Parcel Tips: Day 5

We have reached the end of our parcel delivery tips week, and we’re rounding off with tips to ensure your parcel actually makes it to its destination. Following all our previous tips should put you in a good position when it comes to helping your parcel get to its destination in one piece, but there are a couple more things you should do to help it on its way.

Firstly, make sure you opt for a courier you can trust. RAND only works with the best couriers so that you know your parcels will always arrive on time. If you are using a signed for service, let the recipient know in advance so that they can make sure they are in or have enough time to make alternative arrangements with their local post office.

Another feature you should use is a tracking service. RAND offers parcel tracking for all parcels sent through our system, and it can help you follow the journey of your items around the world for your own reassurance and so that you can let the recipients know where they have got to.

Next time you decide to send a parcel overseas, make sure you do it with RAND for competitive rates and a service you can trust.

Parcel Tips: Day 4

We are now on the penultimate day of our parcel packaging guide, and today the focus is on packing materials. Whenever you send a parcel internationally, whether it’s fragile or not, you should get into the habit of filling the rest of the box with quality packing materials to stop the item from sliding around and getting damaged or broken.

The key is to choose lightweight materials to avoid bumping up the weight, and therefore the price, of sending a parcel abroad. Bubble wrap is a favourite, especially if you’re using it to wrap fragile items individually, or less fragile items could be packed with scrunched up newspaper to act as a buffer against the sides of the box.

Small plastic airbags are ideal for very fragile items which need to be kept well away from the sides of the box, or even small empty boxes can be used to reinforce the structure. Polystyrene beads or shapes can be used to fit into unusual spaces, and could be placed inside fragile items such as vases.

It might seem a little odd, but plain popcorn can also work really well! It is light and filled with air, meaning it acts as great protection for your items. Just make sure you mention that it won’t be edible after that long journey!

Parcel Tips: Day 3

We’ve now reached the middle of our week about parcel packaging, and today we’re going to be looking at the addressing and labelling process to ensure the postal service in each country knows where the parcel is going when you post internationally. It’s all very well having a beautifully packaged parcel, but it’s no good if it never makes it to its destination.

Unless you have beautifully clear handwriting, you might want to steer clear of writing the address by hand. If one letter or number is read wrong, it could end up in the wrong place. Instead, it is better to print the address in a large font and clear typeface (such as Arial). You may even want to do this in English and in the local language to make it easier for the local postal service.

If you are sending something fragile or need the box to remain a certain way up whenever possible, write this clearly on each side of the box in English and the language of the destination country so that the instructions are carried throughout the journey.

If you are going to write the address, use a waterproof, smudge-proof pen (such as a biro) rather than  something like a felt tip which can run when it gets wet, making it impossible to read. In any case, using sticky back plastic or something similar can help keep the address intact even if it travels in wet conditions to protect your parcel on its international journey.

Parcel Tips: Day 2

This week, we’re looking at tips to help you with your worldwide parcel delivery. When items are travelling a long way, there is a bigger risk that they will be damaged or lost, which is why you need to be so careful and do everything you can on your end to help your items arrive at their destination in one piece. Today we will be looking at securing a package.

Yesterday we wrote about the benefits of using cardboard boxes for sending your parcels overseas, and today we’re going to be looking at the best ways to keep everything securely inside. The first rule is to avoid using normal household Sellotape. This will not be robust enough against the jostling journey, so use parcel tape created especially for sealing parcels.

Some boxes may also benefit from being stapled with special cardboard staples to keep them sealed, especially if the contents are heavy or especially valuable. These staples can be placed against any of the edges with openings. Alternatively, a strong glue (make sure it won’t eat through the box) can be used to reinforce edges and flaps.

If you are concerned that your box may not hold up in wet weather, you could get it wrapped in plastic by a special plastic wrapping machine to ensure the contents stay completely safe.

Parcel Tips: Day 1

As we hurtle towards the busiest time of year for postal services around the world, we thought we’d help you out with some handy hints to help you make the parcel sending process an absolute doddle. Whether you’re selling your old clothes on eBay to make way for the new season’s hottest pieces or you’re simply sending out Christmas presents, we’ve got a few tips up our sleeve to help you ensure your items get there in one piece.

Today’s tip is all about packaging. When you send a parcel domestically, you might be used to getting away with a padded envelope or even just brown parcel paper. However, when you’re sending abroad, you should always opt for a sturdy corrugated cardboard box for extra safety and to keep your items in one piece. Items travelling overseas will go through a lot on their lengthy journeys, and this is the best way to protect them from damage.

Furthermore, anything too flimsy could split along the way, meaning your items could be lost forever. They will be handled by multiple people in what could be several countries or cities, so it needs to be kept safe in something sturdy.

For a reliable international parcel delivery service, RAND will always strive to give you the best possible customer service.

Christmas in the US

We are concluding our week of US-themed blog posts with a little glance at Christmas in the US. It might seem too early for lots of you to be thinking about Christmas, but there are some interesting traditions we’d love to tell you about. If you have friends and family in the US, think about sending Christmas gifts to the US now for the best rates.

In Alaska, children carry a star on a pole from door to door to represent the star that guided the three wise men to Jesus over Bethlehem. They sing carols, and they are often invited inside to show gratitude.

In Hawaii, a US island state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the beginning of the Christmas season is signified by the arrival of the Christmas Tree Ship, which arrives laden with Christmas products to allow the Hawaiian residents to begin their decorating.

In Arizona, they follow a Mexican tradition called Las Posadas, whereby there is a procession and play representing Mary and Joseph looking for a room at an inn. Families re-enact the event by visiting each other’s houses posturing as Mary and Joseph, and many households decorate a crib for the baby Jesus.

‘Mumming’ is a practice most commonly associated with Philadelphia, where a Mummer’s Day parade takes place over six hours. Groups will get together in amazing costumes which take many months to create, and there is music and an air of festivity all day.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in the US without the giant Christmas dinner, which is often very similar to the Thanksgiving dinner enjoyed on the fourth Thursday in November. Adults may enjoy mulled wine or eggnog, and there is a strong focus on creamy puddings.

Black Friday

Black Friday is actually a whole lot less horrible than it might sound. There is nothing sinister about Black Friday at all, though if you don’t like crowds or spending money it might be a pretty scary prospect.

Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving in America, and is generally thought to mark the start of the Christmas shopping season. While the day isn’t a federal holiday, it is often given as a day off to workers and schoolchildren to allow them to make the most of the full Thanksgiving weekend.

It is a day which signifies a huge spike in spending, as many shops slash prices vastly to encourage a spending frenzy, and many promotional offers will run, including free gifts, giant discounts and extra savings for the first 100 customers, meaning people start queuing hours before shops open.

It gives shoppers the chance to buy electronics, clothing, homeware and many other typically premium products at significantly reduced prices, meaning it is the biggest spending day in the US.

The day following Thanksgiving weekend has been known as Cyber Monday for some years, and refers to the spike in online shopping that takes place. Those who didn’t find what they were looking for in the Black Friday sales or who were busy with family over the weekend take to the internet to scour the sales instead.

If you have asked your friends and relatives in the US to look out for bargains for you, make sure they use the RAND quote finder to send their parcels to the UK.

Thanksgiving Day

It might seem a little early to be thinking about Thanksgiving Day, but the most organised among us will want to take advantage of the benefits of sending a parcel early. The day is traditionally celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the US, and this year falls on 28th November.

Thanksgiving generally marks the start of the American holiday season, and many families decide to put up their Christmas decorations around Thanksgiving. The day is most famous for its family feasts, which often resemble the traditional British Christmas dinner, with a turkey and all the trimmings and abundant displays of desserts, including pumpkin pie.

The day is all about showing thanks for all that you have and the people in your life, along with a religious element, and was started by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

Many of the major cities hold parades, and these will involve spectacular displays of marching bands, music, dancing and floats. This gives families a chance to reunite in a family-friendly activity and get together with the other members of their community to join in with the festivities.

There are also special sports games to celebrate Thanksgiving, including American football games on Thanksgiving (the Thanksgiving Classic), and televised games from sports such as ice hockey, golf and auto racing around Thanksgiving.

If you have friends or relatives in the US, why not send them a Thanksgiving gift with RAND?

5 Unusual Things the USPS Can and Can’t Send

The second day of our week dedicated to the US is all about the stranger things people have tried – and sometimes failed – to send to or within the US. If you know any of your own, please let us know in the comments!

  1. A man building a house in Alaska tried to send his materials brick by brick through the postal system, finding this the cheapest way to transport everything. This prompted the USPS to outlaw the sending of construction materials.
  2. Several civilians have attempted to post themselves in the US mail, but to date nobody has been successful.
  3. You may or may not be familiar with the black and white custom FedEx planes. Did you know that these planes have transported many pandas between zoos in China and America?
  4. If you’re going to send any poisonous creatures through the US mail, it can only be live scorpions for research purposes only. Be sure to label the box to let the post handlers know what they’re dealing with.
  5. FedEx and UPS will ship human body parts for medical purposes.

If you’re sending something a little more normal than these items, check our quote finder now to discover how much it will cost to send your parcel to America.

5 Interesting USPS Facts

We’re starting off a rather chilly Monday morning with some fun facts about the thing we know best – packages. We’re going to be focusing on the US postal system today, looking at all the weird and wonderful things package-related.

  1. Did you know… that the US Postal Service parcel delivery Chevrolet Long Life Vehicles have a right-hand drive as opposed to the usual left-hand drive in the US? This helps the delivery drivers, who don’t need to leave their seats to deliver mail.
  2. Did you know… that in Loma Linda, California, mail is delivered on Sundays, but not on Saturdays? This is because there is a large population of Seventh-Day Adventists who observe the Sabbath day on Saturday rather than Sunday.
  3. Did you know… that the American equivalent of the postcode, the ZIP code, was implemented in 1963 in order to help postmen find the right address? The numerical value of the zip code increases from the East coast (starting in New York) to the West coast (ending in Alaska).
  4. Did you know… that the most remote US Post Office is the Anaktuvuk Pass Post Office in northern Alaska? Everything has to be flown in and out, meaning the residents could be waiting for some time for their packages.
  5. Did you know… that after Walmart, the USPS is the largest employer in the country with more than 650,000 employees?

To send a parcel to the US, use our parcel quote finder today.