I'm moving to another country (Israel/Palestine to the Netherlands) and need to ship my personal effects. For the sake of discussion suppose I'm not shipping any furniture, and every single item fits into a large suitcase.

My plan so far is to use a shipping service, which fills up a container with multiple shippers' packages. But now I've made a curious discovery: It turns out that if I fly KLM, I can take as many as 10 pieces of checked luggage with me, with upto 23kg apiece. This might well cover all of my stuff - for less than 20% of the price. Sure, I might need to pay for transporting those bags to and from the airport, but it's still very cheap.

My question is - is this really feasible? Are there any 'catches' I'm missing? I'm very hesitant to try something like this since it seems kind of crazy.

  • 4
    Size and weight restrictions would be the main issue
    – nkjt
    Aug 27, 2015 at 9:43
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Oct 25, 2016 at 20:22

4 Answers 4


I'd call the airline directly to ensure that you're interpreting their terms correctly and whether they require any additional information or preparation.

And be prepared for a very, very thorough customs inspection. The value of your luggage will obviously be above the monetary limit for customes-free imports, and the amount will suggest commercial activity to the customs agents. So you need some sort of proof that you're moving your household, otherwise they'll have you pay import duties.

  • 1
    That's a very good point, thanks. Do you think something like the combination of an Israeli ID with a place of residence in Israel + signed contract to work in the Netherlands should do?
    – einpoklum
    Aug 27, 2015 at 10:51
  • @einpoklum well, my only similar experience was with German customs, but they weren't too picky about the proof as long as it made sense. So it's probably OK. Aug 27, 2015 at 11:23
  • 7
    @einpoklum Additionally I would recommend finding out what happens if the trip doesn't go as planed - for example if the plane is diverted or you need to get rebooked on a different flight. Would be annoying if you unexpectedly needed to transport the luggage on your own for a short distance, and the people you expected to help you pick up the luggage are far away.
    – kasperd
    Aug 27, 2015 at 13:32
  • Really? In some places arriving with fewer than ten pieces per family seems to mark you out as a suspicion to customs. I don't think the customs inspection will be any more severe than if the goods were shipped.
    – Calchas
    Aug 28, 2015 at 1:51
  • IMHO the customs aspect of this is a red herring. If you're importing a large volume of stuff, it doesn't really matter how you're doing it (checked luggage or via a shipping company) - customs will still inspect it. You need to check the customs laws in Netherlands to see what you need to do. E.g. when I moved from Canada to US and then back with all my possessions, in each case there was a special form to fill out (essentially a rough inventory of all the stuff), and certain things were not eligible for duty-free importation (e.g. alcohol to Canada, so I couldn't move e.g. wine collection)
    – Eugene O
    Aug 28, 2015 at 17:18

Here's your checklist for this task:

Via Ship

  • Estimated Cost of lcl load if sent via ship container - For cost comparison
  • Timelines and terms of pick up - From Door to Door or port to port transport
  • Figure out if the cost & longer time is worth when compared to the Air option

Via Air

Things to check with..

Consulate / Immigration & Legal experts / Expats :

  • Talk to these people with specifics on your Migration + Current or future Citizenship/ Visa status; the mix of these can affect a lot of things
  • Post this or similar question on the Expats SE and connect with some Expats in NL via Internations.org; you could try some other expat & travel forums as well. For brilliant airline information - flyertalk.com
  • Your citizenship/ visa status & how NL sees your migration will determine the amount of scrutiny you may face on arrival
    • Without trying to be racist or biased, eastern nations look at western expats/ immigrants more fondly than western nations do for the eastern counterparts (unsaid, but true reality of the world)
  • How the destination nation looks at your immigration/ migration will also determine your Customs duty if any; typically nations waive it for people undergoing 'transfer of residence'
  • Also, check if your source nation has an export restrictions or will cause issues at time of departure


  • Sizes & Dimensions - Get approved list of sizes & maybe find the size of the pods/ containers that are put under the plane
  • Load - Weight
  • Price
  • Most importantly, pre book and get in writing reservation for X number of luggage pieces - Don't take a verbal confirmation - Contact their special customer care / corporate/ business offices and get email in writing with the contact names & numbers of key personnel in Corporate as well as key staff at airport - ideally for both, source and destination.


  • Wear a comfortable suit/ jacket
  • Look respectable and articulate your situation concisely to immigration on arrival

  • Documents - In perfect shape outlining everything authorities could/ would want to see. Hence, this has to be well researched as outlined in first step


  • Fly first/ business class and you'll get more bags free of charge and airline staff will be more available to you from start to finish

Physical Movement:

  • Pre book and ask for - Wheelchair assistance, luggage & porter assistance
  • Vehicle & Manpower: Get your friends/ family/ colleagues to help or hire & book a bigger van ahead of time

PS: I've done "CHANGE of RESIDENCE" before so this is barely scratching the surface.


  • Packing: Find a good resource on doing that. Plenty of that if you google arond :)
  • +1 just for telling me there's an expats SE :-) ; but the cost comparison - not meaningful, it's way way cheaper than LCL shipping.
    – einpoklum
    Aug 28, 2015 at 6:33
  • @einpoklum - let me put it this way :) I am avoiding thinking about this - what if I had researched this airline bulk deal instead of lcl that I did on my ToR .. haha!
    – Alex S
    Aug 28, 2015 at 6:51
  • @einpoklum - Also, I'd say best contact some Nl Expats on Internations - Reach out to their "city" community ambassador and ask them if they can help and connect you with some people before you execute this plan/ move. You'll get some info from them, that would be hard to find online
    – Alex S
    Aug 28, 2015 at 6:53
  • @einpoklum - By the way did you do a cost comparison between various airlines on their per 'extra' baggage cost? I am curious
    – Alex S
    Aug 28, 2015 at 6:55
  • 1. What's a ToR? 2. I will try and contact some expats on intenationals - I've never been to that site before. 3. It doesn't seem like many airlines flying TLV->AMS offer to carry many extra pieces of baggage - although maybe they do and they just don't publish that fact. Also, there are only a few possible airlines for the dates I'm going to fly, so my research was very limited.
    – einpoklum
    Aug 28, 2015 at 7:27

Short summary of the caveats/issues mentioned thus far in the comments and answers:

  • Individual checked item and overall baggage weight limits.
  • Individual checked item and overall baggage dimension & volume limits.
  • Costs might be higher than they appear:
    • Airline costs per extra luggage item may rise with the number of items.
    • General charge for having extra baggage.
  • The airline might not actually mean what their website says.
  • Handling all those pieces of luggage at the airport.
  • Transporting the luggage to and from the airport:
    • Another person's help may be necessary.
    • A larger vehicle may be necessary.
  • Customs: Need to declare and prove you're moving to another country and transporting your personal affects.
  • The need for 10 suitable containers for luggage; if not suitcases, then need to check whether the airline is willing to carry cardboard boxes, thick garbage-style plastic bags etc.
  • Baggage might get wet (really?)
  • Cardboard boxen are the best bet. I've seen some weird checkin luggage in flights through and fro from india tho. Aug 28, 2015 at 3:47
  • @JourneymanGeek - I can attest to that :) haha!
    – Alex S
    Aug 28, 2015 at 6:18
  • @JourneymanGeek And some boxen for putting your soxen. Aug 28, 2015 at 10:56
  • hm. Box of mangos. Broke open so there were mangos rolling around the belt ;p Aug 28, 2015 at 10:57
  • Reinforced concrete^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcardboard.
    – einpoklum
    Aug 28, 2015 at 11:27

This is arguably US-centric, but given the same premise/objective I wanted to make sure you have an opportunity to read it. There may be answer at Reddit LPT Request: Moving across country

Enjoy the Netherlands!


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