Moving Out of UAE : Expat Guide Relocation Checklist

Moving can be stressful. Trust me, the day after New Year when reality hit me, I had no idea where to begin.  So  I drafted a checklist and I hope it would help you somehow, especially to my dear friends leaving Dubai this year.

Inventory and Planning a Yard Sale. Since I'm quite a maniac when it comes to organizing bills and furniture/ appliance manuals and receipts (properly stapled in each manual), I now reap the benefits of securing them.  I'm able to track how much we bought each item and how much I can sell them for.  I'm doing an online yard sale.

We finally just sold my car! Yay! I played car saleswoman this week and it felt good.  Long ago, I have made a file carrying the history of the car, receipts of each service and purchased new tires. The new owner is pleased as we handed those over.

Moving Company.  We got quotes from various relocation companies.  Here are a few of them:

Global Relocations
Crown Relocations
On the

Better yet, try for a complete list of moving companies along with customer reviews, maid service and maintenance company for handy work.

I was impressed by Crown Relocations. They had a specialist who visited the house to survey the items to be shipped. They also offer an assigned personal staff as a main point of contact to monitor the shipment until it reaches its final destination, whether it takes a year or so. They also offer a storage service.

One of their biggest moving tip is to avoid shipping used mattress. Due to body heat, it accumulates dust mites and bugs. Consume all alcohol and food because they're not allowed to be shipped. Ha, great excuse for a party!

We have received estimates from numerous moving companies for  standard 20ft containers from AED 16,500 USD$ 4500) to AED 25,000 (USD$6800) requested different quotes.

For the unwanted items from your yard sale,  if no one wants to buy them, check out  Take My Junk UAE

And don't forget your pets!

You must have read this post about our cat, Tiptoe. We have decided to get him adopted.  For those of you in Dubai who needs to transport your pets, here are a few companies:

Move One Inc
American Vet Clinic
DKC Dubai Kennels & Cattery
Delight International Movers
Snoopy Pets

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post. I have not personally tried and experienced the above companies as we're on the verge of just choosing one to ship our items.  We did however, coordinate with a few of them to obtain quotes

We're not there yet but it's never too early to start. Pack all boxes to the maximum capacity but not to the point of tearing.  Label. Label. Label.  Vacuum bags are great for pillows and season clothes. Great rule: If you don't need them, don't bring them.

And then drum roll....

Happy packing folks!
Now I'm off to zzzz land and will probably dream about labelling boxes now.

Shipment Verdict:

We went with Global Relocations who gave us a very competitive and reasonable quote. How much did we spend for a 20ft container door to door?  AED 16,500 ( USD$ 4,495). We also had to pay insurance on top of that roughly around AED 1,000+ that covers an acceptable value for us. 

Our 20 ft container arrived safely, earlier than the estimate time of arrival and to those who are curious how much custom tax will be charged, it averages at Php 45K (USD $ 1,016) . This excludes temporary storage fees at the port and delivery transport arrangements to areas where a 20ft container vehicle cannot access.  Tax exemptions? Calculations show that it still comes out cheaper to pay duties and taxes than using OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) Tax exemptions. Paper work is also faster. 

We dropped by the office of Bridge Worldwide in Paranaque City once, a company working with Global Relocations based in the Philippines. During this meeting, we signed off some custom related form and discussed delivery concerns,  details and delivery location. The area where the items are stored does not allow 20ft container trucks so they arranged smaller trucks for delivery. The door to door service included the unpacking of items in their respective rooms in the house. Since we're storing them, the logistic team helped us load them safely and properly in a storage room.   It was a great decision that we were present when receiving the goods to ensure they're placed exactly where we wanted them.

Overall, we were happy with the service by Global Relocations and Bridge Worldwide. They made the entire logistic experience stress free.

Update: What happened a year later?

Global Relocations, we heard, closed down.  Unfortunately, according to some messages posted on forums, the company faced some problems and there were complaints from customers who had annual storage contracts with them.  Yikes!

My husband and I agreed that if we had to go back and re-live everything again, we would have done it differently. We had no idea it would take us more than a year before we could open the boxes.  

If you have a ready space to move into, shipping items this way especially with the same company is more than ideal, due to their unpacking service and stress-free professionalism.  

However, in our case where we had to store them for a year, it's a wiser move to just sell everything. In this way, costs of shipment  can be avoided as well as  depreciation of items.  

It's much easier and more practical to buy everything new that would suit smaller spaces and have them delivered straight. Appliances would have applicable warranties and certain equipment specifications that would suit your country of destination better.

One of our learnings as well moving into a tropical Asian country is the importance of having the storage space termite and pest controlled before loading the boxes.  This is to avoid  Termite Attack

Happy packing, moving and wishing you all the best!
Love & light,

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  1. and moving internationally just adds tones to the stress :)

  2. Being so highly organised will certainly help to relieve some of the stress of moving. Great checklists and tips here. I remember when we last moved house. Detailed labels on each box really helped!

  3. Moving is very stressful. I can't even begin to imagine what its' like to move out of the country. This is a very useful checklist.

  4. moving across neighborhoods can be so stressful but to another country! wow. your research and organizing skills are amazing though, arni!

  5. Moving is hard and stressful indeed! I still remember that time I moved out from our house to live independently in Makati, my oh my, boxing my things were a thing for nightmares! I wish I thought about making a checklist then, like you did here.

  6. Incredibly helpful and thorough, will save this for when I move abroad!

  7. Such a great list! Anything to make a move easier is fantastic!

  8. Hello Arni! Where are you going? I just got here in Dubai and I remember I once exchanged comments with you before so I thought of checking you out sometime. Hehehe. :)

  9. I moved to Kentucky a month ago... with three kids and a dog! Believe me when I tell you, I could write a novel, haha. For me personally the secret is early planning, so these checklist are amazingly useful!

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