With COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc on our physical and social health, shipping a care package to friends, family, and other loved ones is a great way to connect and share with each other. During this time of quarantine and social-distancing, shipping small gifts and supplies can be helpful in maintaining relationships and connecting with loved ones.
Make Sure You Can Legally Ship Your Items
Before you start packing up your care package to ship out, take a minute to think about what you’re sending. Certain shipping carriers like USPS restrict certain items from being shipped, such as alcoholic beverages. So, if you’re shipping with USPS (which you should be), make sure you’re following the regulations and restrictions USPS has in place! Here are the main items that USPS restricts and/or prohibits:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Live animals
The truth is, USPS allows you to ship most items out there. However, some items also require faster shipment or extra care than others. For example, if you’re sending perishable goods, try to err on the side of foods that won’t spoil quickly. Think Cheez-Its or fruit snacks, rather than sushi or meatloaf.
In any case, be sure that what you’re shipping out in your care package is allowed by USPS (and the recipient’s country, if you’re shipping internationally).
Package Your Items Carefully
Always be sure to package your items carefully! If you’re shipping anything fragile in your care package, make sure you’re wrapping those with enough packing material to keep them in one piece. Certain materials such as bubble wrap, foam paper, and packing peanuts go a long way to protect your items.
Seal up any liquids with waterproof bags, and tape up any open packets to make sure nothing spills out during transit. Pack your shipments tightly and snugly, but don’t overpack your boxes or envelopes – you just want to make sure things don’t shift around too much before your care package reaches your loved one(s).
USPS offers some great packaging options for free on their site, so be sure to take advantage of those first! If you’re looking for something else, USPS will also allow you to use your own packaging for any of their services, except for Priority Mail Flat Rate and Regional Rate.
No matter what you choose, make sure that you’re using sturdy packaging, and tape up your care package to keep it secure as it travels across the country.
Choose the Right Shipping Service for Your Care Package
Unless you’re shipping out a tiny care package weighing less than a pound, your best options will typically be with USPS Priority Mail Services. There are a few different sub-categories of Priority Mail, Here are the cheapest options for your shipment:
- Priority Mail Cubic – This specially-discounted service will be the best if you’re shipping out a smaller package weighing up to 20 pounds. Unlike other mail classes USPS uses the outer dimensions of your shipment to determine how much cubic packages costs to ship. So, any box or envelope on the smaller size will ship cheapest with this service.
- Weight-based Priority Mail – If you’re shipping out something larger than 0.5 cubic feet, this will be the service for you! In this case, USPS uses the weight of your package to determine how much it costs to ship.
- Priority Mail Medium or Large Flat Rate Box – These services will really only be helpful and save you money if you’re sending out something super heavy, and very far away. Through flat rate service, you’ll ship at a fixed cost no matter where you send your care package.
- Priority Mail APO/FPO/DPO Large Flat Rate Box – This is a great way to ship larger, heavier shipments to military locations.
Pro Tip: Priority Mail Services come with $100 insurance included through USPS for domestic shipments (and $200 for international shipments). If you’re sending anything with a higher value than that, we recommend that you always add additional insurance onto your package!
Send Your Care Packages with Online Shipping Software to Save the Most Money
Shipping care packages can definitely get expensive, especially if you’re sending several of them out at a time. So, using online shipping software is a great way to save some cash on shipping your packages. This will give you commercial discounts on USPS shipping, saving you up to 90% off what you’d pay at the Post Office in some cases! In addition, you can print your labels from home and schedule free next-day pickups done by your letter carrier. Since you can do all of this without leaving your residence, this is the best way to ship safe and contactless during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Now that you’re set up with those low rates, you’re totally good to go! Don’t forget to check USPS regulations, package your shipment thoughtfully, and choose the best service through online shipping software to save extra cash. Once you’ve done all of that, you’re all set to ship your care packages!