the others i sold online before i moved abroad, well almost all of them. I kept an old stereo i had because it had sentimental value, i just went online and bought a converter/transformer from 220v to 110v, be sure it can handle the Watts that your device needs. Also buy a socket converter since the power sockets are also different.
3 – Pets, 2 dogs and 1 turtle – The only company i trust to fly my 2 dogs is KLM, a Dutch company that has a good reputation about the way it treats pets and i wanted to go on the same plane as them. So i booked my flight from Netherlands to US (Texas -Houston) and also arranged for my dogs to go on the same flight, just call the airline and see their rules and regulations, like size of kennels and what they need to have. They have options to fly as cargo (had to use another company), as luggage , in the cabin, so see the rules here on this LINK .
For the turtle it was a different story, it had to go as Cargo so i could not do it directly with KLM. I used a third party company that i do not remember the name but if you need info on it please contact me and i´ll find out.
Because i chose KLM i had to drive from UK to Netherlands with a Friend so i was able to catch the flight there. Unfortunately in EU is not common to find one way car rental as it is in the US.
4 – Furniture – Too expensive, only took a small one person sofa because it had sentimental value, it is cheaper just to sell it an buy new ones in the destination.
5 – Valuables like jewellery – Do not ship it, take it with you, i had some semi valuable jewellery to take, i just put all in a small stroller, they will be checked in customs but if you declare the items you have nothing to worry about. Usually you have a $1600 exemption, see more here on this LINK. On the Airport they just looked at it and moved on, nothing really happened, i did not have diamonds and rubies, just small items in Gold and silver.
6 – Important paperwork – Take it with you if possible, if not ship it but be sure you do not need it on your destination, your goods will take weeks to arrive if not more.
7 – Bicycles, tools – just ship.
Unfortunately is difficult to find a company that will take all specially when there are so many restrictions on US customs. Another issue i had was that i was going to live for the first 6 month on an apartment, before i can see some houses and make the final move, so where was i going to put all the boxes? They would not fit in the apartment. Usually if you use a good transport company they will have storage place and will keep things for you for a while for a fee and that was what i did, after 6 months they brought all the stuff to my new house.
Like i mentioned before US customs have a lot of rules, things you cannot ship, like foods, guns, and other things that you can see on these documents:
Rented a van in the UK, packed everything and on the road i went. I first made the stop on the company to ship my Turtle as cargo on the same flight , then i went to the Airport to made the check in. The Dogs already had to be inside the Kennels. In summary my 10 years Husky and 6 mixed breed dogs arrived very well at Houston Airport. Avoid going trough Chicago, Chicago is a huge messy Airport. In the airport you have certain people that for some money will take your bags in a trolley and will help you get outside, just do it, i gave the guy $20 and i never moved so fast trough customs. I believe he even knew the people in customs since they checked almost nothing.
On the check out process they will ask you for your visa papers again and ask a few questions, just because you had the ok from the embassy it does not assure 100% that they will let you pass when you arrive, so have everything with you at hand.
In Houston i went to the nearest Car rental and rented a 12 seat van , they always say they do not permit pets, just clean the car very well after – specially vacuum all the hair and they will never know.
I reached my apartment after a long trip ready for a new start.