In the age of electronic mail, many of us have forgotten to use the good ol’ postal system. Unless one is sending printed documents, gifts, or other items to family and friends living overseas through the mail, the postal system seems to be an unnecessary complication, and at times, an intimidating process that you will swear off completely.
Actually, international shipping or mailing is an easy process, especially in countries with reliable postal systems. Most postal systems (including the US Postal System and UK’s Royal Mail) guarantee service to Australia, making shipping your package to family and friends there a painless experience. However, in light of certain incidents involving mailed packages, there are certain precautions that members of the Universal Postal Union (including the Australia Post) take with all shipments entering their country. You should always check the shipping prices to Australia.
Label your packages properly. Make sure that you have the correct address. If you are not sure about the postal code, check it online or ask for the code over the counter at the post office. Black ink over white paper is always preferable, and if your address labels are handwritten, use block letters especially when shipping belongings to Australia. If using machine-printed labels, use readable fonts like Arial or Courier in black ink.
Check the shipping cut-off dates, especially during holidays. The holidays are a very busy time for everyone, including post offices. Most postal systems inform their customers of cut-off dates beforehand or have a fixed calendar that they use every year. If you want the receiver of your package to receive it on a certain date, plan accordingly.
Check shipment restrictions. Lithium batteries are deemed unsafe for international shipping by most post offices, so you may want to check toys or other gadgets you will send to Australia. Items with flammable or dangerous gasses and high sensitivity to heat, toxic substances, and alcoholic beverages are some of the things that are usually banned by postal services. Specificities on the prohibitions and restrictions may vary with every country, so you may want to consult with your local post office regarding the contents of your package especially if you are unsure about their safety.
There are different services offered by your country’s postal system. The post office offers a variety of services that you can choose from—depending on the size of your package and how fast you want it delivered to the recipient in Australia. For example, if you are using the US Postal System, there are two options when it comes for sending packages. The cheaper one, called Parcel Post, does not guarantee fast delivery for parcel shipping and is subject to postal inspection regardless of how meticulous you wrapped your package up and specific instructions you attached to it. Priority Mail, on the other hand, is more expensive but is delivered faster, exempt from inspection, and the sender is not charged for the return of the package should the recipient fail to claim the package, this will be mentioned in the cost of shipping to Australia.