Mailing Advice from our CEFC Global Partners Team
International Packaging Tips
Flat-rate priority boxes: Don’t necessarily assume this is the least expensive option—it may be better to package the items in your own box and then pay the exact postage. Heavy lidded shoe boxes work nicely—if the box arrives reasonably intact it will be reused!
How to prepare the package for shipment
- Line the box with a clean trash bag, place all contents inside the bag, and then seal the bag before you seal the box. This protects the contents from water damage if (when!) the box is subjected to rain or high humidity.
- Include a greeting card with a personal note in the package. Your package is being sent as a gift, but some countries want the inclusion of a greeting card for confirmation. “Merry Late Christmas” or “Happy Early Birthday” work fine.
- Always include the shipping address inside the box, on top of the contents. Also, ensure the address is written EXACTLY as provided by the recipient. If the address uses non-Western characters, then enclose a COPY of the address as provided by the recipient.
- Seal ALL package seams—not just the center seam—with quality packing tape Better: encase the entire package in packing tape. This helps keep all contents safely inside even if (when!) it is subjected to rough handling or gnawed on by insects/rodents.
- Write “TO” and “FROM” addresses (see above for detail) on a large piece of paper, place it over the taped seam of the package, and then apply tape over the ENTIRE paper. This makes it less likely for inquisitive eyes and fingers to open a package without detection.
Expedited shipping and insurance
- Do not pay extra for these services. Delivery slowdowns typically occur in the destination country, NOT en-route TO the country (which is what the expedited shipping pays for).
- Similarly, damage to or non-delivery of a package typically happens in the destination country, and therefore any purchased insurance will be invalid.
Other options to consider
- Mail a greeting card! Often they are large enough to include a disk of music, photos, or videos without requiring much (if any) additional postage.
- If you want to send new or used books, Better World Books has free shipping worldwide: The downside is that shipping may take a couple of months, so plan ahead!
- Remember to pray the package on its way!
- Don’t take it personally if a package isn’t received—and should that occur don’t let it stop you from trying again. We once had a letter take 14 months to arrive!