Can You Move a Tiny House Overseas?


Having a tiny house is perfect for the avid adventurer, and it can become necessary to think about bringing your tiny house overseas to continue your travels abroad. The next question that you’re bound to ask is, “can I actually bring a tiny house overseas?”

So, can you move a tiny house overseas? It is possible to ship a tiny house overseas but difficult. There are a lot of obstacles in tow. You will need to have the correct paperwork and specialized equipment to get your home across the borders of another country. The easiest way to transport your tiny home is if it is originally built in a shipping container. 

Although there are a lot of factors to contend with, shipping your tiny home across the ocean may be well worth the effort! You must consider the country’s laws, building codes, and permits that need to be processed to allow your house through. There are many things that need to go into the planning of your next adventure abroad. 

Tiny Homes Overseas

There is nothing like bringing a little piece of home with you wherever you go. I suppose in the tiny house world, it’s better to just bring the entire house instead and save yourself the trouble of choosing. 

This is the preferred method of living for a lot of people because it allows them the freedom to move around and always have their home with them. It is also a good choice for the environmentally conscious individuals that don’t require tons of space to live happily. 

One hardship that tiny house owners may encounter is the desire to go abroad with their homes. This is simple enough with proper planning, permits, and equipment, but there are still a lot of issues to overcome. 

Transporting your house is the number one priority because we need the house to be physically present to use it. Choosing to build a tiny home to the specific standards that make it easily transferred on a boat is one option.

If you already own your tiny home, then you will need to prepare it for travel and let the proper authority know that you are coming with it. I explain all of these problems further in the sections below. 

Tiny House in a Shipping Container

If you are new to the tiny house revolution and know you will like to travel overseas, you may want to consider building your tiny house in a shipping container. 

I have found many people prefer this method of transportation because the container already adheres to the proper codes and guidelines necessary for overseas travel. 

A shipping container already has the correct measurements and adheres to guidelines required by the company. Choosing to build your tiny home this way may free up some of the general worries that revolve around the physical transportation of your home. This is ultimately a personal choice that must meet your own needs and wants so that you feel as much at home as possible.

Some common complaints with this form of tiny home is that the ceilings are lower than a lot of people want. It also isn’t as interesting a space to create into a home. However, it may be just the thing you need for your constant travel. 

Roll On/Roll Off Shipping

Your tiny house will need to be moved via container ship to get it to the country of your choosing. Professional shipping companies have a “roll-on, roll-off” offer that allows you to easily take your tiny house on and off the boat. It is called this because they will literally drive your tiny house on the ship and then drive it off once it has reached your destination.

This sounds easy and doable, but we must make sure to comply with all shipping policies before we can just do it. 

Not all shipping companies will allow you to do this with your tiny home because it is so new. As long as you have a vehicle attached that can move the home on and off, you can find a company that will help you. 

One company that I have found that advertises the shipment of tiny homes is called Transcend. They are tiny home specific and head towards a lot of different countries including: 

  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Middle East
  • Australia, Asia
  • Latin America

Many professional shipping companies have moved away from strict “car only” Roll-on/Roll-off policies. They now happily move cars, equipment, motor homes, etc. Check with a few shipping companies to find out their policies and prices to find the one that’s best for you!

Rules/Regulations in Other Countries

Depending on the country you are heading to, there may be regulations that you have to adhere to. Some European countries have strict building codes in place that may make it nearly impossible for you to live inside of your tiny home.

Many experienced tiny house owners explain the hardships of trying to find compatible sewage, water, and electricity hookups. Intense research into the specific country that you are planning to bring your home to is required for a peaceful transition. 

Some of the problems, like compatibility, may be solved if you just take the time to get familiar with your destination’s rules, codes, and equipment availability.

You may also be required to have a permit for your home upon arrival. 

Transporting Your Belongings

Once you find a way to safely get you home to your desired country, you must prepare the home for travel. Some shipping companies, depending on which you choose, don’t allow personal items to stay inside of the vehicles being moved.

This is not a nice thing to hear when you’re literally moving everything you own, however it may be necessary to remove your things before shipment. Tiny house specific companies, which are few and far between, may have different rules than typical shipping companies on how to deal with your personal items. 

In any case, you will need to secure your home before travel. Making sure that whatever you’re allowed to leave in your tiny home stays put is important both emotionally and financially. 

You will want to put locks on your cupboards to keep them from swinging open during transport. You will want to safely stow away any belongings you are allowed to keep aboard.

The key idea to take away is to secure anything that moves! You never know what’s going to happen during transport or travel, and no one wants to open up a tiny home that has all its innards haphazardly strung around the room.

Amazon Sells Tiny Homes

For those of you who do not yet have a tiny home but are hoping to get one fast and use it to travel, there is a solution to your problems! None of us are going to be shocked to hear that Amazon is now dabbling in the sale of tiny homes. 

As I previously mentioned, it is recommended to build a tiny home in a shipping container if you plan on a lot of overseas travel. Amazon has found a solution to the conundrum and provided a way to get custom homes online. 

Follow this link to Amazon’s container home, tiny house offerings. This may or may not be the direction you choose to go in, but may help those who don’t know where to start on their journey of buying their first portable tiny home. 

Related Questions

What states allow tiny homes? If you have the proper paper work and follow regulations when building your tiny home, you should be able to move to any state. Some of the most popular states where tiny homes have thrived include: California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Texas. 

Do I need a permit for a tiny house? You will need a permit for a tiny house no matter its size or location. Whether you are moving around the United States or overseas to a different country, you will need to acquire the proper permits to make your home viable. Not every state, and not every country, has the same requirements for a tiny house, so you will need to do a lot of research into the specific location you are looking at. 

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