If youre planning to send some packages in the mail this holiday season, here are some tips to ensure that your gifts and goodies arrive safely and on time.
Choose a box made of sturdy corrugated cardboard with enough room for 2 to 3 inches of packing materials around the contents. If you are reusing a box, cover all previous labels and markings with heavy black marker or adhesive labels. Heavy items may need to be double-boxed.
Wrap items separately using 2 to 3 inches of protective materials such as bubble wrap, foam peanuts or tightly crumpled paper. Close and shake the box to see if you have enough cushioning. Add more cushioning material if you hear items shifting.
Tape the opening of the box, and also tape over all seams using a strong tape 2 inches or more in width. Masking tape, cellophane tape, and duct tape are not recommended. Do not tie the package with strings or use a paper over-wrap.
No matter which company you choose for shipping, the correct mailing address is crucial. The U.S. Postal Service website, www.usps.com, can help you locate and confirm the correct address for your recipient.
The delivery address should be legible from an arms length away, placed parallel to the longest side of the package. Be sure to include your complete return address. If using a P.O. Box address, the recipients phone number also must be included. Dont put the label over the boxs seam or on top of sealing tape.
If sending mail to a military address, you must show the grade, full name with a middle name or initial and PSC number, unit number or ship name. Replace the city name with APO or FPO, and the state with AA, AE or AP and use a special zip code.
Consult with your shipping company to find out rates, options, drop-off locations and pick-up services. A parcel that weighs less than a pound, and has the proper postage affixed, may be dropped in a Postal Service collection box.
Consider purchasing shipping insurance for valuable items. Packages shipped through Federal Express and UPS are automatically insured up to $100, and additional coverage is available. The Postal Service does not include insurance automatically, but it is available for purchase in several amounts that depend on the method of shipment. Express mail can be insured up to $5,000, and the limitation for registered mail is $25,000.