Shipping items from abroad to America

Old Feb 4th, 2005, 09:54 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,995
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Shipping items from abroad to America

Hello.

I'm a college student who is studying abroad in England. When it comes time to go back home, I may have to ship some items back, possibly an entire suitcase (we are doing some travel afterwards and I could only take one suitcase with me; I have two here now and stuff to go in both of them). Our campus has a couple of Mail Boxes Etc that offer to do the shipping, help with packaging, etc. I think I can use FedEx or UPS.

I'm just wondering how the process works, and if there are special hoops I have to jump through - customs, paperwork, fees, etc. I'm honestly just not sure where to start and I would want to do everything possible so that things go smoothly and I can get my stuff back in a reasonable amount of time.

Thank you for your help.
JoeTro is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 10:36 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 40
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Before leaving Cambridge in 2003, I had to ship home 2 boxes (mostly books). Just went to the local post office with my packed boxes and filled out a short form at the window--kind of like the USPS forms for express mail or a Fedex form--then paid the postal clerk. The fee amount depends on how quickly you want the package to arrive (just like in US). Don't remember having to do anything unusual...but then again, a suitcase might be a different story.
susiederkins is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:03 AM
  #3  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Joe,

"Personal Household Items" so the Customs people won't charge you duty.

ira is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:06 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,280
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
When I wanted to lighten my load mid-trip, I've mailed clothes home several times. I went to the local post office, purchase a box, packed it right there, marked the customs form "dirty clothes" and mailed it (once from Switzerland once from Paris).
suze is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:09 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,995
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Okay so there is a customs form to fill out? How complicated was it? I'm just curious. I remember freaking out about my Visa and finding it to be not such a big deal. I'm probably doing this again.
JoeTro is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:10 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 257
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We had friends visiting for over a month, they mailed home two boxes of clothing, toys and ceramics, no problems - just postage depending on how fast you want it there - and how much it weighs!
mousireid is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:10 AM
  #7  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, you are.
ira is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:16 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,280
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
It's completely simple. Similar to the same one you use when you mail something from the U.S. to Europe.
suze is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:17 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,995
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks! I guess I was just visualizing horror stories of me mailing a locked suitcase home in a box. I know how finicky TSA is and I imagined this to be much worse?

Is there a dollar limit to what you can send home in terms of value?
JoeTro is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:36 AM
  #10  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No, but there is a liit on the insurance.

Have you considered selling all of your stuff in Europe, using the money to finance your trip and buying what you need when you get home?

ira is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:47 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,820
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I paid around 60Euros in 2003 when i was in CT, I had to send back some personal items..Like always I brought too many clothes.. Someday,I may eventually learn to pack light .
kismetchimera is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 11:49 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,280
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Maybe get rid of the suitcase and ship what you need to in a couple of smaller boxes instead?
suze is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 01:08 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,995
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the comments.

The problem is that I live in America, so I can't exactly sell most of my belongings to finance the trip - I'd have a very limited waredrobe then. And I really love both of the suitcases. Unless maybe one breaks or something, I'd really like to keep them both.
JoeTro is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 02:07 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,280
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Any chance you are flying back out of London at the end of your studying and after your traveling about?

I'm thinking maybe you could store the suitcases and bring them both home with you on your return flight? As long as they are not over the weight limit, then they'd fly for free.
suze is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 02:26 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,995
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Good point. I am flying out of London both times. I fly out of Gatwick to Venice but back to Heathrow from Barcelona. But, I fly back to Dallas the next morning from Gatwick. So maybe that would work. How does the storage generally work, and what about fees? I could be concerned about loss/theft, etc., but then there would be lots of risks associated with shipping it trans-atlantic as well.
JoeTro is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 02:44 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,000
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts


Sorry if this is a double post, my computer just whacked itself. I've shipped things dozens of times from all over Europe.

JoeTro,

If you are shipping books you have a good deal at the post office. Books have a lower shipping rate and they are free of US Customs duty. So pack them separately and do not seal the box until the postal clerk verifies the contents. You will need to fill out the Customs green slip but that is a very minor formality.

Other items are more expensive to ship, maybe much more expensive. Mark them as "personal effects in used condition" to avoid US Customs duty.

I don't know about Gatwick but I stored a bag at Amsterdam Schiphol for 3 weeks. Call Gatwick to find out what services they offer.
hopscotch is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 03:45 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,280
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
OK- as I'm seeing the situation, the difficulty is not shipping items home (that is fairly simple) but getting the suitcase back home.

Here's all the ideas I can think of:

Arrange with the school where you have been studying to store it until your return.

Use a hotel near Gatwick 1 night each side of the trip, if they are willing to store the suitcase.

Try left luggage at Gatwick if it is available and you can afford the price.

Pack entire suitcase into large box and ship home.

Take it on the plane with you.

Forget about the suitcase.
suze is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2005, 06:09 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Joe, not from England, but one time when I was in Italy I shipped the contents of a large suitcase home to the US (but not the suitcase itself).

I used the Italian postoffice.

It cost me about the equivalent of $60.00 or so (US dollars).

It took about 3 months to arrive.

The Italian postoffice had all the proper forms for me to complete.

I stated that the contents were used clothes and books.

With having having a MailBoxes Etc. on your campus I would think they could help you with all of this.
LoveItaly is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
emerald4ever
Asia
11
Jan 9th, 2008 09:42 AM
limeflotsam
Asia
4
Jul 2nd, 2005 09:19 AM
Tuki
Europe
32
Dec 26th, 2004 12:15 PM
HeatherH
Europe
24
Aug 16th, 2003 03:22 AM
tiffpolm
Europe
15
Jul 31st, 2003 12:00 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -