How to send gifts to faraway friends and family

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The holiday season is a time to share happy experiences with friends and family. But reconnecting with loved ones come the holidays is not always possible, especially when family and friends are spread out across the country, if not the globe.

Even though these people may not be close geographically, they’re still close in our hearts and, therefore, still on our holiday shopping lists. Some issues arise when sending gifts to faraway friends and family. Distance necessitates shipping gifts or making travel arrangements.

To make that process less complicated, consider these suggestions.

* Package gifts wisely. When shipping gifts, exercise caution to ensure the item arrives on time and in one piece. The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for the shipping industry, and packages may endure a few bumps along the way.

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For fragile items, use extra packing peanuts, newspaper or other protective wrapping material. Choose the right size package so the gift does not move around much inside of the box.

If the gift is expensive, insure the package in the event it gets lost or damaged. Also, you may want to spend a little more money to have the shipment tracked and a confirmation sent when the package is delivered. This can offer some peace of mind during a hectic time of year.

* Take advantage of free shipping offers. Many retailers offer discounts on shipping rates during the holiday season. Shop at retailers that offer such discounts, as shipping costs can be exorbitant depending on the sizes of the packages being sent.

In addition, online retailers may allow you to ship the gift directly to its recipient, which can help you ensure the gift gets to its destination on time.

* Give gift cards and certificates. Gift cards are an easy item to ship, and can be sent within the regular mail for the cost of a stamp. Certain retailers may have digital gift cards or certificates that allow buyers to email a special code to the gift recipient, who can then redeem the code for a purchase credit. This is a convenient, fast and inexpensive way to send holiday wishes.

* Don’t forget about inspections and customs procedures. Items shipped out of the country may be delayed by customs inspectors at their ultimate destination. Assume that certain packages may be opened or detained, and ship such packages early so the gifts still arrive on time.

Packages that look unusual or like they’re hiding something may be prone to inspection more so than others. Be honest about declarations of value and what is contained in the package. Also, realize certain items, like fruits, vegetables, plants, or seeds, may be prohibited.

Learn the international shipping rules for your gift’s destination prior to sending anything. Distant family members and friends may be out of sight but certainly not out of mind come the holidays. When it comes to sending gifts, ship smart. 

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