Five Guides to Packing Christmas Packages

“The more fragile the item, the more care and expertise are required to ensure it arrives at its destination intact. The best recommendation we can give consumers this holiday season is to heed the advice of trained professionals,” says Stuart Mathis, president of the UPS Stores and Mail Boxes Etc.

1. For the best value, ship as early as possible. Those who plan ahead can save money and avoid the stress of shipping holiday gifts at the last minute.

2. Don’t dumpster dive for old boxes. Used boxes can break apart in shipping, and leftover shipping labels can create confusion about a package’s destination. Always use a new corrugated box to ship gifts and never wrap the outer box in kraft paper or string, which can potentially get caught in the package sorting equipment.

3. Pack like a pro. Use appropriate packaging techniques and materials, such as bubble cushioning, polystyrene “peanuts,” corrugated dividers or plastic foam, to provide proper cushioning and internal protection. Be sure to provide at least two inches of packing materials on all sides of each item and use proper tape to seal the package. Better yet...

4. Leave it to the experts. At places like The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees receive specialized training to handle any packing challenge. They know techniques to pack precious gifts, saving time and effort.

5. Track your package. Choose a shipping option that provides a package tracking number. Tracking lets you notify recipients when to expect a delivery and affords delivers security knowing the package arrived on time.

DHL suggests following these four steps in preparing international shipments.

1. Provide an exact description of the shipment and contents and quantities to ensure delivery isn’t delayed at Customs in the destination country.

2. If you’re not sure whether the shipment must be cleared by Customs and may be subject to the destination country’s duty charges, check with a service like DHL customer service at 1-800-CALL-DHL.

3. Decide on insurance coverage for the package. For a DHL shipment, up to $50,000 is available by indicating the desired amount of coverage on the waybill and paying an additional fee.

4. Prepare the correct international documentation.

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