MOVING to France - all advice welcome!

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  1. At the end of August, I will be moving to France to attend business school - I am super excited!! \(^(oo)^)/

    Now . . . how the heck do I get all of my stuff from here (USA / California) to there (near Versailles)? :thinking: Pig is in major need of some guidance, especially from anyone who has previously effected a similar transcontinental move!

    More specifically:
    1. What is the best method by which to move my personal effects (e.g. clothing, shoes, and of course, handbags! :biggrin:)? I will not be moving any household furnishings. My primary concern is minimizing the risk of loss / damage; I am willing to pay more to ensure that everything arrives safe & sound :yes:

    2. What are my options when it comes to insurance during transit?

    3. Many of my items are in like-new condition, complete with original boxes & protective tissue. Will this be an issue at customs or result in the assessment of duties?

    4. CITES certificates: a couple of my Hermès bags and 1 Bottega Veneta bag are missing theirs . . . is it necessary/possible to get replacements, and if so, how?

    5. Electronics: do I need anything other than the standard international travel plug adapters to use my personal electronics (computer, wireless router, etc.) and small appliances (hair dryer, hot-water kettle, etc.) in France? My current plan is to plug my American electronics into USA-configured power strips, then use adapters to plug the power strips into the French power outlets. Will that work, or will something explode / catch fire / [insert disastrous scenario of choice here]? :sweatdrop:

    I will be entering France with a long-stay visa (visa de longue séjour), if that matters.

    Any and all other tips & advice for living in France would also be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance! (^(oo)^)v
     
  2. 5. i would buy the small appliances over there and replace the ones you have. note that adapters will only let you stick your doohickeys into euro plugs but it will not convert to the appropriate voltage. you will need a transformer/converter for that. hairdryers (and electronic kettles) take a LOT of power so you'll need a converter that can handle a ton of kilowatts. it will probably cost more than a new hairdryer...

    3. i'm only speculating but i don't think you'll be charged duty on personal effects unless you intend to sell it.
     
  3. Thanks for your response apey_grapey! I am so confused about the power situation :cray: Do I need a transformer/converter for all electronic items, or only for certain appliances? I know when I have travelled in Europe in the past, I was able to charge my laptop/mobile phone/camera using just the adapter, but is that bad for the appliances somehow in the long run?
     
  4. Oh how exciting! Congrats!

    First question ou should ask yourself is how long are you gong to live there? 2-4 years or is it a short term classes?

    I've moved transcontinental about a dozen times.

    What I usually do:
    A. Fly business or first class and use VIP or concierge services. You'll get more comfort but also more baggage allowance with business class. And some of the airlines provide concierge service which is extra helpful when you have 10 bags with you. CDG and Orly definitely have the concierge service, they'll take you around te airport without waiting in lines and they'll collect and deliver your luggage for you. And it includes a chauffeur service too btw. Believe me, after that 7 hours flight, you'll be grateful for this service.

    B. If my company doesnt pay for moving expenses, I pack my furniture in a storage and buy new things at the country. I try to rent apartments with furniture if I do short term assignments, like 6-8 months. If I go for couple of years, I'll buy furniture and would sell it before I move again. Hairstyling, kettles, coffee machines, microwave, and other electronic items for sure should be bought in France. You're going to live there for a while and using adapters is going to be a major headache plus it might cause fire. Just buy a new one.

    C. I sent some of my stuff with a post company before and it took forever to be delivered and I got crazy only of thinking about losing it. So I usually just pack all my bags and pay te extra baggage fee.

    Don't have any experience with the CITES, I got all of mine with me. Check the forum, I think there were some threads about this. You can also ask our SA about this.

    Also never had any experience with customs either. I never got checked and I have plenty of pics to prove my things are old. And off course I have my receipts too.

    Good luck! :biggrin: It's a new exciting part of your life! :P;)
     
  5. computers, mobiles, and various smart electronics are built to adjust to the different voltages so they're okay with just an adapter. but things like hair dryers (unless you have a dual voltage one) are not and will need a transformer that can handle their power demands.

    i maintain that unless you have super super duper special hairdryer, electronic kettle, etc... that you buy these in france. you will save space in your luggage. and i find european appliances are better suited for the generally smaller living spaces there (and better designed).
     
  6. this. computers and cell phone chargers have built in voltage transformers.

    hair dryers and curling irons and things like that are notorious for blowing fuses and just breaking easily, even when you use a transformer. I have an epilator that I bought in france over 10 years ago that I use with a transformer in the US, the transformer wasn't expensive and it's small-ish, but man that thing is heavy. it's a pain to travel with. assuming you're going to be in france for at least 1-2 years just buy that stuff there.
     
  7. I agree with everyone on the heat products thing, I broke 3 different hair straighteners over the years (had the converters and voltage changers) I recommend just buying one over there to be safe! Non-heat products seem to be fine
     
  8. I have no advice, just wanted to say congrats!! :hugs:
     
  9. Congratulations on the move!

    I had an extended stay in Europe (2-3 months) and my advice like many others would be to buy new small appliances. Laptop should be fine, phone, etc but as an example, my electric toothbrush charger was totally dead by the end of my stay even though it was dual voltage and I had an adapter.

    I had two suitcases - one carry on, one large checked bag. I shipped everything else via I believe FEDEX each way. On the way back, moving from the UK back home, fedex came to my apartment and helped me load the big boxes into the truck, made sure all the custom forms were fine and the boxes were delivered to me safe and sound the day after I landed.
     
  10. Thank you so much everyone for your helpful replies!! I had posted these queries elsewhere on various expat forums and the information was just ... not forthcoming. Should have known my fellow tPFers would be the ones to pull through for me (^(oo)^)v
     
  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This entire post is chock-full of exactly the kind of advice I needed :smooch:

    Sounds like the concierge service is the way to go! I will definitely be looking into that option, as I will be flying over there all by my very petite self and I was having nightmares about wrestling with luggage that is sure to weigh more than I do :P

    I have a follow-up query about bringing everything as checked luggage though - are you not concerned about loss of your luggage by the airline? Even though I always fly first class I have real reluctance to check baggage because of the low liability limits the airlines tend to put on the value of reimbursements for lost baggage :wondering
     
  12. That makes sense! Thanks for that explanation. Now I am no longer confused, and, as I do not in fact have any super duper special appliances, I will simply plan to buy shiny new ones when I arrive! Also good to know that my more complex electronics can come with me :tup:
     
  13. Is there a way to tell just by looking which items have built in voltage transformers and which require an external converter? :shrugs:

    Eep! You have definitely reinforced my decision to buy a new hair dryer when I get there! :shocked:
     
  14. Thank you buzzytoes!! I really appreciate your thoughts :hbeat:

    If you don't mind sharing, approximately how many boxes did you ship via fedex? I'm trying to figure out where the tipping point is in terms of bring/ship efficiency :smile:
     
  15. I shipped I believe 3-4 boxes via Fedex, it wasn't cheap I remember but it was picked up by my company at the time. Good luck!