From time to time I have a need to ship a package to Europe or Australia. What is the best and most cost effective way to ship a package to a foreign country? I need to add that this would be a private transaction and not though a business.
I am not an expert, but in the process of selling parts on Ebay, I have learned the following. USPS no longer will ship via surface. You would not have wanted to do that in any case, as it would take up to two months transit. USPS has recently changed their shipping to match the rest of the world. The most reasonable method is called 1st Class mail. For small packages up to 4 pounds (?), this is the most reasonable method that USPS uses. Your next option is a Priority Flat Rate Box. You can calculate postage and size limits for USPS online. Try this:
No doubt our online friends have tried other services and can lend some advice. Basically, it comes down to size and weight. The above is for fairly small items. Not sure what to do with heavy stuff these days.
I've used USPS to ship parts sold on Ebay to many countries. Never a problem and very easy.
I use the USPS exclusively. NEVER will I use UPS; far too expensive: they charge hefty fees--nearly $40--for filling out paperwork that the Post Office does in 60 seconds for free. Further, since most of what I ship are parts sent in for rebuild and return, no import duty should be charged, but UPS does it anyway. You then have to contact them to straighten it out, a big waste of time. My experience has been that the PO will advise you as to the best and most cost effective procedure; UPS will let you spend needlessly and not say a word.
It's a whole different story with UPS' domestic shipments. There, no problem. Just with overseas.
Under 4 LBS can go as econ. International First Class. You can not buy postage over the internet from eather USPS on line nor through PAY-Pa for this. You will need to take the package to the Post Office. The last package I sent to Australia didn't take very long.
I agree heartly that the U.S. Postal Service is the only way to go for shipping oversaes. Just check the website to see if there are any restrictions on the size or shape of the package. I had to send a horn rod for a model A to Poland, and the pacakage restrictions were limited to 48" in length, and the horn rod itself was that long. I had a friend that lives in Windsor take it across the border and mail it from Canada, their restriction was 62 inches, no problem and for some reason it was cheaper.
The Flat Rate International Priority Mail Box, which is the same as the $8.95 box for the U.S., is pretty much $37.00 to go anywhere (Canada, $23.00), with a limit of 20 pounds. When you fill out the customs form, be nice to the guy that is getting the package, lable the contents as a gift. Doing this helps out with any duty or import fees.
Being in Australia and on the receiving end of packages from the US, I think your postal service does very well. I have only ever received USPS packages - all in good time and good condition.
Hello Alan , also in from Australia, l have purchased a fair amount , mostly from the US and have used all three forms of shipping, being
* fedex and ups - fast but very expensive 3 days from you to me - any size ( within reason )
* usps - sea freight - best - unfortunately not available any more - did take 5 - 7 weeks from you to me - by far the cheapest.
* usps airfreight - available in 3 forms , fast meduim and slow , not as cheap as the sea freight but fair l guess , time from 1 week to 3 weeks, but at this point in time no other options are available.
** sea freight inside a container - still available but a lot of paperwork and messy for just single items - time frame - 3to4 months
Costs - values here are from the past 4 - 6 weeks , small packages from you to me say box size of 6"x6"x6" about $15-00
size of 10"x 10" x 10" about $25-00
other sizes refer to your local post office.
l hope that this helps in the mailing of items from the US to Australia.
As long as there is good packing to protect the item , all should be ok , the insurance option ( cheap ) is well worth the small addittional cost.
Cheers from Down Under.
Just one thing. You cannot insure items sent via First Class International mail. Still the service is reliable and I usually tell me customers to seriously consider just taking the risk since I have yet to have a package NOT arrive across the pond. To insure a package you have to ship it priority mail. PM provides a small amount of insurance for free that is based upon the weight of the package but you CAN then add more. The only thing I would caution is that I have NEVER successfully collected on ANY insurance claim made to the US Post Office so I frankly would recommend to forget the insurance and just take the chance but I will of course cooperate and file any claim that I am requested to file but just don't hold your breath that you will ever collect.
From: magregush, sent in a private message to me.
"When you fill out the customs form, be nice to the guy that is getting the package, lable the contents as a gift. Doing this helps out with any duty or import fees." That is fraud! If you want to tell someone in person that, do so, but to post it on a fourm that goes all ove the world, not a good idea! Yes I do mail to other countries, and yes I do fill out the custom forms right.
And I am sure that you have signaled for every turn you have ever made while driving, and have never broken the speed limit? Being absolutly perfect and never breaking any rule must be very difficult work sir. Before calling out other people, one should look very hard at themselves first.