Tips on Sending Care Packages Overseas

If a loved one is living overseas while serving in the military, attending school, volunteering or working, you may wish to send a care package to ease any homesickness the person may be experiencing. Care packages can be simple reminders of home that include the person’s favorite items unavailable overseas. Care packages can also include personal mementos and keepsakes such as photographs or stuffed animals. Fed Ex, DHL and the United States Postal Service (USPS) offer overseas shipping services for packages, though USPS charges are significantly lower.

Items Unavailable Overseas

Send your loved one some of her favorite items from home that may not be available overseas. Western food items such as peanut butter, cooking spices, jelly or maple syrup are typically hard to find overseas. If your loved one has a favorite brand of cookies, crackers, snacks or candies, include a few containers in their package. Favorite foods from home are a welcome sight for those overseas, especially if they are tiring of the local cuisine. Include clothing items such as jackets, shirts, pants or shoes, especially if the person has difficulty finding their size overseas. Some items, such as flip flops or a certain fit of underwear, may be difficult to come by overseas. If possible, ask the recipient if there are certain clothing items he is in need of.

Personal hygiene items can be drastically different abroad. In the care package, you can include deodorant, toothpaste and hair care products. Make sure not to send any aerosol cans as these cannot be shipped safely. Feminine hygiene products and shaving accessories may also be in short supply overseas. You can include these items to make sure the recipient is stocked up on some of the comforts from home. You can also include magazines, DVDs or CDs from home that are not available abroad. Media items from home will be greatly appreciated by those overseas.

Personal Mementos

Include photographs of friends, family and pets from home in the care package. Photographs of loved ones can be very important to a person when he is halfway across the world from home. Include recent photographs of holidays, birthdays or other gatherings to help your expatriate feel included. You can also include old photographs that include the recipient. Sentimental items such as a favorite knickknack or stuffed animal are also thoughtful items to include in a care package. Send a handwritten note or letter with your care package to add a personal touch. While you may be in contact with the person through email, a handwritten letter holds more sentimental value and will be significant to the recipient.

Shipping Methods

There are several carriers who offer international shipping service for packages. Fed Ex, DHL and USPS are a few of the main couriers that can ship packages abroad. Fed Ex and DHL generally offer fast delivery service with tracking, delivery confirmation and insurance, but their rates tend to be higher. USPS rates through the Priority Mail service tend to be significantly less expensive due to the utilization of flat-rate boxes. Delivery time can take up to two weeks, however. USPS offers “Global Express Guaranteed” service, which is shipped via Fed Ex. This service generally costs less than shipping directly through Fed Ex and guarantees delivery within 1 to 3 days. Contact your local carriers to compare costs and delivery times.