When making an international move, there are two ways to move your household goods: by air and by sea. Obviously, it will take longer for your items to arrive if you're moving them by boat. This option usually saves you money, and sometimes provides the best means of transport. When trying to decide, look at both options in terms of cost, factoring in any furnished rentals you may need to pay for in the interim.
If moving by sea, your household goods will be packed into containers that are usually loaded at your residence. These containers are seaworthy and usually made of wood. Once your home is packed into the containers, they are then shipped by rail or transport to the port where they are then loaded on to a steamship container. The container is then loaded on the boat as cargo. Once your goods have arrived in the new country, the container is unloaded and must pass through customs. International movers will be able to help you with the custom forms and are responsible for clearing your goods.
When we moved from the US to Canada, we had to meet our mover at the customs office in order to get our goods cleared. Process will depend on the country you're moving to. Again, the international moving company will be able to guide you through every step of the move.
Moving household items by air is becoming increasingly popular, despite a much higher price tag than shipping by boat. Heavy cardboard boxes are normally used to pack your goods, although some air freight companies will use containers. I strongly recommend that you downsize the amount of stuff you move if you're moving by air. Leave books with friends or investigate long-term storage options. Just include the monthly fees in your moving budget when determining how much it will cost you to move. You may find that shipping items by air is less expensive than renting a furnished place to live or hotel costs.
As with all moves, make sure you investigate the international moving company before you hire to make sure your things are in good hands.