Mailing & Shipping

Know the Postal Office & Shipping System Of Where You Are Mailing To…

There are probably a Ba-Zillion ways to send and mail packages – so which way is the best to mail packages and envelopes to your Missionary???
Here are a few ideas:

Mailing envelopes and boxes to your Missionary inside the U.S. is fast and efficient – but there are many ways to package your items to save money and make your packages more interesting and fun to open. More on that below…

If your Missionary is serving outside the U.S. it is important to Research the postal offices and shipping methods of the country they are serving in. The Best resource for mailing items to each country can be for your Missionary to ask their Trainer/Zone Leader/Companion’s advice on the ways they have found to be the most efficient way for you to mail packages to their Mission. Surely someone in their area has has received, or sadly not received, packages for some reason – so they can offer sound advice.

It’s been said that in some countries there is a fee for Missionaries to claim their packages depending on the weight. Customs fees can exceed the cost of the items themselves, if the items are new – so it’s best to ask. Usually the Mission President or his wife will inform the Missionaries as they arrive what the best practice is for that mission and if packages should be sent directly to the Missionary’s apartment or to the Mission Home. They are also a good source on what items will require a customs fee when mailed.

You could also check to see if your Missionary’s mission has a Mission Blog or Website in place that might offer more specific detailed information for their area. One of our MBM’s had the unfortunate experience of sending her son a box to Mexico that included his high school backpack inside. She listed a ‘used’ backpack on the customs form since it wasn’t a new backpack – and later was informed that the box had been incinerated because Mexico does not accept used items to be shipped. So, check for do’s and don’ts of their adopted home country when filling out customs forms too!

Have Faith!  Have Fun!  Send Love with a Missionary Box!

Packaging Your Items

U.S.P.S. Padded Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope:

(Size 9.5″X12.5″) The poly plastic envelope has a bubble lining and is perfect for shipping those smaller items that need a little extra padding. These are free at most U.S. Post Office locations. Shipping Cost: $7.20 within the U.S. and $33.95 Internationally. When shipping domestically your package will arrive at it’s intended destination within 1-3 days and usually 7 days when shipped internationally.

U.S.P.S. Legal Size Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope:

(Size 9.5″X15″) This flexible paperboard envelope features a predetermined flat rate regardless of the weight or destination zone of this package. These envelopes can be ordered free from the U.S.P.S. Shipping Cost: $6.95 domestically and $33.95 Internationally. When shipping domestically your package will arrive at it’s intended destination within 1-3 days.

Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box:

(Size 12X12X6″) The Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box features predetermined rates regardless of weight (domestically) or destination, similar to other Flat Rate products. Shipping Cost: $18.85 domestically and $59.95 and up.

U.S.P.S. Standard Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope:

(Size 9.5″X12.5″) This flexible paperboard envelope is available free at most U.S. Post Office locations. They are designed to hold 8.5X11″ documents. Shipping Cost: $6.65 withing the U.S. and $33.95 Internationally. When shipping these within the U.S. there is no weight limit but, when you ship them internationally they can weigh no more than 4lbs. When shipping domestically your package will arrive at it’s intended destination within 1-3 days and usually 7 days when shipped internationally.

Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box:

(Size Outside approx. 9X6″) The Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box is about the same size and shape as three stacked DVD cases. These are free at most U.S. Post Office locations. Shipping Cost: $7.20 within the U.S. and $33.95 Internationally.

Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box:

2 Sizes – A Top Loading Box approx. (11X9X6″) or a Side Loading Box approx. (14X12X3.5″) The Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box features predetermined rates regardless of weight (domestically) or destination similar to the Flat Rate Envelope. A 20lb weight limit applies when shipping outside the U.S. Shipping Cost: $13.60 within the U.S. and $45.95 and up.

Shipping Company Secrets

*Hint: If you print and pay for the mailing labels online at USPS.com you will get free tracking and a small discount over the price you pay at the counter in your local Post Office. If you are shipping to an address outside of the U.S. you will be directed through filling out the customs form online as well.

You will be pretty flabbergasted at just how much you can actually fit inside one of these envelopes! If you just channel your inner Tetris player skills you will surprise yourself! Just remember not to go over 4lbs. if you are shipping internationally.

* Check out these Tricks on Different ways of using Flat Rate Envelopes!
1. Folding a Priority Envelope into a Box Trick.
2. 5 Shipping Secrets FedEx, UPS, & USPS Don’t Want You To Know!

How To Package Missionary Gifts

The best way to wrap packages can vary depending on the country you are shipping to. We suggest the incoming missionaries ask their companions or mission presidents if there is a special way packages should be wrapped. In some countries packages may be broken into or stolen if they don’t have stickers or pictures wrapped around the package. Thus, Missionaries sometimes won’t receive their packages.

  • Mexico and Nicaragua: Use pictures of Guadalupe and stick them onto the packages.
  • Armenia: Don’t write “Elder” or anything similar on the box. Do put little stickers or pictures of Christ or Mary on the outside.
  • Guatemala: Use stickers of the Virgin Mary and Jesus for the outside of the box.
  • South Africa: Do tape pictures of Jesus all over the box and claim “religious supplies” for the customs declaration.
  • Chile and Madagascar: Use pictures of Christ when wrapping the packages.
  • Russia: Don’t send packages with pictures of Christ or anything church-related on the outside. Do write “Dear Elder” on the packages, even for Sister Missionaries.
  • Samoa: Use lots of clear tape when wrapping gifts to protect them from the rain. Packages sometimes sit outside in Hawaii before arriving in Samoa.
  • Italy: Do bubble wrap the outside of packages (seriously) and put stickers of Mother Mary on the outside.
  • Philippines: Use clear tape to wrap the whole package to prevent it from getting ruined.
  • Ghana: Do wrap the envelopes in a lot of tape or rodents could chew through them especially if there is food inside.

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What Kind Of Packages You Can Send

To Keep boxes from being tampered with, be creative with the packages. Most people send boxes and envelopes to their missionaries.
Here are some creative packaging ideas:

Brazil

Do use tube packages (Pringles cans or poster tubes). Postal workers often don’t open tubes because they usually carry papers and are not worth stealing.

Italy & Spain

Do ship packages that weigh 3 pounds or less. The customs office pays less attention to small, lightweight packages. Or send non-traditional size boxes like a cube, shoe box size, or long Priority mail side loading boxes. The unusual shapes usually make it through.

Argentina

Some Argentine missions restrict sending boxes but envelopes and padded envelopes are ok.

Ghana

It costs money to receive packages in Ghana but Flat Rate Envelopes seem to be fine.

Have Faith!  Have Fun!  Send Love with a Missionary Box!

Where to Send Packages

Sometimes it pays to be creative. One Elder who served in Brazil shared that his parents shipped one shoe to the mission office and the other shoe to his apartment. When postal workers opened the packages, they saw only one shoe, closed the packages and continued the shipment. Nobody wants just one shoe! A BYU sweatshirt was stolen from one of the packages at the post office and the missionary later saw someone wearing the shirt. You just never know.

If your Missionary is serving outside the U.S. it is important to Research the postal offices and shipping methods of the country they are serving in. The Best resource for mailing items to each country can be for your Missionary to ask their Trainer/Zone Leader/Companion’s advice on the ways they have found to be the most efficient way for you to mail packages to their Mission. Surely someone in their area has has received, or sadly not received, packages for some reason – so they can offer sound advice.

Occasionally, you might encounter people who are willing to “mule” packages for you. Expats who come back to the states frequently or those who happen to be traveling to the same country sometimes use Facebook pages in order to connect with people wanting to send packages to their missionaries.

Countries You Can Send Gifts To Normally

Wrapping gifts creatively won’t be necessary in certain countries. Here are a few countries where you can use normal wrapping and shipping without concerns:

  • Taiwan
  • Hong Kong
  • Scandinavia
  • Australia & New Zealand
  • Canada