I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to make friends with people from around the world and on occasion I’ve wanted to send them things through the post (despite my love of online communication nothing trumps getting something real through the letter box).
You probably already know that sending a parcel overseas isn’t always straight forward – making sure you have everything from shipping labels to shipping documents properly prepared can be a bit of a nightmare at times. The good news is that many online courier services now do most of the hard work for you, providing the tools you need to customise the details of your delivery without asking you to be an expert in international shipping first.
Even so, knowing a little about the key issues that can delay a delivery will always put you in a stronger position when you need to send a parcel to Australia or any other part of the world…something I’ve been looking into now that my little sister is in Australia!
First of all, if your parcel is being delivered within the EU then the potential problems you’ll face are far fewer than those can arise with overseas deliveries.
Deliveries outside of the EU will likely require customs documentation detailing precisely what is being sent. Deliveries outside of the EU are also likely to be subject to import duties as set by the destination country. Your courier should be able to provide full assistance and clarification here without too much fuss.
It is also worth bearing in mind that the further your parcel needs to travel the more it will be handled
International couriers operate on something called a “hub and spoke” model – meaning that deliveries are moved through a series of sorting depots as they progress towards their destination. Understanding this is important because the more your parcel is handled (being loaded off and onto various vehicles) the more chance there is of the contents becoming damaged. Preparing your package adequately before it is collected will save you a great deal of frustration further down the line. Use a sufficiently strong box, consider bubble wrap (particularly if your item is delicate) and secure the parcel with at least 2 layers of tape.
No matter what you’re sending, you should find that your courier should provide helpful tips and information that should make getting the most out of their services. It’s particularly worth asking about your options because there may be ways to save money, particularly if you do not have a time-limit. Whenever you find yourself unsure about any aspect of sending your parcel, your first port of call should be with your courier.