How to Lower the Costs of your International Move

Many people are moving internationally for work or other reasons. But the costs associated with international relocation can often be so high that it makes sense to do your research to try to lower the exorbitant price. Here are some simple ways to cut down on your expenses, including negotiating a better exchange rate and using US dollars instead of other currencies.


Get a flat rate for your relocation costs

If you are moving to a foreign country for work, you will be moving with your employer. Most of the international movers will offer you a relocation package, including the cost to move, personal belongings, and some help with setting up your new home. The expense is usually calculated as a flat rate per person, regardless of whether they have family members moving with them.

If you are relocating for other reasons, such as studying or getting married, find out from your prospective host country what size and type of home are being provided or charged and try to avoid surprises. You may save a lot of money if you have labour costs taken care of for you.


Have the transportation arranged for you ahead of time

One expense that most people do not budget for is transportation to and from the new home. For international relocations, it is important to keep transportation costs in mind. Depending on the distance you will be travelling and the number of people in your group, you may need to consider arranging a private car or a van.


In some cases, it might make sense to add on airfare for yourself and your family members if the cost of transportation is exceptionally high. However, realize that this may not be necessary if you have access to public transportation for moving large groups of people.


Exchange only smaller amounts of money for local currency

The foreign exchange rate can be challenging to predict, which can make it hard to budget for how much money you will need on hand. To keep costs as low as possible, you may want to exchange only the amount you will be using within a few days or weeks. You can also consider keeping your usual credit and debit cards from your home country to avoid foreign transaction fees. The card network companies may charge for this service, but the fees are generally not very high.


Use credit cards for purchases

The exchange rate is often different for purchases in a foreign country than for people paying for their goods and services in their home currency. So, you may be charged a premium if you are paying with cash or traveller’s checks. Additionally, the fees that credit providers charge on international transactions can be very high in some cases. Depending on the amount of money you need, using your credit card may be worth it to avoid these extra costs.


Negotiate a better exchange rate

You may want to be able to pay your company for its relocation packages with a local currency in order to reduce the expense. Your employer should be willing to do this, and many will set up an account in your name so that these costs are paid directly from your salary. You can then simply convert the amount each month into your home currency.

There are a lot of different ways to negotiate the exchange rates. It is often enough to quote one reasonable rate and then try to get a better one from your employer. You can also contact your bank or credit card company for help if you can’t do that.


Buy and install local credit cards

International credit card issuers charge a few dollars monthly for foreign transaction fees. There is also a chance that you will be declined if you already have a lot of debt or a bad credit score. These types of fees can really add up if you are only funded with a small number of dollars.

Many cards operate internationally, but if your card is written in the local currency of your host country, it may be possible to use it there domestically as well. This option is especially popular with expatriates who visit their home countries regularly for vacations and other trips. You will often be able to get an account for this type of card without having to pay a high annual fee.



Many people don’t realize that saving money on their relocation venture is possible. The key is to determine how much you will need to pay for these expenses upfront and ensure that your employer can handle these costs. Also, consider the charges of international movers and consider using a private car to get yourself and your family from one place to the next. You can also negotiate a better exchange rate with your employer to reduce these expenses’ overall cost.


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