With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to get wrapping. And when it comes to sending gifts abroad, it always pays to get ahead of the game.
To make sure your loved ones overseas get their Christmas goodies on time, packing and shipping specialist; PACK & SEND has put together a handy guide to make sure your gifts arrive on time and in one piece.
Don’t be late
There’s nothing worse than spending time picking the perfect gift, only for it to take longer than anticipated to arrive, and missing the special day.
International destinations have different deadlines, so look up typical shipping times before you send anything, leaving enough time to meet the Christmas cut-off.
Bear in mind, shipping times and delays increase over the festive period due to the number of packages sent around Christmas.
So, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to send your packages and plan in advance, so you don’t get caught in the rush leading up to Christmas Day.
Declare to customs exactly what you’re sending…
Delays at customs can be common if you’ve either not declared something or you’ve made an error on the customs forms.
This can mean your package is held at customs for up to 30-45 days. The forms can be confusing at times but make sure to declare all contents accurately and ask for help from your shipping partner if you’re unsure.
… and make sure it’s allowed
Some clothes, foods, drinks and other random items are against local import laws. A couple of lesser-known examples include:
Before you send a gift, check the country’s import laws to make sure the product’s allowed. Otherwise, you risk the package being held indefinitely.
Pack fragile items carefully
When sending heartfelt gifts to the other side of the world, you need to make sure they’re packed securely and safely to make it in one piece. First, pick a box that fits the product comfortably.
Then place padding in any gaps (e.g. foam, bubble wrap) to make sure there’s no wiggle room for the contents and add ‘fragile’ labels to the boxes to help the carrier to know to move the parcels with extra care.
Sometimes your gifts may arrive damaged, despite your best efforts. If sending valuable items, consider paying for warranty cover to provide peace of mind against damage in transit.
The price of the package
Any packages sent to countries outside the EU are liable to a duty or tax upon entry and it may not be too long before that applies when sending to countries in the EU as well. This is usually paid by the person who signs for the package, but you can arrange with your shipping partner to cover this cost yourself.
However, some countries offer tax relief on imported gifts, for example, the US waves the tax on gifts valued up to $100.
If you haven’t looked up the cost before shipping, you may find yourself or your loved one facing a hefty and unexpected surcharge. So, check first to avoid any nasty surprises.
A sweet gift
If you’re planning on sending an edible gift this Christmas, beware of the rules on sending food internationally. The most important thing to note is not to send any food that is ‘perishable’ – meaning it will go off during transit – so, fresh foods and home-cooked goods are a no-go.
You can send preserved foods, but make sure to follow the previous advice – packing them carefully, filling out customs forms accurately and checking they’re not a banned item where you’re sending them to.
If it all sounds too confusing or hard work then why not contact your local service centre for some help?