7 Safety Tips For Sending Packages Abroad

by Samantha Humphreys

Making sure that packages sent abroad arrive at their destination safely has always been a major concern, especially if you’re sending items of high value. All over the world, there have been instances of goods contents getting damaged and parcels getting misplaced or lost in transit, which is why it’s important to know what you should do if you want your shipment to be where it’s supposed to be.

One thing you should always be trying to do is make sure you find the best deal for your courier. By searching online, you can compare different deals from different couriers. 

Let’s take a look at seven tips for sending packages overseas and ensuring they arrive safely and in one piece.

1. Know and understand the shipping regulations.

Customs regulations and trade laws vary from country to country, so before sending your packages, make sure you do the necessary research to make sure your items won’t get stuck in the customs offices of both the place of origin and the destination country. You can usually find shipping laws, customs regulations, lists of globally restricted items, and other special provisions online—just check to be sure you’re consulting an updated version.

This is especially important if you’re sending packages that contain food and other perishable goods, although generally items that may spoil cannot be sent abroad.

2. Use proper packaging.

Receiving damaged items is a bummer, so make sure the goods you send arrive at their destination safe and sound by preparing them for shipment properly. It’s important to use proper and secure packaging to prevent items from getting broken or spilling out of their box. If you don’t have a box the exact size of what you’re going to ship, pick one that is slightly larger and use padding to prevent the contents from moving around. Avoid overstuffing as this can cause boxes to rip. For sending out documents, choose lightweight cardboard envelopes that are then wrapped in a plastic sleeve to protect them from getting wet. Bubble-wrap fragile objects and add crumpled paper to fill in the gaps between items.

Another option is to pay extra to have your goods packaged professionally by the courier service of your choice.

3. Label packages clearly.

An incorrect delivery address on a highly anticipated package will definitely cause hassle, so don’t forget to verify and triple-check where your package should go. Make sure the address is written in a clear handwriting or, even better, printed out. Aside from the delivery address, other specific markings such as “fragile” and “perishable” are also necessary to ensure your package is given proper care while in transit. Labeling requirements also include a description of the item which should be as exact as possible to avoid the item having to undergo a thorough customs check and a possible delay in delivery. Don’t forget to include a return address, just in case there’s a problem at the delivery location.

4. Provide complete customs information.

Customs documents have to be in order to avoid delays in shipping. Different countries require different forms, so do a bit more research to see what you need to fill in. Enter shipment details online. To speed up the process of customs clearance, check out the tariff code in the global Harmonized System that you can use to describe the contents of the package you’re sending abroad.

5. Choose your courier service or shipping company wisely.

The shipping company you choose for sending packages abroad should be one that has expertise—and a good, established relationship with the customs office—in the destination country. Check online forums and directories to see which companies have a stable and reliable service in the destination country. Choosing wisely may not only speed up your delivery but can also help ensure that you meet customs’ regulations.

6. Track your packages.

Another factor to consider when choosing a courier service is to see if the company has international online shipment tracking so you can make sure your package reaches even the most far-flung of places. Tracking allows you to check the status of your shipment, so you’ll always know where your package is at any time, where it’s going next, and the estimated time of arrival at the destination.

7. Consider insurance.

For that added peace of mind and security, especially if you’re sending out valuable documents and items, you can have your package insured against loss and damage during shipping. Shipping companies offer various compensation amounts that would be appropriate for various items, so be sure to research thoroughly.

Originally published on August 30, 2016, updated May 9, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.