Which Carrier Offers the Best International Shipping Rates?

Learn which carrier offers the most affordable rates for international packages and how buying postage through shipping software will save you the most money possible
which carrier offers the best international shipping rates?
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Shipping internationally can be one of the most expensive undertakings for a small business trying to reach customers overseas. That’s why it’s so important to seek out the best international shipping rates and to research which shipping carrier will save you the most money. That said, the solution isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer. The shipping carrier that will offer you the best rates all depends on what you’re shipping.

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The Carrier With the Best International Shipping Rates Depends on the Size & Weight of Your Package

As we said in the above paragraph, the carrier that will offer the best rates changes depending on your package…namely, its size and its weight. From our experience, we’ve found that the two carriers with the most robust mix of affordability and quick delivery for international are USPS and UPS.

USPS Offers the Cheapest International Rates for Lightweight Packages

For lightweight packages (less than 10 pounds for overseas shipments), USPS tends to offer the best international shipping rates. They can offer the most affordable rates because they partner with other countries’ postal services through the Universal Postal Union. Basically, this means that USPS handles your international package while it’s in the United States. Once it arrives in the destination country, that country’s postal service handles the package until its delivery to your recipient.

If your package is 4 pounds or less, you’ll get to access even cheaper rates through First Class Package International Service.

For Heavier Packages, UPS Offers More Affordable Rates

While USPS offers cheaper rates for smaller and lightweight packages, UPS will offer the most affordable options if you’re sending a heavy package (“heavy” meaning 10 pounds or more, in the case of international shipments). Generally speaking, UPS always offers better rates for larger and heavier packages; this is true whether you’re shipping within the U.S. or to an overseas destination.

Pro Tip: Many foreign countries have a weight and size limit for packages entering their borders! Before sending anything internationally, we suggest visiting the Individual Country Listings on the USPS website and researching the weight and size limits of the country you’re shipping to. If your package exceeds either the weight or size limit, USPS will return it to you and you’ll be out the cost of your postage.

Save the Most Money on All International Shipments with Online Shipping Software

No matter the size of the box you’re sending overseas, you should never go to the Post Office or the local UPS Store to ship it! Instead, purchase discounted postage through online shipping software solutions. Both USPS and UPS have partnered with dozens of shipping software companies to offer their customers deep discounts on all their labels, including both their domestic and international services. In some cases, buying postage at these discounts can save you up to 89% off what you’d pay to ship the same package if you go to the Post Office or UPS Store!

On top of the discounts you’ll access, most shipping software solutions automatically highlight the most affordable service when you obtain a rate quote for your package. This way, the guesswork is taken out of the equation! All you need to do is plug in the weight, dimensions, and recipient information for your package…and the cheapest service will automatically be selected for you.

Some Shipping Software Companies Offer Specially Discounted Services for International Shipments

Another way to save even more money with a shipping software solution is to see whether that company offers specially discounted international services for lightweight shipments.

One example of a service like this is Simple Export Rate, which you can only access through the shipping software company Pirate Ship. Simple Export Rate is hands-down one of the absolute cheapest international services we’ve seen for lightweight packages, featuring flat rates for lightweight shipments weighing up to 4 pounds.

For instance, let’s say you’re sending a 2-pound box of candles from Los Angeles to London. Sending that box through Simple Export Rate shipment would cost $20.99 (based on 2024 prices). After Simple Export Rate, the next most affordable service would be USPS First Class Package International, which would run you over $30 to ship the same package at the Post Office. In this case, Simple Export Rate saves you about $9…which goes a long way if you’re a small business trying to maximize your margins!

Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To get the deepest discounts on international labels, check out our guide:

Choose the Best Shipping Software

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