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Old 16.04.2011, 12:35
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

I've found that decent bath towels are quite expensive here as well (often as much as 40 CHF per towel!). Also, if you like to have a top sheet on your bed in the summer, I suggest bringing some sheet sets. The Swiss usually only use a Duvet, and flat sheets are hard to find here.
You can buy normal-sized boxes of brown sugar (light and dark) at Jelmoli for about 5 francs per box. To keep it from getting hard and dried out once the box has been opened, keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge with a piece of sandwich bread in it. And then replace the bread every month or so. This really, REALLY works well. You can also find bigger containers of baking soda and baking powder at Jelmoli (well, bigger than those little packets at least). And the only spice I haven't been able to find here is cream of tartar (used for baking). There is a pretty good Asian grocery store in the main Zurich train station. That Jelmoli store also has a small Japanese section.
Another thing I suggest is... If you have family that will remain in the US that you will sometimes need to buy gifts for online, you might want to keep a US credit card, with a US billing address, if possible. I have so many troubles every time I want to buy gifts online for my family because most US sites that deliver within the US won't accept foreign billing addresses. I wanted to send flowers to my Mom for Mother's Day but can't find a US site that will accept my Swiss billing address when I try to enter payment info.
And when I moved here, I shipped about 20 boxes to myself. I valued each one at under $300 and marked some as "gift" and put my mother's return address on them. And with other boxes, I wrote "moving to Switzerland" on the customs forms (as was suggested by the post office). I never had to pay any customs or VAT, etc. except for my guitar. Apparently, they do charge for electronic-type stuff, no matter what.
Hope some of this helps...
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Old 16.04.2011, 12:50
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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I've found that decent bath towels are quite expensive here as well (often as much as 40 CHF per towel!). Also, if you like to have a top sheet on your bed in the summer, I suggest bringing some sheet sets. The Swiss usually only use a Duvet, and flat sheets are hard to find here.
You can buy normal-sized boxes of brown sugar (light and dark) at Jelmoli for about 5 francs per box. To keep it from getting hard and dried out once the box has been opened, keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge with a piece of sandwich bread in it. And then replace the bread every month or so. This really, REALLY works well. You can also find bigger containers of baking soda and baking powder at Jelmoli (well, bigger than those little packets at least). And the only spice I haven't been able to find here is cream of tartar (used for baking). There is a pretty good Asian grocery store in the main Zurich train station. That Jelmoli store also has a small Japanese section.
Another thing I suggest is... If you have family that will remain in the US that you will sometimes need to buy gifts for online, you might want to keep a US credit card, with a US billing address, if possible. I have so many troubles every time I want to buy gifts online for my family because most US sites that deliver within the US won't accept foreign billing addresses. I wanted to send flowers to my Mom for Mother's Day but can't find a US site that will accept my Swiss billing address when I try to enter payment info.
And when I moved here, I shipped about 20 boxes to myself. I valued each one at under $300 and marked some as "gift" and put my mother's return address on them. And with other boxes, I wrote "moving to Switzerland" on the customs forms (as was suggested by the post office). I never had to pay any customs or VAT, etc. except for my guitar. Apparently, they do charge for electronic-type stuff, no matter what.
Hope some of this helps...
Quite a few good points there. I cannot see a problem buying flat top sheets, though, but next to all the other must-brings that's a minor issue.

Thanks for the suggestion concerning credit cards. Many US companies just don't seem to know there is a world outside American borders.
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  #23  
Old 16.04.2011, 14:10
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Another thing to consider.... if you use small kitchen appliances - food processor, immersion (stick) blender, stand mixer, crock pot, etc, and you have room, you might consider getting some of these in the US (wired for use in Europe). Although I'd do a little price comparison prior.....

For example, although you can find a kitchenaid stand mixer on sale in Switzerland if you want a particular color, you can spend CHF 600 or more. There are companies in the US that sell these products, but they'll only ship to US addresses or military bases. Good news is that they're often less expensive than they are here. Bad news is that the warranty is voided if the appliance leaves the US, the appliance is often wired for the EU (just need an adapter to use it in Switzerand).

If your stuff looks like it's brand new (e.g., less than 6 months old), you may pay duty on it upon entry to Switzerland. So, make your stuff look used, buy it now and keep the receipts.

At any rate, I bought several things - food processor, stand mixer, crock pot all wired for Europe - before we left the US and packed them in our shipment. We saved probably CHF-700 or more on the appliances. But again, I'd check the price to make sure it's worth the trouble.
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  #24  
Old 16.04.2011, 15:06
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

I know most of the stuff like medicine etc. is small but before packing a load of boxes think about if you will ever have a house or appartment big enough here to store everything...
I'm not trying to be sarcastic... the appartments don't usually have any built in wardrobes, kitchens can be tiny, even by European standards, never mind American... Usually appartments have storage space in the basement but even that may be very small and is needed for winter stuff in summer etc.
If you know you are going to have a huge house in the sticks, or a huge budget, then just ignore all I've said...
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Old 16.04.2011, 15:31
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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Another thing I suggest is... If you have family that will remain in the US that you will sometimes need to buy gifts for online, you might want to keep a US credit card, with a US billing address, if possible. I have so many troubles every time I want to buy gifts online for my family because most US sites that deliver within the US won't accept foreign billing addresses. I wanted to send flowers to my Mom for Mother's Day but can't find a US site that will accept my Swiss billing address when I try to enter payment info.
Amazon.com works for a lot of things, but not all of their vendors accept Swiss billing addresses.

For flowers I've had success with http://ww30.1800flowers.com/ - my last order was in December. (I used to use Proflowers, but they changed something two years ago and they no longer accept a Swiss billing address.)
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  #26  
Old 16.04.2011, 15:40
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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If you know you are going to have a huge house in the sticks, or a huge budget, then just ignore all I've said...
If the budget was that huge, there would hardly be a reason for the original post, right?
;-)
After all, you can buy or import almost anything here - if price is of no concern.

Renting storage space can quickly offset any savings...
http://www.zebrabox.com/en/volume.what-cost.asp

You see, Switzerland is, at its heart, still a Calvinistic society.

Unless you are very rich, Switzerland is really not a "shopping-spree" type of country. The idea is to find fulfillment and satisfaction in activities other than squandering money on things that get thrown away rather sooner than later anyway.
You work long and hard, maybe you relax in nature when you don't work (take your own lunches...), rent a flat that is maybe one size smaller than what you actually want (same for the car, if you find you actually need one - public transportation infrastructure is exemplary) and ask yourself every time you feel like buying something "Can I live without this? Will the world go under if I don't buy it now? Maybe I buy it next week".
This way, you should be able to put a decent amount of money away for the bad times.
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  #27  
Old 16.04.2011, 15:56
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

For flowers I've had success with http://ww30.1800flowers.com/ - my last order was in December. (I used to use Proflowers, but they changed something two years ago and they no longer accept a Swiss billing address.)[/QUOTE]

Thank you sooo much! I'll try them!

Also, maybe I should mention that there is a great site, www.drugstore.com, that has a huge selection of American OTC meds, cosmetics, etc. that has pretty reasonable int'l shipping fees and very fast delivery. For whatever reason, I didn't even have to pay any VAT or customs taxes when I ordered from them.
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Old 16.04.2011, 16:31
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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@Lauragestewart & Quax
"inexpensive and huge variety" and "buy everything" It seems to come down to that better to bring as much as possible. It totally makes sense!
Exactly!

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Q1: But then, we have to consider shipping cost vs buying there, right?
My guess is that big/heavy stuff like furniture should be replaced @ Zurch unless they are very special. What are the thoughts?
Definitely. Even given Zurich's pricing, bargain furniture can be purchased at Ikea or second hand. Definitely not worth paying to ship!
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  #29  
Old 17.04.2011, 19:54
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Thanks everyone, this is getting better and better.

@Carrie:

thanks! I updated the list. those small details really helps.

@Edot:
yep. I really was going to buy kitchenaid 220v here... then I discovered Bosch and Kenwood makes also good and very interchangable one (mixer, slicer, blender, meat grinder, shredder and foodprocesser in one) and price is almost same. I might start a new thread regards to mixer/food processes since I bake breads, make sausages and cook like a maniac! (which might not be needed much in the CH since you guys have such great breads, let alone sausages!!)

Mabern:
Yep, another good point. I have to balance "should I bring?" and "space to store"

@Rainer D:
Really good point! Luckily, I'm into slow-food living and never been into shopping and (believe or not) I actually hate the mall.

I visited Switzerland with my fiance couple of times and love the un-materialistic living there. Everyone says it costs $$$... it's true to a point. If you want cheap fake food, US is the best but if you want real food, it's expensive in the US and actually cheaper in the CH.

For instance, Migro sale chicken taste better than Organic-free-range chicken at Whole Foods with premium price. Butter, milk, bread... all better quality in the CH and when think of quality, cheaper in the CH. And the cheeses! I love them! (opps, shouldn't start talking about food.....cannot stop)

So, I'm hoping I can enjoy my life more with down-to-earth, simplicity and fortitude (with good quality food) way of life there.

-------------

Household items:
OTC meds
Vitamins
makeup
razor blades
contact lens!!! (super expensive in ch)
brand stuff/familiar stuff
Bath towel (can cost up to 40CHF)
Flat tops sheets (nonexistent)

shoes/clothing
(petite sizes are available in ch)
stock up favorite underwear
shoes for every occasion (limited varieties and $$$)
Brand Jeans

sporting goods

Food:
vanilla essence
brown sugar (Jelmoli has it for 5CHF)
baking soda/powder (Jelmoli has them, too)
maple syrup
Cream of tartar
good cinnamon and spices
wild rice
oats/oatmeal
BBQ and other specials sauces
beef jerky (if you love them)
any special items


MISC tips
Keep US creditcard/address if possible
When move, send boxes with custom form with “moving” to avoid taxes. (Electronics get taxed anyways) (re: Carrie F)
Do you have place to store???

Household items:
OTC meds
Vitamins
makeup
razor blades
contact lens!!! (super expensive in ch)
brand stuff/familiar stuff
Bath towel (can cost up to 40CHF)
Flat tops sheets (nonexistent)

shoes/clothing
(petite sizes are available in ch)
stock up favorite underwear
shoes for every occasion (limited varieties and $$$)
Brand Jeans

sporting goods

Food:
vanilla essence
brown sugar (Jelmoli has it for 5CHF)
baking soda/powder (Jelmoli has them, too)
maple syrup
Cream of tartar
good cinnamon and spices
wild rice
oats/oatmeal
BBQ and other specials sauces
beef jerky (if you love them)
any special items


MISC tips
  • Keep US credit card/address if possible
  • When move, send boxes with custom form with “moving” to avoid taxes. (Electronics get taxed anyways) (re: Carrie F)
  • Do you have place to store???
  • http://www.drugstore.com/ :does int’l shipping and rarely tax get charged (re: carrie F)
  • If you want send flower to US person: http://ww30.1800flowers.com/
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  #30  
Old 17.04.2011, 20:56
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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shoes/clothing
(petite sizes are available in ch)
I think I have to jump in here to prevent the worst... before you'll find yourself in a situation without clothes.

Actually, there aren't many petite sizes available, and if, they are very expensive compared to the USA.
I would stock up your wardrobe at home, especially if you need clothes for work (pencil skirts, formal trousers etc. aren't available in petite, unless you shop at a high end designer store.)

I second the advice regarding to bring your sport equipment - running/hiking shoes, clothes etc.
And I also would bring, music CDs, Hi-Fi system, headphones etc. those things costs an arm and a leg in Switzerland.
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  #31  
Old 17.04.2011, 21:18
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

...and don't forget to go to the dentist before you leave. Dental treatment here is very expensive.
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  #32  
Old 17.04.2011, 21:20
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

It never ceases to amaze me , how much people think they "Need" the stuff from home. Now, I am the first to leap on any opportunity for vegemite or a real chocolate, marshmellow easter egg, but these things are not essentials.

Yes, things cost more here - but most people have higher salaries while they are here, than from where they have come from.

My general impression of the Swiss, is that they are well dressed and healthy looking. All sorts of clothes, shoes etc are available here, all sorts of food, all sorts of medications ( though, perhaps if one takes a lesson from the Swiss on healthy eating, there may not be a need for all those medications that have mentioned ( that I have never heard of).

One of my joys whenever I have changed countries, is to seek out the local way of life and experience that. It is possible to just pack a suitcase, get on the 'plane and start life in Switzerland.

Having said that, if you have a generous budget for cargo, then think of it in terms of the cost per kilo (or cumec) versus the cost of rebuying that item. From that angle, it is generally going to be cheaper to ship all you want, rather than rebuy (after having the fun of liberating some materialism by getting rid of the wants, from the needs.)

Welcome to Swizerland. It's a great place to live.
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  #33  
Old 17.04.2011, 22:51
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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...and don't forget to go to the dentist before you leave. Dental treatment here is very expensive.
On the average, it isn't any cheaper in the USA, partly even significantly more expensive.
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  #34  
Old 17.04.2011, 23:14
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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  • Keep US credit card/address if possible
  • When move, send boxes with custom form with “moving” to avoid taxes. (Electronics get taxed anyways) (re: Carrie F)
Nothing gets taxed (apart from things like more than 200l of beer or more than 12l of wine).
At least no everyday-electronics.
It may be different if you have a 50k B&O stereo. Or bring a geek-lab full of of computers.

But anything in normal house-hold sized amounts and values will not be of any concern to the customs-officers.

If you want to stock-up on Apple-hardware, do so now - that is really cheaper in the US and worth getting there ;-)
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Old 18.04.2011, 02:25
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

I am Japanese and moving to Bern at the end of June. One word MISO. You can't get it. On my last trip I brought a bunch of seeds for edamame (no can find) and shiso. Bring spices for kimchee. I'm planning to make my own. Oh, and umeboshi. If I grow akajisho, I might be able to make that too.

Thai and Indian food you can get. Bring a rice cooker with a voltage adapter! I got a Swiss one, and it burns the rice on the bottom! :-)

Good luck!
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Old 18.04.2011, 17:21
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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I think I have to jump in here to prevent the worst... before you'll find yourself in a situation without clothes.

Actually, there aren't many petite sizes available, and if, they are very expensive compared to the USA.
After the first post, I went many online shops and looked for petite size.... no joy! All of them comes in 32, 34, 36... etc.

My lifestyle will change alot in CH so I NEED professional clothing; either buy here or there.

So I really thank you for the info. I could have been going to office with sweatpants and flip-flop otherwise
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Old 18.04.2011, 17:31
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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Nothing gets taxed (apart from things like more than 200l of beer or more than 12l of wine).
At least no everyday-electronics.
It may be different if you have a 50k B&O stereo. Or bring a geek-lab full of of computers.
This was another issue I wanted to ask... I actually started a new thread at "general section" because stocking up (i.e. new stuff) and ship might be problem, in theory.

So thanks for the info!
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Old 18.04.2011, 17:43
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Captain graybeard: yes, I"m debating on this..... not sure. It's pretty costly in the US. I guess I will wait.

Bokemono: hi my fellow Japanese. Lucky, my diet is pretty westernized in the US and my miso will last like years! I already chceked out a Japanese grocery store in Zurich and confirmed I can get my most important Japanese food: frozen udon, udon-tsuyu and shirodashi. I make tempura udon when I'm sick. This is non-negotiable! Otherwise I can live without most of Japanese food. (but when I moved to the US some 20 years ago, I was crying because I just couldn't live without soy sauce, rice, etc.)
I grow most of veggies now and can do so there too.... hope you are in Zurich. Then I can totally share Japanese herbs/veggies
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Old 18.04.2011, 18:08
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

Biff:

OK, I need to clarify. I'm making a general list. NOT my list. Some people's need is some people's want. So solely because I'm making a gigantic list doesn't mean I will be buying up everything.

2nd, my lifestyle will change. I live in a very casual town now where everybody lives in sweatpants/flipflops/sneakers. This will change significantly in the CH. So, I NEED professional (petite size) clothing/shoes. Thanks to everyone's advice, I concluded it make sense to buy in the US because of my special sizes.

3rdly, I'm not sure if you lived in Asian/African countries where you have to change your diet completely. Lucky my diet is Europeanized (not Americanized) and don't need much of my ethnic stuff. But for some, who is moving from an Asian country to an Western country (or vice versa), going through a dramatic cultural shock can be eased by his/her comfort food.
For Example, when I went China with Americans, they were crying at 3rd day saying "I cannot eat Chinese food anymore. I need Starbucks!!" And It's a true story.

And thanks for the tip on cost of kilo calculation. I'm not even shipping cheapo plates/pots etc let alone furnitures.
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Old 18.04.2011, 20:20
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Re: What to ship from US to Zurich?

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Captain graybeard: yes, I"m debating on this..... not sure. It's pretty costly in the US. I guess I will wait.
If you already have a dentist in the USA whom you really trust, get a check-up and have done what is to be done. The price level is roughly the same, and he knows you.

Chosing a dentist is a matter of confidence, just like an OB/GYN, for instance. Like in the USA, you may not meet the right person on your first attempt. On the other hand, a dentist who already has a lot of experience with your particular case usually is better than a new one. This way, you can look and ask around after moving to Switzerland without already having a mouthful of possible problems that might put you under pressure.

P.S. Sorry if I was wrong concerning petite size clothing. I was referring to the average size of Americans, not Japanese.
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