Sending a care package or a letter is one of the best ways to show a loved one in the military that you’re thinking about them. If you’re wondering exactly how to ship to military addresses, it’s important to note that USPS is the only shipping carrier legally authorized to do so. This guide is all about teaching you how to ship to military addresses and how to save the most money doing it. Let’s get right to it!
Does It Cost More Money to Ship to Military Addresses?
Nope! Believe it or not, USPS treats all military the addresses the same as domestic mail—even if the destination is in a different country. This is due to a whole lot of collaboration between USPS and the US Military. Here’s how it works. First, USPS delivers mail and parcels to all the military bases throughout the United States. After that, the military delivers the mail and parcels around the world. However, this process means that it can sometimes take longer for delivery than normal.
How to Format Military Addresses
Whether you print a shipping label or write out all your address information, it’s important to follow the specific format for shipping to military addresses. We’ve outlined everything you need to include below:
- The full name of the addressee
- The unit and box number (if assigned)
- The three letter designator for the type of location (enter this in the “City” field)
- APO is for Army & Air Force installations
- FPO is for ships & Navy installations
- DPO is for US Embassies overseas
- The state of the addressee (enter this in the “State” field)
- AA is for Armed Forces Americas
- AE is for Armed Forces Europe, Armed Forces Middle East, or Armed Forces Africa
- AP is for Armed Forces Pacific
- The 5-digit zip code for the military unit (all military zip codes start with a 0 or 9)
Heads Up: Most Military Shipments Require Customs Forms
Even though USPS treats military addresses as domestic mail, most military shipments still require you to fill out a customs form. So don’t forget! Keep in mind that most shipping software solutions will automatically generate customs forms along with your shipping labels when you buy postage online.
Shipping Software is the Cheapest Way to Ship to Military Addresses
If you didn’t know that you can use shipping software to purchase postage, we highly suggest giving it a try! In addition to printing postage labels with customs forms, shipping software solutions also let you get access to Commercial Pricing rates. Those rates represent the deepest level of USPS postage discounts available. As a result, you’ll save a TON of money on any packages you ship to military addresses.
Some shipping software solutions out there even let you ship Priority Mail Cubic, which is a “secret” mail class that you won’t find at the Post Office. Priority Mail Cubic (or “Cubic,” for short) is the cheapest way to send parcels up to 20 pounds with USPS. Unlike other mail classes, the price you pay for cubic postage is based on volume, not weight. Whenever you send a care package to a loved one or friend in the military, always remember to ship it Cubic! You’ll save the most money that way.