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Cheap International Shipping
Timely and cheap international shipping is hard to come by. Shipping even a 5-pound package from New York to London with UPS or FedEx can easily exceed $100.
Shipping internationally is generally more complicated than sending a package to a U.S. address. You must fill out a customs form declaring the items you're shipping and their value. Depending on the contents, your package may be subject to duties and taxes on top of the cost of shipping. There are also country-specific restrictions on what can be shipped. The Postal Service provides a list online.
Shipping Large Items.Cheap shipping may be a relative term for especially heavy, large, or oddly shaped packages. In general, consumers can expect a higher weight to correspond with a higher rate. One notable exception is flat-rate shipping from the Postal Service. Consumers can ship anything that fits in a flat-rate box for the same set price, regardless of weight, up to the Postal Service maximum of 70 pounds for domestic shipments. Express Mail Flat Rate boxes measure 11 x 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 and 13 5/8 x 11 7/8 x 3 3/8 inches. Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are available in two additional sizes: small (8 5/8 x 5 3/8 x 1 5/8 inches) and large (12 x 12 x 5 1/2 inches). The maximum dimensions allowed for other packages are 108 inches (length plus girth, or the distance around the thickest part of the parcel) for Priority Mail or Express Mail and 130 inches for Parcel Post.
UPS and FedEx accept packages up to 165 inches and 150 pounds (70 pounds for FedEx Home Delivery). However, oversize and overweight packages are subject to a variety of surcharges and additional handling fees, including a charge for parcels over 70 pounds. These are lower at UPS than at FedEx. For example, UPS levies a large package surcharge of $27 for parcels that exceed 130 inches. The oversize charge at FedEx is $55. Both companies offer freight service for packages that exceed 150 pounds, although a provider that specializes in large and heavy shipments may be a better bet. Check rates through an online freight price comparison site such as Freightquote or FreightCenter.
Properly packing a heavy box increases the odds that your shipment will arrive undamaged. Aside from affixing "heavy package" stickers to the box, UPS recommends using stitched or stapled boxes that are new. The company also notes that packing peanuts or crumpled paper won't keep heavy objects safe; instead, surround them with dense cushioning material or foam enclosures.
Alternatively, FedEx Office Print & Ship Centers and select UPS Stores will pack your goods for you. This can be especially handy when shipping fragile or oddly shaped items that need special boxes and packing materials. The cost of this service starts at $4.99 at FedEx and varies at UPS. If the contents of a shipment packed by FedEx or UPS are damaged or lost, the shipper will reimburse you for the value of the items and the cost of packing and shipping the package.
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