In this age of global interconnectedness, there are hundreds of thousands of packages being shipped internationally. Do you have one that needs to cross the border? We can help. Here’s a quick rundown on how to ship a package internationally. As a bonus, we’ll throw in some other tidbits that you may find useful about packages going international!

1. How easy is it to ship packages internationally?

It’s actually surprisingly simple to ship a package out of the country. It just takes only a few more steps. After you’ve shipped your first package internationally, you’ll be surprised at how easy it was and you’ll pretty much be as much of a pro as anyone can be at it.

2. Know the rules

Before you think about how to ship a package internationally, check the type of item so that you know without question that it can be sent. There are different rules in every destination country. Know what’s restricted or prohibited. You don’t want to have your package returned after days thinking it’s been shipped only to find out it’s been denied access due to an error in including something prohibited.

3. Find the weight

If you’re going to be shipping packages internationally regularly, do yourself a favor and buy a postage scale. You will need to know the weight of your package so that you know what to provide as a price quote to international customers if you’re a business or alternatively, if you’re sending privately, you will know what you’re walking into price-wise. You don’t need a high tech scale or anything but you need an accurate reading.

4. Calculating the postage fee

You don’t need to visit the post office to get an idea on what you will be paying for an internationally shipped package. Once you have the weight, there are several websites online which will tell you the postage fee. We recommend USPS.com. On the main page of these sites, click on ‘international shipping’, select your destination country, and then enter the weight. In a couple clicks, you have all the information you need on postage fee.

5. Preparing the package

You need to prepare your package so that it’s safe and well-supported so that it reaches destination without any damage or unexpected issues. Be sure to secure it with tape or in a box as appropriate. You also want to select a carrier you trust to deliver on time and in perfect condition.

6. Why not to compromise on packaging

Let us be clear in saying that packaging isn’t to be compromised on. Buy what you need to protect the contents of what you’re sending. A corrugated and rigid cardboard box is appropriate. What’s in the box should be wrapped in newspaper or tissue paper, or similar materials to protect them. Everything should be packed, sealed, and labelled. Be generous but also purposeful with the tape.

7. Customs forms

Once you have your package all done up and ready to ship, you will also be required to fill out some forms identifying what you’re shipping and other pertinent details. There may be different forms for different countries, in addition to their being different paperwork depending on the weight. You may want to contact your shipping company to find out which paperwork needs completion. They may encourage you to fill it out with them there or you may find it easier to complete at home.

8. Visible shipping labels

Make it easy for customs to process and get through, ensuring the shipping label is visible and properly affixed wrinkle-free to the largest side of the box. This label shouldn’t wrap around the edges or be applied over a seam nor a box closure. As long as it’s visible, you shouldn’t have problems getting it mailed out and having received. How to ship a package internationally heavily relies on all paperwork being properly filled out and labels being adequately displayed.

9. What’s the cheapest way to ship internationally?

This is a very common question and the answer is it depends. If you have a single package to ship, a carrier like UPS or FedEx works but without a business account, rates can be insanely high. In fact, costs can be up to three times higher than the national postal service shipping internationally through one of these guys. There are other companies that give more affordable courier rates that are worth looking into.

10. How long will it take for a package to arrive?

The carrier has ultimate say over the length of time it takes for a package to depart and then, arrive at its destination. On average, you can expect international shipping to take 7 to up to 21 working days. If customs is particularly slow, unfortunately, some packages have taken up to 6 weeks for delivery. Be sure to send the package at an appropriate time so that it doesn’t arrive past the date you intend.