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scared shipless
January 2, 2010 1:19 PM   Subscribe

i need to ship a bunch of family photos across the country, but i'd be devastated if they got lost by UPS or the post office. what can i do to help ensure that my priceless memories reach their destination?
posted by phoeniciansailor to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
There are courier services that can do this kind of thing. Generally they are a rather expensive option but if the photos mean that much to you perhaps the premium charged is worth it.
posted by dfriedman at 1:23 PM on January 2, 2010


Can you have good copies made instead of shipping the originals? There are companies that convert old photos to digital media and will restore them as well if they are damaged or discoloring.

Personally, I would probably bite the bullet and ship them via FedEx and trust that they'll get there.
posted by cecic at 1:35 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seconding cecic's suggestion - have good digital copies made; it's amazing, really and truly amazing, what kind of detail you can get out of digital copies now - you will certainly never be able to tell the difference as far as the quality is concerned.
posted by koeselitz at 1:38 PM on January 2, 2010


USPS Registered Mail is generally considered the safest. It's locked up at all points and there is a strict chain of custody. Not very fast, but they don't lose it. For a measure of the safety, insurance for Registered Mail is very cheap, and it goes up to $25k, for $40 or so. The other carriers charge way more for insurance, which would be the case if they have to pay out on it more, i.e. lose more packages.

The other way to go is something very fast, so it doesn't have time to get lost. If you pay FedEx for Overnight, it will get there by the shortest number of hops possible, which would be truck to airport, airplane to Memphis, airplane to destination, then truck to destination.
posted by smackfu at 2:12 PM on January 2, 2010


I think I've answered a similar question this way in the past, but if they were my photos I'd use registered mail. If it's good enough for the Hope Diamond, it's good enough for me.
posted by kidbritish at 2:12 PM on January 2, 2010


Even if you need to ship the originals, get some good copies made anyway. That way if they are lost you've got the copies as backup.
posted by contraption at 3:51 PM on January 2, 2010


In addition to making copies, split up the shipment into a few packages, each containing a varied selection of times/people (don't put all pictures of your grandfather in one package, for instance). That way if one package gets lost, you won't lose everything.
posted by msbrauer at 4:48 PM on January 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


We shipped a package of old family photos and movies across country via USPS recently and they were lost.

The safest bet is to scan or copy them locally before shipping them...and of course you could email soft copies instead of shipping originals if you went that route.
posted by harmfulray at 4:50 PM on January 2, 2010


My brother presented his siblings with digital copies of the family albums- they look amazing. So I recommend this approach.
posted by mattoxic at 5:22 PM on January 2, 2010


Hi, I also agree with scanning them and uploading them onto a photo website (as a form of back up) or keeping them on your computer. You can also send them in groups, rather than one large package.

Best of luck!
posted by metakiwi at 9:14 AM on January 3, 2010


thanks, guy. i'm actually shipping the slides and photos to be scanned. the trouble is getting them all there successfully. the registered mail option sounds best if sent through USPS, thanks kidbritish.
posted by phoeniciansailor at 11:38 AM on January 3, 2010


you too, smackfu.
posted by phoeniciansailor at 11:40 AM on January 3, 2010


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