Expert view: Moving to the UAE

nvestors planning to move to the UAE need trusted assistance when it comes to relocating their precious possessions says Abu Dhabi-based independent relocation expert, Shawn Wood.

Look for the FIDI seal of approval. The Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux is a global organisation of approved movers meeting high standards. “Members have to apply every year to be part of it,” Shawn says. “They do customer service audits and check credit ratings to make sure there won’t be any delays because (the mover) isn’t paying their bills at the other end”.

Watch the wooden furniture. If you’re thinking about bringing wooden items to the UAE, particularly unfinished pieces, consider leaving them at home or shipping them in a sealed crate. “The weather in the summer months can ruin your nice table,” Shawn warns, explaining that exposure to intense heat and humidity “will crack and split wood, something that’s often overlooked”.


Invest in insurance. “If something is really valuable, have it insured,” Shawn states. “Moving companies offer transit insurance, and though it’s optional, if you have a lot of high-value items that you care about, it’s definitely worth paying for”. Some movers also specialise in transporting valuable items, such as fine art, so look for one that meets your needs.

Make major new purchases before the movers arrive to ensure an accurate price estimate.“People don’t realise quotations for moving are based on volume,” Shawn explains. “When moving day comes, they’ll have suddenly have way more stuff that they’ve just bought, and though companies will move it, the original estimate will no longer be valid and there will be additional charges”.

Find a moving company with an office in the UAE, and if it’s not possible, ask your mover for detailed information on who will handle things locally. If you’re using a company that doesn’t have a solid local network or an Emirates branch, they’re “probably most concerned with getting the lowest price and securing the business rather than having a great agent on the other end” Shawn warns.

Move in the winter if possible. Summer is the busiest season for moving to and from the UAE due to schools starting in September, so movers are usually booked solid and consequently, charge rates within the highest point of their price bracket. “If you have flexibility,” Shawn says, “go in the winter, or in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall”.