Sending a parcel internationally can seem daunting at first, especially if you’re worried about the contents of your parcel or anxious about customs clearance. However, there are some simple things you can do to make sure your parcel's ready to go.
#1 - Don’t forget your padding
A sturdy box and padding are the two most important things when it comes to minimising the risk of damage in transit. Use a box suited to the size of your goods—you don’t want your item moving around too much or bursting out of the box. Ensure 5-6cm of padding around each item and fill all remaining space. Use kraft paper, bubble wrap, or loose fill polystyrene.
#2 - Don’t overseal the box
You want your parcel to be secure, but don’t overdo it. Customs agents may want to unseal your parcel for inspection, and you don’t want them to destroy the box in the process. Tape along the seams and the edges of the flaps using the H-taping method—that should do the job.
#3 - Avoid hazard symbols
Don’t use any boxes that have hazard symbols on them, even if you have attempted to cover them up. This includes pictograms or UN numbers. Your consignment may incur fines if the courier or customs spot these symbols.
#4 - Don’t forget the receiver’s phone number
You should always provide contact details—including a local phone number—for the person who will be receiving your parcel. If the courier has trouble finding the address, or if they want to alert the receiver of their presence at the address, they may try to call.
If for any reason your parcel is held at customs, customs agents may also want to get in touch with the receiver.
As a bonus, some parcel delivery companies will use these contact details to send pre-delivery alerts and options for rescheduling.
#5 - Don’t forget the photoshoot
Taking photos of your shipment—of the contents inside the box and of the sealed box—will help in the very rare event that you have to claim for damage, by showing that you packaged it properly.
It also helps to verify weight and dimensions if you can show your parcel next to a tape measure or on the scales, in case there is a discrepancy with the courier’s own calculations.
#6 - Consider insurance
The vast majority of parcel deliveries safely reach their destinations. However, if your item is valuable, consider parcel insurance. This is required to recoup the costs of lost or damaged items. You should also be aware of “no compensation” items that cannot be insured.
#7 - Use the right labels
You should only ever use the shipping labels provided by the company through whom you booked the service, unless they have instructed otherwise (for example, if you have your own commercial invoice).
If you use a forwarder like Transglobal Express and don’t use the labels we provide, we can’t take ownership of the order and you will be charged separately by the courier.
#8 - Avoid sending prohibited items
Which items you can and cannot ship will depend on the specific service you’re using, the courier company operating the service, and the destination country.
Courier companies have general lists of prohibited and restricted items that you will need to refer to before shipping. For import rules and restrictions for your destination country, you will need to consult their official customs website.
#9 - Don’t forget to check duties in advance
Check for customs duties and taxes before you send your items. These are fees levied on certain items and will need to be paid by the receiver before the shipment is released.
Again, all you need to do is check the customs rules for the country you are sending to.
#10 - Don’t worry
International shipping has never been easier. We’ll guide you every step of the way and provide all the information you need to ensure hassle-free parcel delivery.
Our office hours are 8am-6:30pm Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm Saturday (excluding bank holidays).
Header image: Magda Ehlers