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The excitement has settled in. You are about to relocate to Hong Kong and now it’s time to get cracking with transferring yourself, family and belongings to one of the world’s greatest cities with as less fuss and pain as sensibly possible.
No matter whether you’re being transferred, have accepted a new job or are heading to start up or continue a business, the things that make you feel the most at home when moving to a new country, is to have your belongings and the things that are important to you with you. Taking into consideration the difference between an agreed amount of time to be living abroad, or if you are looking at a more permanent future, the decisions have to be made about what to take with you and what to leave behind.
For singles this can be an easy step with serviced fully furnished apartments in abundance in Hong Kong, or rented places, some with and some without furniture. If this is your situation, you may decide to bring just clothes and personal belongings, or you may want to move everything. Hong Kong has a very good system with stores such as IKEA for basic furniture and household items, which can be ordered on-line, delivered and assembled in one go. There are also fabulous European and imported furniture stores with every imaginable brand to find the special pieces that you desire.
Families do have more things to consider like schooling, suitable living locations, bringing pets etc and these requirements should hopefully have been discussed during the relocating consideration and acceptance process. The more your requirements and needs that can be negotiated and sorted out well in advance, the better your relocation experience will be. As for moving household possessions there are important facts that you can be mindful of, in advance, to minimize the disruption to you and your family.
To be well organized and shorten the amount of time that you may be without your possessions, there are a number of steps you can take well ahead of moving day to take the stress out of the process.
Tip 1 - Take photos of all of your possessions that you will be moving. Make sure the images can be safely stored and backed up in the event something goes missing, or is damaged in any way during shipping and transportation.
Tip 2 - Classify your items into categories of things you urgently need to have with you, things that will be important to you to have within the next week, and things that you can live without for a month or so. During the packing process this will help the packers to keep things in order for the containers or trucks, so that when it comes to unpacking your belongings, the urgent items get offloaded first and can get to you quickly, or may be transported separately if urgent.
Tip 3 - You may have been given a budget and/or preferred company to use for your packing/shipping/delivery service. Always make sure you buy or use “door to door” service from only one company. Don’t try and minimize costs by using different carriers and services for each portion of the process. If something goes wrong along the way, it is far more difficult to get any one company at a particular point to accept responsibility for loss or damages and although this can be a cheaper option, it’s risky to have your belongings in the hands of more than one shipper. Ensure that they provide a full service of packing and loading, origin customs clearance, freight, import customs clearance and delivery.
Tip 4 - Request full assistance to fill in customs forms. This should be at no extra cost and included in the standard service. Ask the sales consultant to specify this assistance in their quotation to you. This will save you a huge amount of time and stress, and avoid you having to resubmit in case of errors. The relocation experts are familiar with these documents and can fill out quickly and accurately for you.
Tip 5 - Once you’ve chosen your relocation specialist, ask then to give you two or even three scenarios that you can choose from. As experts, they will be able to give you the best solutions for whether you need to have your things shipped quickly to meet you when you arrive in Hong Kong, or you may have more time and can save on the costs if you don’t urgently need your possessions by having a furnished or serviced apartment to go to on arrival for a specified time.
Tip 6 - Ensure the relocation/shipping company give you the contact name and phone number of their representative who is in charge of your shipment for every step of the way. If there are any issues during the consignment, you then have access to the right person who knows about your consignment and can give you any updates on process and destination progress. Also, if for example, your plans change on arrival, ie you need to hold off delivery due to un-for-seen circumstances or perhaps a delivery address is changed, this helps you to get information quickly to avoid delays and an incorrect delivery which could be costly with additional charges.
Tip 7 - Always over-insure your possessions. The likelihood that they will arrive in perfect condition because you chose a highly reputed company is excellent. However there can be completely un-for-seen situations where the best care in the world is not a factor, for example in the unlikely event where a ship may sink or an earthquake happens in a location where your belongings are in transit.
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