There are many factors to consider when shipping a parcel internationally. Whether you run a small export business or you just want to send a friend or a loved one a gift for whatever occasion, you need to get yourself a reliable shipping company.

This involves doing some homework. Factors to consider include the cost, country-specific regulations, shipping times, and many others. Specifically, you should consider the following before shipping a package internationally.

1. Do Your Research

As alluded to above, every country has its own rules and regulations. You will need to find out what restrictions apply in the country you intend to ship your package to. For instance, South Africa and Mexico prohibit imports of matching shoes. That may sound weird but that’s just the way it is. On the other hand, if you are shipping a parcel to any of the EU nations, you are required to fill out a customs declaration form. You need to have this kind of information at your fingertips before you decide to ship your parcel.

2. International Shipping Costs

If you don’t know the going rates for sending a parcel internationally, you might end up paying more than you should. On the other hand, if you don’t know how much it costs to send a particular parcel internationally, you might think it’s too costly when in the real sense it is highly affordable. Lack of knowledge about shipping rates will cost you not only in terms of paying more than you should but also in terms of a missed opportunity to connect with friends, relatives and even customers. Shipping rates are highly affordable, especially if you are sending your parcel through a shipping company such as Flagship Courier Solutions, which negotiates the best deals for its customers.

3. Always Use Secure Packaging

Using secure packaging is necessary if you want your package to arrive in the same condition you shipped. If you use a reliable courier service, you will not have to worry about your parcel being damaged in transit. In the unfortunate event that your parcel is damaged in transit, a reputable shipping company will always seek to compensate you for the damage through a discounted insurance cover. It is, however, always important to use appropriate packaging to minimize the chances of damage. For instance, if you are shipping an item in a box, a hard, double-walled cardboard box is recommended. Besides, the items inside the box should be properly secured.

4. Include a Return Address

Undelivered items should be returned to you, the sender. However, if you have not provided a return address, it is difficult to know where to return the items. Usually, undelivered items are shipped back to the sender at no extra cost.

5. Avoid Shipping Restricted or Prohibited Goods

Each country has specific restrictions on which goods you can and cannot ship. Most countries, for instance, restrict the shipping of liquids and perishable items across borders. Always do your research to establish whether the item you are shipping is prohibited before booking it for shipment.

Shipping parcels internationally need not be a daunting task if you do it right. Receiving or sending a parcel to a loved one can be an emotionally fulfilling experience. Businesses also leverage the power of international shipping to expand their reach beyond their local borders. However, shipping a parcel internationally is a delicate affair that involves using durable packaging materials and using a shipping company that has a reputation for providing reliable shipping services. It is important to research on appropriate packaging and also establish whether the country you are shipping to has any restriction on your products.