International Shipping Packing Tips
Whether you own a business that frequently ships items to other countries or you often mail packages to friends and relatives who live overseas, international shipping can be a real hassle.
The actual shipping part is not so difficult, but knowing how to package and prepare items for shipping internationally can be confusing. Each country has its own methods and laws about shipping, and each shipping company has its own way of handling international packages. So we’ve put together some packaging tips to make international shipping easier.
Packaging Small Items
With very small items, using a padded envelope might be sufficient. Padded envelopes are less bulky and less costly to ship internationally. Small items such as books, videos, CDs, jewelry, photos (in frame), and even small garments can usually fit in padded envelopes. The padding offers extra protection from breakage, and the envelopes are much easier to seal than boxes.
Packaging Bulky Items for International Shipping
Bulky items should be packaged in sturdy corrugated boxes to ensure safe delivery. The boxes should have no holes, moisture, or weak spots. Use shipping tape – not regular tape – to seal the box from all points. Use double or triple tape layers on the box for reinforcement. If reusing an old box, be sure there are no other labels on the box that might confuse the delivery company workers.
With international shipping, packages usually pass through many hands before reaching their destination. The package might be placed on a truck, then a ship or airplane, and then another freight truck for final delivery. Keep this in mind when packaging your item. The box might encounter moisture, very hot or cold temperatures, and it might even be dropped a few times! Package it tightly so it will not be affected by these encounters.
For fragile products, be sure to wrap the items individually with lots of cushion in between the items. Use paper, plastic bubble wrap, or Styrofoam packaging products to give added cushion. Always mark your fragile packages as “fragile” on all sides with a permanent stamp or marker. When a package handler sees the word “fragile” they will be more careful with the package. Also, it is required that you mark the package if it contains potentially hazardous materials.
For large electronics products such as TVs, computers, etc. always use Styrofoam corners and sheets to cushion every side and corner of the item. Also, check with the freight company to learn about any restrictions concerning international shipping for these types of products.
Labeling Packages for International Shipping
Labels are often provided by the shipping agent, but should be thoroughly filled in with all needful information. With other countries, be sure to include your return address completely with your country of origin. It’s a good idea to include a second label inside the package just in case the outside label comes off or becomes unreadable. Indicate on your labels if there are high-value items inside the package.
Many shipping and freight providers offer abundant supplies, labels, boxes, and envelopes to make shipping easier. Some companies even offer these items free of charge, which saves you money on shipping. Also, most major parcel services such as UPS, FedEx, and DSL do ship internationally, which makes the transition to international shipping much easier.
With these simple packaging tips, you can have peace of mind with every international shipping effort.