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A beginner’s guide to international shipping

A ship

Shipping goods overseas sounds challenging, and it can be. However, once you do it, things tend to get much simpler. Practice makes perfect. Things are no different when it comes to international shipping. And it doesn’t really matter if you are planning on shipping your car, household goods or items that you’d like to sell overseas. In the following article, we will present you with some of the most common mistakes related to international shipping and ways to overcome them.

Try to get well informed before shipping your goods to another country.

Getting informed is the most important part of the process

Knowing what you are doing every step of the way is something that will not only help you create a much clearer picture of this whole process, but it will also help you avoid some of the most common mistakes when it comes to shipping goods internationally. Nowadays, we have the internet on our side, and getting informed about international shipping isn’t as hard as it once was. On the other hand, you need to find reliable sources to get properly informed.

The best way to obtain such information is by going through official channels. Shipping from the USA to Ireland is way different from shipping goods from the USA to the Cayman Islands. Different countries have different laws and regulations. Not to mention – temperatures. That is why the best thing you can do is to contact the embassy and ask all the questions before shipping anything. Embassy officials will provide you with all the information you might need before shipping to their country, and getting all that info from a source that reliable is something that will help you avoid many problems that can occur.

Try to get well informed before shipping your goods to another country.

On the other hand, there are some factors you’ll need to explore all by yourself. As we have mentioned before, shipping to a country such as Ireland is much different from shipping goods to the Cayman Islands. And the climate isn’t the only difference that can affect your course of action. So – the best thing you can do is to start doing research. Read different articles, forums, reviews. Try to get as informed as possible, and – on time.

International shipping 101

Contracts and other legal items that are a part of this process might scare you. However, we are here for you. Keep on reading and learn all about shipping dos and don’ts!

Prepare documentation

A solid strategy is something that can help you ship your items internationally stress and hassle-free. Use your time wisely and gather all the necessary documentation as soon as you learn what you’ll need in order to send your shipment. This rule goes for everything, no matter if you are planning on moving to the Cayman Islands, shipping your car there or even shipping some commercial goods.

Normally, you will need two sets of documents before shipping your goods internationally.

  • A commercial invoice
  • A customs form

Alongside these documents, you will need to prepare the following information:

  • Contents Type 
  • Signing Person (person responsible for the shipment)
  • DDU (Delivery Duties Unpaid by Sender) 
  • DDP (Delivery Duties Paid by Sender)
  • Tariff Code (HS code) 

And before sending anything overseas, check if your shipment is on the list of prohibited items. Shipping such items can cause you a lot of trouble, and that is something nobody really wants.

Insuring your goods is always a good idea

It really is. You can never know what can go wrong, and in case things really go sideways – having an insurance policy at hand will save you a lot of trouble. Shipping means transporting your belongings by air, sea or land. And we don’t have to explain to you what can go wrong. From damaged goods to the missing ones – you don’t have to worry about a thing once you get your insurance. And even if it seems like something that will only make you overstep your budget, insurance will actually help you sleep better. Consider it once more before discarding it.

International shipping costs

Even though shipping automatically reminds us of our limited budget, a solid strategy, preparation and organization can help you save some money along the way. And when it comes to average international shipping costs, well – there is no way to predict the final cost of your shipment. However, you can Google different options and ask carriers for their price estimates. It will help you calculate your budget and prepare for what’s to come. And remember to contact not one, but as many as possible shipping service providers in order to find the best one.

You can ship your belongings via air, as well.

Air freight vs. ocean freight

  • If you are planning in shipping a large number of goods or a heavier shipment, it would be cheaper to do so by sea.
  • If you are planning on shipping something small, shipping it by air will be a more affordable option.
  • When it comes to speed, air shipping is way faster.
  • If you are trying to compare these two options and their reliability, the sad news is that you can expect some delays no matter which way you choose to go.
  • When it comes to the environmental impact, shipping goods via air has a much larger carbon footprint. On the other hand, oil spills from ships can cause much more trouble when they occur.


As you can see, every case is unique and different from any other that came before. That is why you should get informed and make a decision on your own. Compare all the pros and cons, calculate your budget, put everything on a piece of paper and try to make the best call possible.


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