Moving personal effects to Switzerland Relocating with only personal effects but no furniture

Advice for individuals who are relocating with small households.

When relocating internationally you are faced with the decision of whether or not to bring along all of your household goods or not.

Take a moment to consider how important it will be for you and your family to be surrounded by familiar things. This may be particularly important for children and spouses/partners, who are adjusting during the first 6 months after relocating. 

Considerations for whether or not to relocate with household goods:

  • Length of time to be spent abroad
  • Family situation
  • Budget


Let the experts handle it for you

Markus Widmann and his team of dedicated Move Managers at Packimpex will make sure your move to or out of Switzerland is stress-free, with nothing left to chance.


Small household shipments 

If you decide to limit yourself to a small shipment of personal effects (one that does not include furniture), you have two further options: 

  1. Fit everything into your carry-on luggage (it might be worthwhile paying some excess weight compared to an additional shipment)
  2. Consider a small air-shipment

Expert tip: Price-wise, air-shipments (compared to a sea-shipments) are normally cheaper for quantities up to 200 kg / 440 lbs.


How to proceed with a small household air shipment

Airlines consider personal effects shipped as air-cargo to be ‘risk commodity' (due to their private changing ownership). Some airlines do not accept personal effects or have strict regulations for their shipping. It is therefore recommended to contact a professional moving company for packing and shipping. They will also be able to provide you expert consulting about customs regulations and requirements. 

Compare quotes from a few professional moving companies before choosing one. The article Selecting a moving provider walks you through the process of finding a qualified and certified company that can handle an international move. Packimpex is the quality leader for independent moving companies based in Switzerland. 


Security risks in air shipments 

The following items (but not limited to) are considered ‘dangerous goods' when shipping as air-cargo (these rules differ from the rules applied for carry-on luggage):

  • Any kind of aerosol (hair spray, shaving foam, deodorant-spray, etc)
  • Perfumes, alcohol, etc
  • Paint, lacquer, resin, synthetic resin, diluting agent, etc.Insecticides, pesticides, insect repellent, etc
  • Batteries, exchange batteries of all kind
  • Lighters, matches, ammunition, fireworks, fire extinguisher, etc
  • Cleaning material, bleaching material, etc

‘Dangerous goods' as per ICAO/TI (Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air) and IATA/DGR (International Air Transport Association, Dangerous Goods Regulations) standards are considered items in containers with the following or similar symbols:

Tips for packing:

  • Dispose of or sort ‘dangerous goods' prior to your pack day
  • Do not ask the packing team to pack items that are considered to be ‘dangerous goods'
  • Study the above listed ‘dangerous goods' prior to preparing your air shipment as they are often items that you might not consider as such, and some may even be allowed in your carry-on or checked luggage
  • You might need to sign a ‘shipper's declaration for personal effects'. Without this declaration the airline might not accept the shipment
  • No liquid of any kind should be packed into an air shipment as liquid substances cannot be identified when shipments are x-rayed/screened. Any liquids will therefore automatically result in physical inspection, leading to delays, additional cost and possibly damage
  • Even small quantities of above substances are forbidden and must not to be packed into an air shipment


Further resources

The Hello Switzerland mobile app is free for download. Use its unique Step by Step relocation checklist tool to manage your tasks and relocation timeline. 


Other useful articles related to this topic include, Planning your move and What items am I allowed to move to Switzerland.



Author: Markus Widmann

Markus manages a team of move managers and consultants at Packimpex Moving Ltd. The team provides you with professional assistance when moving your household goods into or out of Switzerland. He has experienced many exciting challenges in the moving industry over the past 17 years. Markus is Swiss and enjoys travelling and meeting people from different cultures.

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