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CCL - Expats - How To Bring It

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You basically have 3 options on how to get your stuff to Albania:

  • Checked baggage on the plane
    • Cost: $90-$120 per bag (about $2-3 per pound)
      • $25 to go from 50 pounds to 70 pounds (about $1 per pound - this is a good option if you can carefully pack right up to the limit)
    • Since 9/11 this is becoming more and more limited. Even if you are willing to pay overweight airlines might not be willing to carry it.
    • Certain airlines and/or travel agents are able to make exceptions and allow 70 pounds instead of 50 pounds and etc. Check around.
    • Check VERY carefully what the baggage requirements are for your flights. Don't assume anything in these days when airlines seem to change their regulations once before every meal...
  • Air Cargo
    • check out http://www.straightway.com
    • note that if your shipment exceeds a declared value of $300 then customs is a bit of a hassle (you can still get in ONE time with a special customs exemption if you are bringing used stuff to move here to Albania)
      • if your declared value is less than $300 then usually you don't have to do any customs hassles at all. (This is definitely cheaper than sending Christmas presents in a postal package!)
    • Cost is about $1 per pound plus a one-time $80 documentation fee
  • Shipped Container
    • cost from the US may range from $3500 to $5000 depending on where you are located.
    • http://www.straightway.com is a good resource
    • this allows you to bring furniture, major appliances, etc. If you are coming long-term then this is probably your most cost effective solution. (Selling at garage sale prices there and purchasing at new prices here (and as a generalization prices are significantly higher for generally lower quality here in Albania) leaves you with a net loss as compared with just packing everything up and bringing it.) (Note that someone can argue strongly against this on the basis of incarnational ministry - that's your decision. I'm just commenting on the feasibility & the economics of it, not the missiology...)

Some commments on what type of containers to pack in, either for checked bags or for air cargo:
Our experience is that the Rubber-made containers work very well for shipping ... they are a soft plastic that holds up well and doesn't crack like the hard plastic containers do. (We've used a lot of hard plastic type tubs, but many have cracked with travel or use). But the Rubber-made ones are more expensive. A trick that we now use is to drill holes around the edges and secure them with plastic ties. You can use these tubs for end-tables, storage, extra water tanks, etc. (They are very easy to sell in Albania, too.) See K-mart, Wal-mart...

Others have had good results with large, cardboard, "U-haul"-type packing boxes. They came through well and seem to be strong enough. They have the advantage of folding up flat, so you could store them until the next time.

I have also seen many other things shipped...suitcases, regular boxes, and I think the bottom line is it doesn't matter... When we go back I think we'll have a combo of all of the above, maybe even a bicycle box.

  • Sending by post
    • USPS offers flat-rate boxes for $37 for up to 20 pounds. If you can pack them effectively it can be fairly cost-effective...
    • M-Bags are no longer available

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Fun Stuff & Recent Changes

The Center for Christian Leadership exists to serve the evangelical church of Albania. Have you used our library? Have you attended a conference recently? Have you read a book we've published? Do you know a leader who could benefit from some training? Have you made use of the information on our web-page? (Oh, that's what you're doing now!) In all these ways and many others we are here to serve you!

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