Stepping Off The Plane - Moving To Australia

15 February 2013

Moving to Australia

This is our third blog about relocating overseas by moving to Australia. You can read it in any order you want. It’s not a strict set of rules, more a loose explanation of what to expect and advice on what to do if you're moving abroad. This blog entry from Seven Seas Worldwide is about the bit between getting off the plane and starting your new life.

So you bumble down the staircase out of the plane, experiencing a mixture of excitement and jet lag. What’s next? Well after you’ve looked up at the clear blue sky for a few minutes, reminding yourself why you did all this in the first place, it’s time to go to Immigration for all the necessary inspections and checks. Make sure you have your passport and your ‘Incoming Passenger Card’ (IPC) for handing over to immigration officers.

It might be a good idea to change your currency for Aussie dollars while you’re at the airport. We suggest $20, $10 and $5 notes and $2 and $1 coins. Oh and expect to pay a commission. Don’t forget the usefulness of the information desk too for other things such as short-term accommodation and transport options. Speaking of which, if you’re thinking about hiring a car from the airport, you’ll need your driver’s licence handy. Your entry into Australia will be delayed if you fail to produce the right travel documents and visas. Sorry if we sounded a bit like a customs official there, but it’s true.

Once you’ve been cleared by immigration, it’s onwards to baggage collection, and we all know nothing beats the sheer exhilaration of standing by a slow-moving conveyor belt shuffling battered luggage in a circle for half an hour – none of which is yours. It really is the best way to start a holiday. Especially when, as excess baggage experts, we could have just shipped it there for you in the first place (hint hint).

After collecting, Customs or Border Protection officers may then request to check your luggage. If they do, say yes. It’s for the best. Even if you used our wonderful excess baggage shipping service.

This is the final hurdle. After this, Australia is your oyster. (By the way, the oysters in Australia are amazing).

Posted in: Moving Abroad

Ski Someday - The Slopes of Switzerland by Travis Monk

12 February 2013

Travel and Ski in Switzerland

Our own indomitable travel writer, Travis Monk, braves the slopes of Switzerland in the name of experience, skis and excess baggage.

“Do the ‘Cheese’. Now the ‘Wizard’s Hat’. Now do the ‘Falling Tree’. And the ‘Angry Conker’. And the ‘Pensive Hamster’.” My ski instructor Tomas is reeling off a load of ski moves to me but I'm having a hard time keeping up. This is because I haven’t got my skis on yet.

I was told before I ventured out here that Zermatt, Switzerland offers some of the most breathtaking views of skiers falling over and since I arrived last Tuesday for Seven Seas Worldwide, it hasn't failed to disappoint. The most rewarding aspect of a skiing holiday is watching smug people fall over; though this is something I've yet to convince Tomas who is adamant that I memorise his bewildering lexicon.

With my feet securely inside my snap-buckle ski boots, I slide uneasily down one of the more moderate slopes at the resort, pursued by Tomas and his faithful dog Duke who – despite wearing top-of-the-range ‘dog-skis’ - appears to be managing as badly as me.

I didn’t want to go on a skiing holiday but I was roped into it by my friends Jocasta, Alexandra and Pip-Pip. I had visited Jocasta’s apartment in the Dordogne valley during the summer to finish my latest advice book ‘How to Throw a Memorable Funeral Wake’ whereupon Jocasta mentioned she was going on a two week break to Zermatt and that my company would be most welcome. I get the feeling I was only ever invited because I have a helicopter but nevertheless I accepted.

The nearest I had gotten to the skiing experience before this is when I fell down a flight of stairs and lost my wallet, so Tomas had much to teach me. A local skiing instructor can set you back about £50 a day. That’s for a good one. There are many unskilled skiing instructors operating in Zermatt and they’re easy to spot because they often refer to skis as ‘long flat shoe things’. They also complain of the cold and their lessons last about fifty seconds. Tomas is a competent instructor, though he has a distracting moustache which has caused me to ski into a tree on more than one occasion.

Later in the day, my pals and I took a trip up to Klein Matterhorn using a cable car. This was a particularly arduous trip as there is no cable leading up to Klein Matterhorn, but we got there eventually. There’s no prejudice up here: Professionals and beginners can be found rubbing shoulders and falling over together without discrimination.

If this skiing trip has taught me one thing, it’s that human beings can’t just go to a picturesque location, find a nice bench and admire the view; they have to attach unnaturally long things to their feet and risk injury there too.

I’m just skimming the surface of the human condition here. Well, I would be, but I don’t know how to skim either. Fortunately I do know about shipping which is why I can safely say that if you want to send your skis ahead as excess baggage you probably want to get an online shipping quote now. Or your skims. Or anything else, for that matter.

Posted in: Travel, Holidays

Don't Buy This Stuff (1)

12 February 2013

Excess Baggage Ideas

If you’re travelling abroad soon, you’ll want to buy a load of unnecessary travel items to accompany you on your journey (and later on, the fill the attic).

I’ve found a few interesting holiday-related gizmos on the website thefancy.com - a refined location on the web for all manner of stylish, purchasable objects that you never knew existed – and thought you might want to take a gander before you print your e-tickets and stuff your passport in your bumbag.

I may have been a tad harsh when I said earlier that these items were unnecessary. Some of them are. In fact, plenty of them are. However, the Stowaway iPhone Wallet Case looks like a rather nifty invention for the seasoned traveller. A flap at the back of the phone lifts up to reveal a compartment for storing your most important credit cards, debit cards, library cards, Blockbuster membership cards, whatever. It’s quite a thick case, naturally, so if you’re one of those iPhone users who occasionally looks to the heavens and says ‘Why can’t my iPhone be marginally thinner?’, then this is probably not the case for you.

Should you have travel sleeping or breathing comfortably on the plane, or you just want to make the passenger next to you think they’re flying with a Storm Trooper, why not bring the Breathing Travel Mask onboard with you? Well, there are a number of reasons, really. If it works, great, but if it doesn’t, you’re essentially a strange person with a robot-face who keeps scaring the children.

Parents going abroad with a little one may be in the market for one of these. After all, they’ve decided that going abroad with a baby is a good idea, so they’re probably not the wisest owls. Actually, out of all the travel gadgets, this could be the most practical – a bag for baby things which you can open and let the baby sleep in like a miniature travel cot. Aww.

Perhaps the stupidest thing in my list features one of our most recent comedy classics. A Napoleon Dynamite Sleep Mask. Yes, this is a novelty item that is funny for no longer than twelve seconds but, hey, a mask is a mask and it will earn you geek points. Not sure who with. The Elder Geeks perhaps.

Leaving thefancy.com for now, take a look at what Firebox is offering the campers among you. Ladies and gentlemen, the Camper Van Tent. As camper van tents go, this is pretty snazzy and will break the ice with fellow campers. Either that,or they’ll just stay away from you all week and call you the ‘Weirdo Tent Guy’.

Remember, a build-up of unnecessary travel items may well result in excess baggage, which we can fortunately help with - get a shipping quote online now.

Posted in: Travel, Packing

And You’re Off (To Australia)

10 February 2013

Moving to Australia

This is our second blog about relocating overseas, moving home and shipping to Australia. There’s a lot to go through, you see, so we’re breaking it up a bit. This time we’re writing about travel plans.

So that’s it. You’re off. You’ve made all the necessary arrangements, hugged the rellies goodbye and watched your last episode of whatever terrible soap opera you've been glued to. So how do you make the transition as smooth as possible (presuming you've already hired Seven Seas Worldwide for all your international shipping needs)?

Presumably there will be friends and family to help during this time, so just the simple act of letting everyone know your whereabouts will make your journey easier. Draw up a little spreadsheet that explains your movements and contains addresses, phone numbers, etc. during this busy period. Make sure all your contacts both home and in Australia have a copy. Oh and make sure they read it otherwise that tip won’t work.

Australia’s customs are the among strictest in the world - as an excess baggage company, we know all too well. You’re probably aware that most animals and plants cannot be taken into the country but there are other items that could lead to a dreaded ‘inspection’. For instance, if you’re taking shoes or boots with you, wash them thoroughly before packing. Any mud on your footwear could lead to them being confiscated. (We told you they were strict.)

If you find you have packed a fair amount of household items and furniture for the move, it may be in your best interests to ditch some of it. Sorry we meant ‘eBay’ some of it. It’s understandable that you would take items of sentimental value but if you can replace an item with something similar in Australia, take that option. It will cost less and you won’t have to worry about transportation.

Yes, we know this blog is linked to Seven Seas Worldwide - but just think of this tip as a selfless act on our part. We're nice like that.

Posted in: Moving Abroad

Why Move To Australia?

06 February 2013

Moving to Australia

A lot of people are moving abroad and relocating to Australia. The two standout reasons for this lay at both ends of the gamut – adventure and retirement. Many young couples take a year out to travel throughout Oz, taking in a few major cities, sampling the lifestyle, the scenery and the culture. Others look to Australia as a way of putting on the brakes; in contrast to the UK, Australia seems like a more relaxed setting in which to approach semi-retirement. The weather helps too. If you’re in either bracket, you may find the following tips in this blog entry (and future blog entries) useful ahead of any decision you make.

Many people choose Australia for its intoxicating coastlines. It’s true that the country has numerous hotspots for swimming, snorkelling, surfboarding and much more, but if you’re on a limited budget, remember that the closer a home is to the coast, the more pricey it’s going to be.

There’s no denying that if you’re moving to be with friends or family who have also made the big jump, then you will be in a better position than someone who is not. But this doesn’t mean that those without that familial safety net with come trudging back to Blighty six months later, deflated. You just have to know how to make a connection. If you like sports, join a local club or a gym. If you have children, get them involved in community activities. Unless you’re moving to the far reaches of the Australian outback, you will be moving to a neighbourhood that will provide ways of making a connection.

One of the most off-putting factors about moving to Australia for many is the presence of spiders. Here are the facts: Yes, some of them are big. Big and crawly. Yes, some of them are poisonous. However, no one has died from a spider bite in Australia for over 30 years. So if you can get past the size thing, you’ll be fine. Here's some more about Australian spiders and other unpleasant creepy-crawlies.

We’ll be posting more of these blog entries soon so remember to check back. And please get in touch if you have any queries, or just grab a free online quote if you're shipping to Australia, or anywhere else.

Posted in: Moving Abroad, Moving Home