How best to ship extra stuff from Spain to the US?
April 30, 2015 1:33 AM   Subscribe

I have extra clothes and shoes I would like to ship home to the US before I go backpacking but am curious as to the cheapest but safest method.

I want this stuff to be unharmed and show up but it can take as long as it wants. Though I am currently in Spain, I will soon be in France and I have heard their postal service is cheaper/has better boxes. Is it worth lugging my stuff around for a few days to send it out of France (I also speak no French)? Also, if I were to send my laptop, would you send it by a country's postal service with the rest of your clothes or by another method? Thanks.
posted by clarinet to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
 
Response by poster: It's also not a ton, like 10-20 pounds. If I were flying home right away I'd buy a cheap suitcase and call it that.
posted by clarinet at 1:41 AM on April 30, 2015


I've had relatives send postcards from France and Spain and they never arrived, so I don't think I would trust them with clothes and shoes that you'd like to keep, but I'm paranoid about this kind of thing. Could you perhaps look into an international shipping service through UPS? It will probably be quite a bit more expensive, but a lot more reliable.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 3:39 AM on April 30, 2015


The reason why I suggest UPS is that I am in Germany currently and last week I ordered a towel from Turkey. It arrived via UPS within two working days without any issues. I can't say the same for the package that DHL was supposed to deliver on Friday. :(
posted by kinddieserzeit at 3:45 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have good experiences with DHL. I have no reason to see them as less reliable than UPS.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:24 AM on April 30, 2015


Though I am currently in Spain, I will soon be in France and I have heard their postal service is cheaper/has better boxes. Is it worth lugging my stuff around for a few days to send it out of France (I also speak no French)?

Not really worth it if you're going for cheap, but as others have noted, "cheap" often translates to "gets lost".

Also, if I were to send my laptop, would you send it by a country's postal service with the rest of your clothes or by another method?

No, no, a thousand times no. UPS, with tracking and insurance and every other bell and whistle they have. Do not cheap out on sending a laptop.
posted by Etrigan at 4:25 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you do send your things from France, colissimo might be cheaper than DHL/UPS/FedEx for your clothes. You can take the box to a post office (La Poste) and it will be a tracked service. You can calculate the price on their website, I just looked for 15lb and it is 100€.

For your laptop, you can take it in to FedEx or Office Depot locations and send it from there. If you are doing it online, I know at least FedEx lets you view the French website in English.
posted by ellieBOA at 4:45 AM on April 30, 2015


You can go to any Correos office and send it as EMS so you get a tracker code.

EMS is fastest and most expensive, but the cheaper alternatives aren't that cheaper and there's not much of a difference. You will need to send it to someone who can sign off on delivery.
posted by sukeban at 7:25 AM on April 30, 2015


Best answer: My parents have sent me many, many packages from Spain to the US through regular mail (always registered, mind) and except for the confiscation, once, of a package containing ham (which they shouldn't have sent anyway) none have ever not made it.
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:30 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


If money's no object, perhaps break the shipment up into 2 or maybe 3 packages? That way it's not an all-or-nothing thing on what makes it back.
posted by resurrexit at 8:22 AM on April 30, 2015


Your cheapest option could be to use a poste restante service: mail it to a post office in the European city you are flying out from, and pick it up there before you depart. That depends on a lot of factors, though: where you are flying out from, whether you would get there in time (they won't keep a package indefinitely and every country has a different time limit), whether having to pick up the package is too much hassle, etc. Since I don't know the details of your trip, I have no idea whether this is practical for your case, but it might be worth considering.

If shipping to the US, I agree with the other commenters that you would be wise not to take the rock-bottom option for the laptop. I'd guess that an international company with a presence in the US would be easier to get restitution from if you insured it and they lost or damaged it.
posted by mandanza at 11:20 AM on April 30, 2015


Response by poster: I'm flying out of Athens. Is there a chance they would keep a small suitcase for a month?
posted by clarinet at 1:13 PM on April 30, 2015


Response by poster: For future readers: I shipped all my stuff home out of Spain through Correos and it was fairly painless. It arrived about a month later in the US, and we'll see if everything's intact, but it made it! (I kept the laptop with me. I shipped everything through Correos for the price of sending the laptop by itself through FedEx, practically).
posted by clarinet at 12:57 AM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


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