You arrived with little more than a backpack, and now it’s time to leave you realise you’ve accumulated boxes of things you didn’t know you couldn’t live without. Sound familiar? If so, don’t worry, you can keep all your ‘I Heart London’ mugs and Union Jack bedspreads (justus?), as you can ship them back to your homeland with ease.

Rates for shipping start at around £100 for one 30kg carton, and it takes from four to 12 weeks. You should also factor in insurance, which usually costs 5% of the value of your goods. Airfreight is, of course, quicker, but will cost quite a lot more.

What to ship

Bear in mind that you won’t have access to the stuff you ship for up to 12 weeks, so don’t pack all your underwear, for example. Soft furnishings, electrical goods, clothes and sentimental knick-knacks are good examples of what you could ship.

Be prepared

Arrange the pick-up date with the company and give yourself plenty of time to get organised as you will need to complete some forms, supply passport and visa copies (if applicable) and pack. The shipping company will provide you with sturdy boxes of various sizes for your things, so arrange the free delivery (usually with a £50 deposit) of these in plenty of time before your departure date. You can pack yourself as they also provide you with bubble wrap and tape. Make sure none of your cartons weighs more than 30kg. Tip: It’s better to over-order cartons as they will charge to deliver more, whereas they will collect any empty ones for free. On the day of the pick-up you will need to pay the remaining balance in full to the driver. They usually accept cash or debit/credit cards.

At the other end

You can usually track your shipment online, or you can contact the company for updates. Once it has arrived you will be contacted and you may need to head to customs to fill out documentation for the arrival of your goods. Be prepared to pay extra fees, such as for examination by the quarantine authority if your baggage is selected. Once this is all sorted you can take your baggage yourself, or arrange for doorstep delivery.

Companies to try…

Anglo Pacific (


Simpsons (

1st Move International (