I want to mail three boxes of from Philadelphia to Spain. What's the cheapest option?
September 1, 2006 10:18 AM   Subscribe

I want to mail three boxes of from Philadelphia to Spain. What's the cheapest option?

The boxes are fairly heavy (about 50 books in total, several big and hardcover). I know there are bookrates with the US Postal service, but i'm wondering if a shipping service might be cheaper. I've searched online but can't find something that looks good and reliable.

I'm in no rush to receive the books (just sending them to myself).
posted by BigBrownBear to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Media mail rate is the cheapest option I can think of. I mailed myself ~12 boxes of books when I moved and I spent less than $100 on it.
posted by special-k at 10:20 AM on September 1, 2006

I don't believe media mail is an option for international shipments.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 10:27 AM on September 1, 2006

USPS does a "Surface M-Bag" that has a book rate. To Spain:

Books & Sheet Music, Publishers' Periodicals
Weight Not Over 11 lbs. $10.45
Each additional pound or fraction of a pound $0.95
Weight Limit: 66 pounds

Expect 4-8 week delivery.

For only 50 books, I expect that will be your best option.
posted by trevyn at 10:48 AM on September 1, 2006

You should probably expect that you'll probably have to pay customs duties on them when you pick them up. I had a bunch of sweaters mailed to myself in Italy, plainly labelled as "Used Clothing" on the customs form, and still ended up having to pay about $60 in fees at the post office.

It may have changed now that the EU is more EU-like (they were just about to switch to the euro when I was there, but had abolished border controls), but you may want to factor that into your costs.
posted by occhiblu at 10:51 AM on September 1, 2006

Response by poster: that sounds like italy. i get alot of stuff shipped to me here and have never paid any dues to pick it up. though that might be different with a big package.

Surface M Bag sounds like a possible option.
posted by BigBrownBear at 11:22 AM on September 1, 2006

Yeah, it was highly variable, I assume based on which customs officer had bothered looking at the package. I mailed three big packages; one had no duties, one had something like $5, and the other was $60, all for basically the same contents.
posted by occhiblu at 11:32 AM on September 1, 2006

M-Bag is probably the cheapest and easiest.
See also this thread. You shouldn't owe any customs duty on things you've owned for more than 6 months.
posted by cushie at 10:04 PM on September 1, 2006

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