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How to ship your excess baggage from the UK

by John Dunn | Dec 19, 2014
  • Whether you’re leaving the UK, arranging a work transfer or planning your family’s relocation to another country, shipping your excess baggage can be an unwanted stress. We’ve put together a neat guide to show you how to get your goods back home – safely and on time.

    What is excess baggage?

    Excess baggage is exactly what it sounds like – baggage that you need to take with you from the UK that’s too big, impractical or expensive to transport via plane. Sending this baggage unaccompanied with a reliable excess baggage shipping agent saves you money and hassle, reuniting you with your belongings as quickly as possible.

    Why would you need to ship excess baggage?

    There are many reasons why you might need to use an agent to ship your excess baggage from the UK. Here are a few examples:

    • Your baggage exceeds the weight limit: Most airlines allow one piece of carry-on cabin luggage and around 20kgs of accompanied luggage in the cargo hold. Checked baggage is one of the ways airlines make additional revenue from passengers, so you will have to pay a hefty extra baggage charge if you exceed your weight allowance. Unaccompanied airfreight is a more cost-effective alternative.
    • You’re on an extended holiday or business trip: You might need to ship excess baggage if you’re travelling internationally on a long trip, which requires a lot of baggage. Perhaps you’re on a month-long work assignment and can’t possibly go without your golf clubs, surfboard, kettle bells or pet rock.
    • Emigrating: When you move overseas for good, there are things you’re going to want with you immediately after arriving at your destination; things that won’t make it onto the plane, like your mountain bike, printer or record collection.
    • Moving back home: If you’ve done a stint in the UK and are moving back home, you’ll inevitably have collected some brittle valuables that you’d rather not ship with your bulky furniture.

    What are your shipping options?

    Depending on the distance your belongings need to travel, your budget and the urgency of delivery, you could have the option to transport your goods by air, rail or road. Shipping by sea takes around eight to 12 weeks. This option is very cost-effective and perfect for larger items. 1st Contact Shipping is one of the largest container operators in the UK and offers frequent sailings to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, North America and South East Asia.

    If you need your belongings to arrive sooner, you can send your goods by air (or road for European destinations). Both these options take around 10 to 14 days. We also offer a fast courier service for smaller consignments, with a transit time of around five to seven days, door to door. In some instances it might be cheaper to use air freight, even for large quantities, so it pays to get a quote first.

    When shipping by sea or land, the charges are determined by volume, while rates for shipping by air are based on either size or weight – whichever is greater.

    What about customs?

    Here’s an easy-to-understand source for all the customs information you’ll ever need. It covers 85 countries, including the documents you need to provide, the delays involved, quarantine regulations, and duty and tax rates.

    Packing your goods

    You can choose to find or buy shipping cartons, tape and bubble wrap and do all the packing yourself. The upside of this is that you get to say a loving goodbye to each item as you carefully wrap it up. The downside is all that precious time spent doing fiddly things when you have more important things to arrange, like a visa, job or accommodation. Your shipping company will more than likely offer a packing service – some even offer free cartons and packaging material.

    Collection of your goods

    If you’re located along London’s M25 orbital motorway, 1st Contact Shipping offers free delivery of packing cartons and free collection of your excess baggage. Excess baggage and packing cartons can also be delivered and collected from all over the UK and customers in Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow receive a next-day free delivery and collection service.

    If you’ve lived and worked in the UK and are moving back home – you’ll get a double discount if you use 1st Contact Shipping and 1st Contact Tax Refunds together. Visit 1st Contact Tax Refunds to find out more, get a free online quote or track your shipping online.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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