Sending presents abroad for Christmas

 Sending presents to loved ones overseas can be a bit confusing, especially in today’s environment where so many people are juggling work, school and families. Not to mention that postal services around the world are keeping a close eye on packages for dangerous contents.

During the Christmas season the Cayman Islands Postal Service handles about 180,000 pieces of mail a week, which makes this one of the busiest times of the year.

So to help stay ahead of the curve and cut down on holiday stress, the postal service provided some guidelines on the types of presents are good to send and when to send them.

The method of posting and the country it will be sent to will have an effect on when they should be sent. There are basically three choices to send packages through the postal service: surface mail, airmail, air parcel and express mail service. (For the breakout of recommended deadlines by country or region see the list below.)

To make sure packages arrive on time and save money it is better to send parcels off early, says assistant postmaster general Tara Bush.

“The counter staff can advise customers on the best method of sending and it will really depend on what the customer wants in terms of time,” says Bush.

If sending food items like cookies, fudge or candies, use leak-proof containers. Containers decorated with holiday themes are readily available at supermarket and retail stores and sending sweets more festive.

Breakable items should be cushioned with newspaper or other packing material like bubble wrap to avoid damage during shipment. Don’t forget to remove batteries from toys and appliances before posting them; wrap and place them next to the items inside.

Items that should never be sent by mail are cash, liquids including perfume and flammables. Other things that should not be sent include items that have an expiration date or illegal.

If the items are highly valuable, consider insuring the present and getting a confirmation of package delivery. Insurance and delivery confirmation will add to the mailing costs, but for many people it is well worth the price.

Recommended deadlines by region
* Air parcels: 3 December for US and Canada, 26 November for UK, Europe and all other countries.

* Airmail: 10 December for US and Canada, 7 December for UK, Europe and 3 December for all other countries.

* Surface mail: 2 November for all other countries.

* Express mail service: 15 December for US and Canada, 14 December for UK and Europe and 10 December for all other countries.

Quick tips for mailing presents
* Make sure the address is current with local postal codes and include a return address.

* Make sure the postage amount is correct.

* Select boxes that are strong enough to protect the contents. Cushion package contents with newspaper, bubble wrap or Styrofoam. Don’t forget to pack tightly to avoid the contents moving around too much.

* The maximum parcel weight the postal service will mail is 22 lbs. Package dimensions should not exceed 42 inches length or 72 inches wide.

* For more information visit www.caymanpost.gov.ky or call 949 2474.

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