How Much Does it Cost to Move? Common Relocation Expenses

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Bryan Smith - May, 23 2024

5 min read

About the author

Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad

As you begin your study abroad journey, you’re likely weighing up how you’ll make your move to a new country - and depending on your housing plans, you might be intending to travel light or instead relocate some of your possessions to your new home.

Either way, it’s vital to consider what expenses you’re likely to face and set up an efficient budget that can help you - and potentially your spouse and children - relocate comfortably.

How much does it cost to move?

It goes without saying that your overall costs to move will be determined by your relocation plans; moving by yourself, as opposed to with your spouse or children, will ultimately determine how much you can expect to pay.

On the presumption that you might be travelling alone and only wish to bring essentials with you through carry-on travel and international shipping, you can expect your expenses to be based on several factors. This includes the type of transportation you wish to use (air or sea freight), how many belongings you wish to shape, the journey distance between your home and study country, and the time of year you plan to travel.

To answer the question ‘How much does it cost to move’, it’s essential to consider:

  • How long do you plan to stay
  • How much do you plan to take with you
  • Who will be travelling with you
  • How much space you will have in your new accommodation

What is the average cost of moving?

Depending on your relocation plans, you might expect to settle an expense ranging from $1000 - $6000 USD, according to MoveHub.

You can also expect to settle packing and unpacking costs if you plan to freight your belongings to your country of study, settle for optional shipping insurance, as well as managing interim storage space until you move into your new accommodation, and finally pay customs duty.

Using relocation costs calculators for shipping can enable you to create a moving expense estimate to make an informed decision and confirm your budget. Shipping estimates are subject to change as a result of tourism and travel seasons.

International Van Lines estimates that the average cost of relocating the entire contents of a 1-2 bedroom house or apartment might amount to $3500-$7000 to Europe, $3900-$8200 to Asia, or $4000-$9000 to Australia.

What average moving costs can I expect?

According to International Van Lines, some typical full-service moving costs can include shipping and transportation costs and can include packaging and removal.

Typical costs to relocate can include:

  • Shipping and transportation costs: Starting from USD 1000
  • Packing and removal: Starting from USD 100
  • Insurance costs: Starting from USD 100

How can I budget for a move?

Creating your relocation budget is a great way to plan ahead and ensure that you are financially prepared to begin your study journey. Listing your planned expenses and sourcing the most appropriate quotations can ensure that you move comfortably.

Beyond your travel costs or sourcing freight quotes to facilitate your relocation to your new country of study, you’ll also want to keep in mind other expenses that you might be subject to.

Bills to consider when moving out can include:

  • Rent or accommodation: Depending on whether you plan to pursue private accommodation in a house or flat, or in a university residence
  • Changing your cell phone plan: In order to use a local mobile carrier/network in your country of study
  • Health insurance: Depending on your country of study’s requirements
  • Primary or secondary school fees: If you plan to bring your children with you
  • Groceries and other expenses: Depending on your regular purchases

Typical moving costs, and hidden costs to consider

When moving, it can be difficult to predict your overall expenses, especially if you’ve never lived in your host country before.

Generally, most study visa applications require you to list and prepare for itemised expenses to ensure that you can cover the cost of your studies, which can prove a helpful guide in ensuring that you have adequately prepared.

Heavy items surcharge

Depending on what you plan to take with you, freight shipping companies might elect to issue a surcharge for transporting heavy items - an example of an asset that might fall under this charge could be a grand piano or a pool table.

Specialised items

Similarly, specialised items - such as fragile heirlooms or musical instruments, for example - might also attract ‘specialised items’ surcharge as they must be shipped with care.

Overnight fees

If your mover is unable to unload your items on your agreed delivery day, you might be expected to settle an overnight fee should they be required to unload your belongings at night. This can be especially important to review when calculating how much it costs to relocate.

Furniture disassembly or reassembly

Should you plan to take any furniture with you, you might be expected to settle a disassembly or reassembly charge to ensure that your chosen freight service can transport such items effectively. This may also be itemised under the cost of packing and removing.

How can I calculate moving expenses?

To calculate your overall costs when moving your possessions to your country of study, you’ll want to keep track of four key expenses.

What are considered moving expenses?

  • Freight/shipping costs
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Removals/freight insurance
  • Interim storage (if applicable)

Things to consider when moving

While you’ll likely want to bring bare essentials with you as you board your flight to your new country of study, you’ll also want to consider what you might want to bring with you to ensure that you not only excel in your studies but that you can also have fun and enjoy entertainment.

How much does it cost to move as a family?

If you plan on travelling with your spouse or children, considering their needs - and what needs they might expect during your study period and beyond - can help you prepare for the future.

How to move on a budget

Keeping a running, moving cost checklist or relocation expenses list can help you calculate your moving expenses and prepare your budget. Remember - the cost of packing and moving will truly be determined by how much you plan to take with you.

Financial help with moving costs

Depending on which school you apply to, we are also able to cover part of your living expenses.

As your loan will be disbursed directly to your school, you won’t need to give us your banking details. Your school, if supported, will credit your tuition fee and transfer any excess funds to your personal bank account.

If you have any questions with regards to when and how you’ll get your living expenses, please get in touch with the financial aid office at your school.

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