What You Need to Know About Shipping Internationally

When you spend a lot of time travelling overseas, there are going to be many occasions that you’re likely to miss when it comes to your friends and family. It can feel a little isolating knowing that things are going on without you being able to be there, particularly if you find yourself somewhere for longer than you intended, due to the pandemic. However, postal services mean that you can still be a small part of somebody’s day by sending them a gift from wherever you are. Unlike local delivery, which is reasonably straightforward, international delivery can add some very specific complications. Here are some of the things you need to know about shipping internationally.

What is different about International Shipping?

Your gifts can reach people when you can't
Your gifts can reach people when you can’t (PC: Gabby K)

Overseas shipping requires a lot more thought than local shipping. The biggest example would be having to consider the price of postage depending on the location, secondary only to learning about what can and can’t be legally sent to various locations. If you send specific items that don’t comply with the local customs regulations, they will very likely be held up at customs. If you’re sending a gift to somebody, the last thing they’re going to want is to pay a customs charge for something that was sent to them. However, this shouldn’t put you off shipping items to friends and family overseas. Shipping internationally doesn’t need to be challenging. Nevertheless, plan ahead and make sure you’re up to date on the basics to make this beneficial service cost-effective to your business.

Learn What You Can & Cannot Send Internationally

What goes on behind the scenes when you transport via ship (PC: Julius Silver)

You cannot ship everything to every country for the same price. For example, if you’re sending gifts from the USA to family in the UK, the items will have to travel thousands of miles to reach the correct destination. There will also be some legal requirements for things that can’t be sent internationally. For example, some food items and weapons are illegal to transport. Each country comes with its own laws, and this will include different customs laws around what is and what is not accepted through the post. If these are not complied with, the products will get held up at customs. In the UK, products such as pesticides, matches and foreign lottery tickets cannot be legally shipped. Other products like fragrances and aerosols cannot be shipped abroad. So this is worth considering when it comes to choosing which gifts to send.

The Costs of International Shipping

It is not always possible to put a price on the worth of a gift.
It is not always possible to put a price on the worth of a gift. (PC: monicore)

In addition to the location, other factors of shipping costs should be considered. These are:

  • The size and weight of the package
  • How it is being sent (class, courier, recorded delivery, etc.)
  • How it needs to be packaged (e.g. polystyrene for delicate products v/s envelopes for clothing)

When shipping abroad, it’s always best to shop around for accurate quotes to get the best deals. There are other factors to think about too such as taxes and customs clearance fees. Using mail fulfilment services can help you avoid complications by going with a brand you can trust.

Have you ever shipped anything internationally?

Do you enjoy receiving packages from abroad?

Let me know through your comments below.

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