With the Holiday Season approaching faster than many of us are ready for, we should all start thinking about how we’re going to ship our cards and packages. When sending things to members of our Military, it often takes more time to get mail to them, especially if they are deployed or stationed overseas.
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It’s no secret that during the Holiday Season it is best to get postal mail sent early in order to avoid the rush. The U.S. Postal Service recommends that packages be shipped out no later than December 20, 2016 for regular First Class Mail, and that is only mail being delivered in the U.S. that doesn’t include packages, which typically take longer. Anything going overseas should be mailed even earlier to ensure timely arrival.
Anyone who has family or friends in the military knows how much mail means to them, and it means even more during the holidays when being away from loved ones is that much harder. When you send a package to someone in the military who is stationed domestically or abroad, don’t forget to make sure the address you are using includes an APO, DPO, or FPO number. Leaving that number out will prevent the mail from being delivered. These numbers are used to tie a person to a specific troop, without giving the fixed location for security reasons.
When sending a gift or care package keep in mind there is a limit of 70 pounds for packages. Any package weighing over 70 pounds cannot be delivered. The 70 pound limit has been increased from the early days, when a package could not weigh more than four pounds. The weight limit increased when care packages became more common. Common items you can put in a care package include: food, blankets, pictures, and anything else a person may miss while being away from home.
Sending a package to a member of the military can take as long as 45 days for delivery, depending on the location they are in. If you are planning on sending out a holiday package and haven’t already done so, you should check to see the delivery times for the location you are sending it to.
When packaging items to be sent to military overseas, you should take the following precautions:
- Place the mailing address inside the package on a separate sheet of paper.
- Use a box that conforms to the contents you are sending.
- Place items into the box so that the weight is evenly distributed.
- Add packing material on the inside of the box if any portion sags or is easily depressed.
- Use packing tape to wrap the outside of the box. Do not use string.
- Cross out or cover any excess markings or printing to prevent your box from being lost.
- Enclose personal hygiene items such as deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, in a resealable plastic bag.
- Place all perishable items such as chips, cookies, candies, etc. in a plastic container.
- When mailing liquids make sure they are properly packaged in a leak-proof container
- Enclose as much as possible inside plastic so it is protected from weather and environmental elements.
While military members love any care package they get, the following items should not be shipped:
- Carbonated Beverages (may explode during shipping)
- Drugs or narcotics
- Flammable items
- Fresh fruits or vegetables
- Lithium batteries
- Precious metals or large amounts of cash
- Anything in an aerosol can
- Images that may be offensive to others.
- Radioactive material
- Large quantities of religious items
- Check to see if there are any other items that would not be a good idea to send.
If you are short on ideas of items you can or should send, www.militarybenefits.info is a great resource with an extensive list of items.