Mailing Parcels Overseas

You’ve finally got round to arranging a parcel delivery to your friend overseas, but you’ve just found out how much it’s going to cost you (so much so that you might even be thinking it’s cheaper to visit the international destination in person). But never fear, as there’s a bunch of tips we’ve put together to help ensure you keep your costs – as well as your stress levels – at a manageable level.

Using a courier service? Read this

When it comes to sending packages, we naturally rely on the services of the local post office to fulfil our mailing needs. But thanks to the internet, we now have a huge selection of competitive courier quotes to choose from; depending on the following factors:

  • Weight. Lightweight parcels aren’t much of an issue, but anything weighing over 1kg can end up being quite costly – especially if you require tracking.
  • Delivery dates. Another thing to consider is how soon you need the parcel delivered – for urgent deliveries that are affordable, couriers are your best option.

Wrap it up

An aspect that often gets overlooked is packaging – which can be costly both in terms of overestimating how much packing you actually need along with not providing enough packaging; resulting in the contents of your parcel being damaged:

  • Dimensions. Before you get a quote, make sure you correctly measure your parcel – as if it ends up being heavier than originally thought, you may end up having to pay a surcharge. Additionally, it may not fit in the courier company’s sorting machine; meaning it could become damaged or be returned to you. (Note: for international shipments, overseas delivery fees are often based on ‘volumetric weight’. To calculate this, the formula is usually length times height, times width – cm – which is finally divided by 5,000 to give you the final volumetric weight in kilograms).
  • Prohibited/no compensation goods. Many couriers will highlight which items are banned from their delivery services, so make sure you examine your items when you collect them. If you’re sending fragile items that could be susceptible to breakage, be sure to go with a courier who will offer compensation.
  • Delivery forms. Courier companies expect you to complete a booking form for each consignment you mail – however, when sending international items, these forms tend to be more detailed due to tax reasons.
  • Delivery/collection. With courier drivers having varied schedules, a delivery could turn up at any time – however, the majority of couriers will attempt to make a delivery at least three times before returning the items back to the sender.

It’s important to bear in mind that if you’re mailing or receiving packages from overseas, you may find that you’ll have to pay extra tax or duty charges (depending on what exactly it is you’re sending). For more information, take a look at the HMRC website.

Lastly…what you need to know

Before you arrange your overseas mailing, follow this checklist:

  • Always research your courier. Ask a friend for recommended companies or check out their reviews – the more popular they are, then the more widely used they will be.
  • While using a discounted courier allows you to save money compared to the bigger brands, you may want to rethink this approach – for if your parcel goes missing, making enquiries with the discounter can often prove troublesome. They should be able to offer you a claim from direct from the main carrier, but this could be a hugely time-consuming process.

Whether it’s for convenience or for budgetary purposes, mailing requirements will differ across the board – so be sure to weigh up your options before committing to an international consignment.

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