Travelling at Christmas: an expat guide [10 top tips]

Whether you’ve booked your move abroad for the holiday season, or are looking forward to coming back to the UK for Christmas, there are several  considerations for yuletide travel that will help things go smoothly at the airport and beyond.

Notify your bank

Your bank may interpret overseas charges as suspicious activity and deactivate your card. Prevent this by letting them know when you’ll be overseas.

Don’t forget your essential documents

Make absolutely sure you and your family have your passports, booking confirmation, travel insurance details and visas before travelling.

Keep presents unwrapped

Wrapped Christmas presents arouse suspicion, so keep them unwrapped and make sure they comply with the airline’s usual security and weight restrictions.

Keep liquid gifts in your hold luggage

Liquids in hand luggage carry a weight limit of 100ml, so most liquid presents will need to be kept in your hold luggage. If you do take liquids with you on the plane, make sure they are sealed in a small, transparent plastic bag.

Reconsider taking Christmas crackers

Most airlines have at least some restrictions on Christmas crackers, and some ban them completely. Better to leave them out of your luggage and purchase them in your destination country.

Check decorations before packing decorations

Christmas decorations made of organic material, such as pine cones, aren’t allowed into certain countries. Australia is particularly strict, prohibiting all foreign flora from entering their country to protect its environment.

Pack bags in layers

Packing in layers (e.g. a layer of clothing, followed by a layer of books then a layer toiletries) is much easier for security to interpret in their scanners than a hodgepodge of items, so will likely get you through screening much quicker.

Be ready to unpack your hand luggage

Pack electronics and sealed liquids at the top of your hand luggage so you can access them quickly and place everything in the screening trays.

Prepare for local weather

Choose a travel outfit that can be easily adapted to the local weather forecast. Pack any extra layers in your carry-on, or ensure they’re easily accessible from your main luggage.

Plan your onward journey

Pre-book any onward public transport well in advance. If driving, familiarise yourself with your route and plan rest stops for journeys longer than two hours. Use a satnav or smartphone app with rerouting options in case of traffic.


Moving overseas this Christmas? Pickfords delivers our customers’ belongings to every country across the world. Request a quote today to avoid disappointment.

What to do before you move abroad: 6 essentials [infographic]

Last week we looked at general tips for moving house, whether within the UK or further afield. If you are planning to live overseas, however, there are a few extra things to check off the list before you take the trip:

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Ready for your move overseas? For a complete removal and storage service from the UK, including expert customs and travel advice, click here to contact Pickfords or call 0800 019 8557.

Moving home advice: 2017 roundup [part 1]

This year we’ve been sharing a wide range of tips and advice to help you make the most of your home move. Here’s part 1 of our 2017 roundup:

Moving in the UK

Protecting your home, whatever the weather

The only guarantee with British weather is that it’s unpredictable. Whether you’ve recently bought a new property or are looking to sell your current one, it’s important to protect against extreme conditions, which can cause damage to your home at any time. Here are our top tips for creating a weatherproof property. 

Bluffers’ guide to moving home [infographic]

To help you prepare for your move, our bluffer’s guide infographic takes you through the whole process, including what you need to do leading up to the day, and what to expect from your removal company. Click here to find out more.

I’m about to move: who needs to know?

When you move home, it’s important to let people know your new address so records can be updated and your post arrives to the right place. To help ensure you don’t miss anyone, we’ve outlined the main parties who will need to know your updated details ahead of moving day.

How to add value to your home

Eyeing the next rung on the property ladder? Simply putting your home on the market is unlikely to generate the capital you need to move up. Here are some adjustments you can make to increase the value of your property.

How to turn people off your home

In this volatile housing market, small changes can make a big difference to the saleability of your home. To maximise buyer interest in your property, here are a few things to avoid.

Moving overseas

Moving to Canada: what you need to know

Canada has long been a favourite destination for UK expats. As the second largest country in the world, Canada has no shortage of things to do and places to go. If you’re preparing for a move to The Great White North, here’s what to expect from the emigration process and expat life once you settle in.

What are the biggest job sectors in Australia?

We’ve listed Australia’s biggest job sectors to help you decide whether the UK’s most popular expat destination holds the key to your next career move. Find out more.

Top tips for buying property abroad

While navigating foreign real estate can be a daunting prospect, the best advice for buying a home can be applied to most international property markets. Discover how to secure the best overseas property, whatever your destination.

Moving to the USA: what you need to know

The US is a land of opportunity for many British expats. Whatever your reason for emigrating, what do you need to get to the US, and what can you expect on arrival?

How to fit in as an expat

Moving abroad is a great chance to enrich your career and your life, but optimising any expat experience means fitting in with the locals and becoming part of the culture. Read our top tips to help you integrate with your host county and make the most of your overseas opportunity.

Moving to China: what you need to know

One of the world’s largest economies, the People’s Republic of China is a popular destination for experienced professionals across a number of industries. If you’re looking for a new opportunity coupled with a unique cultural experience, what’s required to emigrate to the PRC, and what can you expect once posted there?


Looking to move home in 2018? Pickfords offers a wide range of domestic and international removal services for customer across the UK. Visit our website to find out more.

Relocating employees overseas: meeting the challenges

Sending employees overseas can be a great opportunity both for them and your business as a whole. Assignees get to experience a fresh start in an exciting new environment and expand their professional horizons, while your company stands to grow your business across new international markets.

As the employer, once you’ve made the decision to send staff abroad, there are several things you can do to help your assignees prepare for their posting and integrate once they arrive:

Encourage pre-visits

For long-term or permanent relocations, encourage your assignees to visit their host country for pleasure before making the move for work. This is a great way to help them become familiar with their new surroundings and prevent culture shock.

Make sure they’re ready

Permanent travel plans should only be made once everything in the UK has been straightened out. As well as supporting assignees with the practicalities of moving abroad, make sure their colleagues are briefed on how the move will affect normal working patterns and responsibilities.

Ensure there are no surprises

Unfamiliarity with the local legal processes and requirements can be a major source of frustration for assignees. There may be certain rules regarding registering them or their vehicle, obtaining an ID card, etc, that are only more confusing if a language barrier gets in the way. Make sure the assignee is fully briefed before arrival, and has access to expert advice once in-country, to help them settle in without any avoidable drama.

Help assignees integrate

Living miles away from friends and family can cause feelings of isolation, so it’s important to ensure your assignees can quickly make connections in their host country. Provide your assignees with advice and assistance to help them integrate into their new community and establish a social support network.

…but give them a lifeline from back home

Even after an assignee has spent time assimilating into their new environment, the pull of home is likely to remain. Arranging periodic travel back to the UK and encourage them to use Skype or WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and family.


If you’re looking to relocate employees Pickfords can help. Find out about our employee relocation service or request a call today.

What to do before you move: 6 essentials [infographic]

With so much to consider when buying and selling properties, it’s easy to overlook the move day itself. While your removal company will take care of everything on the day, there are a few things to take care of beforehand to ensure your move goes without a hitch. Here are six pre-move essentials to make move day a breeze:

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Ready to move? Contact Pickfords for a free removals estimate, or request a callback today.

Moving home at Christmas [12 top tips]

With presents to wrap, cards to write, decorations to hang and food to prepare, it’s easy to get a little tense during the festive season. But there’s no reason why your home move has to add to the pressure. Follow these 12 tips to ensure your Christmastime move goes without a hitch.

1. Book well in advance

As soon as you know your move date, book your removal company. Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for moving, so book early to ensure you get the dates you want.

2. Choose a morning slot

The night draws in early at Christmastime. Book your move early in the morning to ensure as much daylight as possible throughout the move.

3. Prepare for darkness

If you’re moving long distance or carrying a large household, even an early start may mean your winter move ends in the dark. Pack some torches to help you find the unfamiliar light switches in your new home.

4. Tell friends and family

Make sure all your Christmas cards arrive at your new address by letting friends and family know you’ve moved.

5. Set up post redirection

Even after telling everyone your new address, forgetful friends might still send Christmas mail to your old property. To make sure you get all your seasonal post by signing up to the Royal Mail redirection service.

6. Contact your utility suppliers

With the high costs of gas, electric and water in the winter months, ensure you don’t end up paying the new residents’ bills after you move out. Contact your utility suppliers and let them know when you’ll be moving.

7. Pack a Christmas feast

Don’t forget that shops close earlier over Christmas, so stock up on some essentials before the move, ready for a festive feast after you’ve unpacked.

8. Keep  the kids occupied

Children hyped up on the excitement of Christmas will likely be obstacles to a safe, successful move. Set up a play room or ask a neighbour to babysit until the removal is complete.

9. Ask for help

Even if you opt for a full packing service with your removal company, asking friends and family for a little help with the initial clear-out will go a long way.

10. Keep pathways clear

Most of us pine for a white Christmas, but winter weather can prove disruptive on move day. You can help your removal team by gritting or shovelling any snow or ice clear of pathways and parking areas.

11. Wrap up warm

Moving your belongings in and out means your doors will be open most of the day. Protect yourself against the winter breeze by wearing plenty of warm layers.

12. Invest in seasonal storage

A Christmas move risks exposing Santa’s presents to prying children. Keep your gifts out of the way by placing them into storage for the duration of the move.


Planning a home move this festive season? Book now and Pickfords’ little elves will deliver your belongings in time for Christmas. Contact us for a quote or request a call from your local move team today.

Emigrating to Australia: what you need to know [infographic]

With good wages, a high standard of living and a laid back culture, Australia is by far the most popular destination for British expats. Here’s what you need to know before making the move Down Under:

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Ready to move to Australia? Pickfords helps thousands of expats emigrate Down Under every year. Get a quote and book your home survey today.

Christmas gift guide for the new homeowner in your life [15 gift ideas]

Finding thoughtful, original presents for friends and family is an annual struggle for many of us. But if your loved ones are the proud owners of a new home this Christmas, chances are they’ll love one of these festive gifts:

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Katomi Duo Sparrow Keyring, from Amazon

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Kitchen Conversions Chopping Board, from Find Me A Gift

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Personalised Rustic Glass Clock, from Prezzybox

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Scrabble Lights, from Find Me A Gift

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Wifi Password Chalkboard, from Amazon

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Hand Drawn Bespoke House Sketch, from Notonthehighstreet

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Personalised Decanter Set, from Etsy

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Little Wren Bird Feeder, from Find Me A Gift

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Rustic Wood Wine Rack, from Prezzybox

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Entertainer’s Gift Box, from UncommonGoods

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Polaroid Magnetic Frames, from Find Me A Gift

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Personalised ‘New Home’ Candle, from Notonthehighstreet

 

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Breakfast Master, from Prezzybox

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Gala Photo Display, from UncommonGoods

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‘Home Sweet Home’ Gift Box, from Notonthehighstreet


Planning a home move this festive season? Book now and Pickfords’ little elves will deliver your belongings in time for Christmas. Contact us for a quote or request a call from your local move team today.

How to disconnect your washing machine before move day [3 simple steps]

Removal teams will not typically disconnect your washing machine for you. For safety reasons, most crews won’t tamper with mains, and washing machines ideally need to be fully disconnected, drained and dry before the day of your move.

One solution is to hire a professional plumber, but the extra cost for this straightforward job may be off-putting. If you’re feeling handy and want to avoid paying out, you can disconnect your washing machine yourself. Follow these simple steps to prepare your washing machine for move day:

1. Gain access to the mains and water valves

Most washing machines are installed directly in front of the water valves and mains supply. To gain access:

  • Take any washing out of the machine and switch the machine off.
  • Open the door and place one hand beneath the top of the plastic door seal.
  • Keeping your back straight and lifting with your knees, pull the machine up so the front is off the ground.
  • Slowly shimmy the machine forward, being careful not to damage the floor. If you start to get tired, slowly place the machine on the floor and rest.
  • Keep pulling the machine as far forward as you can without putting stress on the hoses or mains wire, until you have clear access behind the machine.

2. Disconnect all pipes and wires

  • Switch off and unplug the mains socket.
  • Turn the hot and cold water valves clockwise until they cannot be turned any further.
  • Place buckets and towels underneath the water valves and washing machine.
  • Unscrew the hoses from the machine by turning them counterclockwise; point the hoses towards a bucket to catch any excess water.
  • Unscrew the hoses from the wall in the same way, and again for the waste water pipe.

3. Prepare the machine for removal

  • Double check both water valves are completely off.
  • Wipe up any stains or spills on the machine, the wall and the floor until everything is clean and dry.
  • Clean the water intakes with a bristle brush.
  • Remove the power cable or securely tape it to the machine.
  • Secure the drum, ideally with the original brackets supplied by the manufacturer.
  • Shimmy the machine back in place, again take to lift with your legs and not to strain yourself.

Your washing machine is now ready for move day!


Pickfords safely and securely packs and moves all your household belongings to your new home. Contact us for a quote or request a call from your local move team today.

Canadian culture: a British expat guide [infographic]

Canada’s open immigration policy, quality healthcare and multi-sector job vacancies makes The Great White North a high-sought destination for British expats.

As with any new environment, expats will face a number of cultural differences that may jar at first, but over time will serve as a positive reminder of why you originally decided to emigrate:

Canada expat guide


With partner offices in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to Canada every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expatriate dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.