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Relocating abroad can be a lengthy and sometimes difficult process. It’s often a step into the unknown, and a lot more complex than moving within your home country. There are visas and border controls to deal with, customs and excise, long distances and more. Often, you’ll be trying to organise the move from your original country, sometimes thousands of miles from your new home. A top notch, reputed international relocation service may well be able to help.

As always, it’s a case of buyer beware. Not all those claiming to be relocation experts actually are. You can end up paying thousands of pounds for, well, very little. Some less savoury companies take a huge wad of your money to do things you could very easily do yourself, with mark ups on everything. So it’s absolutely vital to be very discerning when choosing your relocation advisor.

Each country has its own specific immigration and property laws, visa requirement and rules on working as a non-native citizen. It’s therefore advisable to look at the relocation specialists who not only know your destination country well, but perhaps are even based there. Be careful of those companies who purport to help relocate you to anywhere in the world: you want and need the personal touch and the experience that comes with specialising in one area. Moving abroad to Dubai, for example, is a very different process from relocating to Australia, the USA, South Africa or Spain.

Avoiding the pitfalls is key. Otherwise, you could be wasting a small fortune. Companies earn a reputation, good or bad, by their interactions with previous customers. So look for independent reviews of your shortlisted firms. Now, many will have glowing testimonials on their respective websites. “Mrs. A said: ‘you’re service was outstanding’” is not unusual. But the company should be able to actually put you in touch with Mrs. A, or other referees. Because the unscrupulous will just create these anonymous, unverified references. One good way to suss out who are the good guys is to look on internet expat forums. Here, you’ll get absolute straight talk from those who have been there, done that. Companies who aren’t good value for money or are pure cowboys will often have alarm bells flashing all over the internet. Don’t join a list of dissatisfied customers: do your homework.

A good relocation company will assign you one person who you deal with throughout the process. They should become like a friend you can turn to, who smooths the way through every aspect of your big move. They will assist with getting visa entry, residence, property buying, job seeking and the logistics of moving you, your family, pets and possessions into your country of choice. Depending on the country, there will be varying amounts of paperwork and admin to go through. They should sort all this out for you.

Relocators can often get very good prices on shipping your household possessions overseas. They should be dealing with all the local and international freight, logistics and removals firms, shopping around for the best quote for you. This is one of the major benefits of using their services: it saves you the time, hassle and sometimes language barrier of getting twenty or more quotes. When they have good working relationships with the hauling companies, they will be buying in bulk for several clients, getting you a keener price. Truckers and ships never like to move with spare space or empty return journeys, so they’ll give big discounts to get a fuller load. The relocation company with connections will tap into this.