How to Develop a Budget for Your International Move

November 11, 2020

Studies show that hundreds of thousands of Brits move abroad every year, whether for work or personal reasons. As you prepare for your move, it is important to have an appropriate plan and thorough budget. With proper budgeting, you have a clear picture of upcoming expenses, and this will help to avoid costs getting out of control. Your budget should include all expenses such transportation of furniture and other goods, removal insurance, finding a residence your destination, and so on.

Though it’s easy to list out the expenses, the exact amount that each item will cost will depend on many factors such as the destination, you lifestyle and your specific personal requirements. That being said, in this article we’ll give you a rough idea of expected expenses and important things to keep in mind when developing the budget for your big move.

Travel Expenses

It is advisable to book your flight tickets in advance to get a good deal. Usually, people choose a date to travel and look for cheap tickets for that date. However, some apps and sites will show you the dates when tickets will be at their cheapest. If your travel date can be flexible, then it’s better to use such services to find cheap dates and plan your travel accordingly.

Visa expenses should also be included in your travel budget. These could vary based on many factors and certain factors can reduce this cost, such as if you have family members in the destination country. The typical visa expenses in most countries range between around £500 and £2000. You may also need to include expenses for things such as vaccinations before embarking on your journey.

Shipping and Transportation Expenses

The transportation of furniture and other belongings is a major area of expense, but you can avoid unnecessary expenses to a great extent by planning well in advance. For example, sea freight offers significant savings compared to air freight even though it can take even up to ten times the transit time.

There are many other cost-deciding factors when it comes to shipping containers. For instance, a shared container costs far less compared to booking an exclusive one. Also, various shipping providers can have large differences when it comes to processes and policies. Some have fixed palette sizes with corresponding fixed charges which you have to pay even if you don’t require a palette of that size. Others are more flexible and you only pay for what you send.

On the other hand, if you have enough items to fill a container this may actually be more cost-effective, not to mention having the peace of mind that your possessions are safely in their own container. To give you an idea, a 20ft container from the UK to New York will cost you £1,506, while a 40ft container will set you back £1,943. See a breakdown of the shipping and moving costs from the UK to USA here.

Packing, unpacking, removals insurance, local transportation, customs duty are also factors to consider along with shipping costs. Do your research, compare quotes and find the cheapest and best service.

Costs at your Destination

It is important to have a clear idea of your living expenses in your destination city or country, including costs like housing, clothing, food, utilities, health insurance and schooling as a part of proper planning. Weigh the pros and cons, as some countries may have lower living costs, yet may be lacking on certain other fronts. Many factors, such as whether you will opt to buy a house or rent one can drastically alter the budget.

Be prepared that even after you arrive in your new home it may take some time for you to settle in. There are many grey areas, and unexpected expenses may pop up from time to time. You should be flexible and be prepared for unexpected expenses to pop up, especially in the first few months.

Costs in the UK

After you leave the UK, you may have many things left behind, representing additionally expenses even while you are living abroad. You might have left behind belongings that need to be stored and managed.

Another factor to consider while budgeting is that you may need to keep paying taxes even after you leave the UK. It is prudent to seek expert advice on tax and other legal matters so that you don’t face headaches later on and spend more money than necessary. This will also mean you are fully aware of all expected expenses and can budget accordingly.

When you move overseas, it is important to carefully plan and track your budget. It is advisable to have a detailed plan and a realistic budget sketched out well in advance of the move. You budget should be complete and include every expected expense, from the big to the small. This will help to minimise your costs and avoid nasty surprises!


Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator

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