Be A Frugal Relocator: Properly Pack These Common Medical Items For Your International Relocation

The costs of an international relocation can add up fast. You may have to pay taxes and port fees upon your arrival, plus the cost of a boat ride or flight to transport you from your current home to your new destination. You also have to pay moving fees for your personal possessions, so you may find it helpful to only move important items, such as medical supplies and healthcare documents, that cannot be replaced as easily as household goods like furniture and cookware.

Some moving companies charge by weight, while others set a price based on the number of boxes or the measurements of the shipping containers. Regardless of how the international relocation company that you choose determines its fees, you can potentially save money on your move by carefully packing the medical items listed below.

Healthcare Documents

Many healthcare providers have jumped on the trend of keeping Electronic Health Records, commonly referred to as EHRs, for patients and insurance companies. Before you lug multiple boxes filled with healthcare documents halfway around the world, find out whether your previous providers stored your records online. You may still wish to keep some hard copies of important medical documents, but you can probably free up space in your shipping containers by keeping digital records of the following medical information:

  • Copies of X-rays and CT scans
  • Prescription drug history
  • Medical procedures, including in-patient and out-patient surgeries and treatment programs
  • Formal diagnosis history
  • A list of attended appointments

If you decide that you want to create a digital record of your healthcare history but also want to keep the printed copies of documents, consider placing them in a storage facility. Many international moving companies offer storage options ranging from small locked containers to full-size rooms. If you expect your long-distance move to be temporary, then you may find it beneficial to keep hard copies of your medical records in an American storage center. 

Electronic Devices

Before you pack all of your electronic medical devices, ask yourself which ones you actually need. For example, if you bought a blood glucose monitor when you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes during your last pregnancy, you probably don't need it anymore. If you have several electronic thermometers, pack one and donate or sell the rest. Look for products that do double duty, such as a device that measures heart rate and blood pressure, so that you don't have to pack multiple items with similar functions in your boxes.

If you can't part with any of your electronic devices, at least make sure you remove their batteries. The average weight of a AA battery falls somewhere between 19 and 29 grams, which can add up if you have numerous batteries in your shipping container. Also, many batteries are flammable under certain conditions, so your moving company may request that you leave them out anyway.

Mobility Aids

If you regularly use a wheelchair, you may have a spare on hand and wish to transport it to your new home. Before packing the wheelchair, fold it up or disassemble it so that it takes up less room in your shipping box. Manual wheelchairs can typically be folded into a slim package without being taken apart, but you may have to fully disassemble a motorized wheelchair. Some motorized wheelchairs can only be taken apart with special tools, so review your wheelchair's instruction manual to make sure you have the items you need. Don't forget to place a copy of the manual in the box so you can easily put your chair back together after you settle into your new home.

Follow a similar routine when packing a rolling walker. Your walker's instruction guide should have a section that tells you how to take apart the walker. Basic walkers without any special features may fold easily, but it might take extra effort to disassemble a walker with multiple wheels and accessories. 

There are some medical items that you might not want to pack with the rest of your household goods, such as prescription drugs, bandages, and vitamins. Consider packing these items in a lightweight travel bag similar to what you'd bring on a vacation. Local and international laws vary when it comes to what you can transport, so talk to a representative from a reputable moving company that has experience with international moves, such as Hollander Storage & Moving, prior to packing any medical items.