The U.S. Postal Service Specifies Mailing Guidelines for Holiday Packages to Overseas Service Members
For friends and family of service members who are serving overseas, the weight of that separation feels extra heavy over the holidays. Luckily, the United States Post Office has made sending letters, notes and packages to them a little easier by providing step-by-step directions of proper mailing procedures of this sort as well as specific dates to mail items to ensure delivery by Christmas. No more guessing delivery dates, hassles with special packaging, proper postage amounts or having the package wrapping torn or discarded.
Some of these guidelines include sending first-class and priority mail by December 4th for service members stationed in Afghanistan for delivery by Christmas; parcel airlift mail by December 1st; and space-available mail by November 21st. Generally, all packages being mailed overseas should be sent by November 13th in ensure delivery by Christmas, according to Post Office officials.
Other tips the USPS provides are:
- Make sure packages are addressed to the individual service member by name, without rank, in accordance with Department of Defense regulations.
- Overseas units are assigned APO or FPO ZIP codes that often remain with the unit wherever it ravels and packages sent to these addresses may require custom forms.
- Make sure the box you use to send packages is strong enough to protect the contents and contains to writing on the outside.
- Use newspapers, bubble wrap or other packing materials to cushion the contents and to avoid shifting. When sending food items, make sure the package is securely fastened and leak-proof.
- Use nylon-reinforced or pressure-sensitive packing tape.
- Refrain from using wrapping paper and other decorative wrapping utensils.
- Place address stickers clearly on the package with all necessary information and also place a return address sticker on the inside of the package.
- Wrap toy batteries separately and place next to the item in the package.
The Post Office also suggests purchasing insurance for your package and ordering a receipt of delivery. If you have any further questions regarding how to send Christmas packages to troops overseas, contact your nearest Post Office.
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