Moving Experience Interview: From France to the US

Last updated on February 18 2021, M. Rodríguez

This time around we interviewed Sarah, who opened up to us with the ins and outs about her move from France to US. Read on to find out what she had to say!

To start – tell us a bit about yourself! 

I’m a New Yorker who had been living overseas for over 30 years, specifically in France. So, for me, this move was a return back to my home —New York! 

What made you decide to pack-up your life in France and move back to US?

Well, I decided to move partially because I retired and partially because my son is here in the US. I also have a lot of friends back here, including my best friend, so that also influenced my choice. As well, the confinement in France because of COVID-19 was just too much, it was too much isolation for me. This confinement interfered with my work as I was working on something that couldn’t go remote, so moving back to the US where I could be with family and friends while still worked seemed like the better choice.

New York City skyline at sunset

When did you start planning your move?

I made the decision to move around mid October 2020 and moved by the beginning of December 2020. I had a very short notice move since I only started to look for movers once I was approved for the apartment here in New York. So yeah, very short notice considering I was moving over 30 years of my life back to New York.

What would you say were your first thoughts about moving? Were you concerned, excited or a little bit of both? 

I was numb, to tell you the truth. But I have friends, expats like myself, who moved recently and had terrible experiences. They were charged additional fees in the States, or their things came broken, or boxes were lost. But that was not the experience that I had. Since the beginning, I had an excellent experience with the movers. Everybody was very honest and hardworking. No one freaked me out, so I did not feel concerned but rather felt reassured.

We know that moving usually requires a ridiculous amount of research. From your perspective, what were the things you considered to be important to research before moving?

I mean you have to research everything! When I first moved to France, I had to certainly research about pediatricians and dentists since I was moving with a small child. As well, in my day at least, I had to bring translated a lot of documents like my marriage certificate, for example –so if you’re moving to a country outside the US this is likely important. Overall, administrative stuff is very heavy in France.

When moving to America, I didn’t have to do much research since I was moving back to where I’m originally from. But after being in a completely different system for 30 years, there are so many things you have to start from scratch –so moving back wasn’t as easy as you might think. Even the simple things like getting my mail transferred and changing my address on my bank account were things that I had to research how to do. As well, organizing Medicare was definitely tiring.

Manhattan bridge photographed from between two buildings

From the thousands of moving companies out there, how did you end up choosing yours?

I went on Sirelo and filled out the quote form. One company contacted me immediately, which was Premium Removals Solutions. I was also contacted by a few other movers but they contacted me way too late –I had already engaged with Premium Removals Solutions by that time and liked them, so I decided to just stick with them. Overall, my decision wasn’t price sensitive because I knew it was going to be an expensive move. So, for me, the decision was primarily based on the quality of the services I was going to be provided rather than on money.

Which service level did you choose?

I chose a door-to-door service.

Packing up your entire life into a few boxes is definitely something that requires some serious organization skills. How did you find the packing process in general? Would you consider yourself a master in the fine art of packing after this move?

I didn’t pack a thing myself, the movers took charge of the packing. The only thing I did was send some clothing ahead since I knew I would be living in New York for at least a month until my whole shipment arrived, and it’s difficult to be living somewhere where you don’t have any of your belongings.

Now to the real exciting part, tell us all about your move! Did everything go according to plan?

Yes, everything went exactly as I wanted. From the start, Premium Removals Solutions did an excellent job moving me out of a 5th floor in France. When I first contacted them, I told them that I really preferred for them to come over to see everything because otherwise I was going to get an estimate and months later they were probably going to tell me I had more than what they thought. And then an employee from Premium Removals Solutions showed up very quickly to check everything out –as I mentioned before, other movers didn’t even contact me until two weeks later. I was happy that these movers contacted me right away and sent an employee right away. I had multiple phone discussions with this employee and he was very reassuring throughout the whole process –which I appreciated because transatlantic moves are very complicated.

Luckily everything went very smoothly with both the US and French movers –everything arrived in good shape, even my antique furniture. Everybody was professional and safe (they all wore masks) –overall they both provided me a really great experience.

Aerial view of the Manhattan area in NYC, including Central Park

Are you master of chaos or is chaos master of you: What are 3 tips that you think could help others make their moving day less chaotic? 

  • Be very clear about what you need and about what you want. For example, I made sure to be very clear about how I didn’t want any of my stuff to be taken out from the container throughout the entire move –so from the moment the container was loaded and sealed outside my apartment in France to the moment it arrived to my front door in New York. And this is exactly what happened, nothing changed in the container –no boxes were moved, nothing was out of place. I actually had a picture of what it looked like when it left and it was exactly the same when it arrived.
  • Don’t leave the house –be there when movers pack your things. Making sure you supervise everything is very important, because only you know what’s valuable and what isn’t valuable.
  • Already organize your furniture and belongings room by room, so that when the movers pack they put things that belong together in the same lot of boxes.
  • Throw out and/or donate as many things as possible. When moving from the US to a European country of vice-versa, it also is a waste of money to move with your appliances since the voltage is different. So probably also get rid/donate those before moving.

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Let’s talk money: Did your move cost as much as you thought?

It was expensive, there was no question about it. The total amount was around €10,000. I had an incident in which the US counterpart tried to charge me some additional fees but I just told them how my agreement with the French mover was for a door-to-door service so those fees were not part of my responsibility. At the end they worked it out and I didn’t have to pay a nickel more than what I was originally invoiced.

How long did it take for your things to arrive?

It took a while because there was some congestion in France, so instead of leaving at the beginning of December as originally planned it left around mid December. So I didn’t get my shipment until the end of December. But once it arrived in New York it went very quickly. The company in New York were very attentive.

And last question: What is your favorite part about being back in New York?

Family, friends, and work. That’s it.

Thank you so much Sarah for taking the time to answer these few questions. We wish you the best of luck in your new home! 🙂 

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