I'll be relocating to Amsterdam at the end of July, and wonder if anyone from the US has any general information about shipping items. I'm assuming it's pretty expensive and, as such, I'm planning on leaving about 99% of my furniture behind - however, I will have loads of books and music, files, clothing, and will probably want to take a few smaller personal and/or antique items with me.
I've done the usual google search for "international movers," but there are many companies out there - and frankly, having been burned by movers here in the States, I always figure it's better to get a personal reommendation (or warning) (well, as personal as an internet forum can be).
Any and all information is appreciated - from logistics to costs to general things. Thanks in advance.
sonicity, I'm in the same situation as you; about to move and clueless about how to ship. Were you able to zero in on a moving company that you feel is reputable and/or that you have had a good experience thus far with? Looks like we will be doing a combo household moving and courier as well.
philly_girl, thanks for that information. But I'm surprised it was so inexpensive. I went on the USPS site, and for the average book-sized box (the size you get from U-Haul), filled with books (meaning heavy) I got much higher prices. I seem to recall that in the past few years the USPS discontinued the service you may have used - they no longer offer that slow, slow by-ship shipping, so that anything sent has to be air freight (with a correspondingly higher price). Maybe I should call them to confirm this.
newbie, if I do find out that it truly is only $30-50.00/box to ship with USPS, I may have to reconsider my move. However, as of now, I have chosen a mover - Rainier Overseas. I've read lots of good reviews about them on MovingScam.com, and thus far they have been very responsive, and totally on top of things. They were definitely not the cheapest, but they were not outrageously above any of the other vendors either - and to be honest, the other vendors whom I contacted were not at all on top of things (cancelling appointments for an in-house estimate at the last minute; not returning emails for 3-4 days; sending automated emails asking for information they had already received twice before; etc.)
No problem, newbie. By the way, I did call the USPS today, and they confirmed that they no longer offer any surface shipping to the Netherlands; everything goes by air. So an average-sized box (19X13X13) filled with books, records, or CDs (about 30 pounds) would cost approximately $115.00. If you've got more than 20 boxes of this size/weight (or if you've got larger, heavier boxes), it probably won't be very cost-effective - and this price doesn't include any insurance. Seems that there's no way around it - shipping things to Europe from the US is just expensive.
Newbie, sorry about the lag in response time - I was overwhelmed with the move. My stuff is still in transit, so I can't comment on the completed move as yet; however, up to this point, Rainier has been pretty good. The only thing that has been annoying is the insurance - it's not cheap, and the rules of maritime insurance (at least from this company) are extremely (I would say unreasonably) restrictive; for example, you have to insure EVERY LAST THING, individually, or it's not covered, no matter how much the total of your insurance. For example, if you say you have 15 shirts, and you actually have 17, and something happens to them...only 15 are covered. I'll let you know more when things come to a close.