Deadline for shipping holiday gifts nears
- Space-available (SAM) – The cheapest service because packages take longer to reach a destination. It offers air transport of parcels on a space-available basis to or from military post offices outside the U.S and surface transport within the U.S. There is a weight limit of 70 pounds and a combined length and girth limit of 130 inches.
- Parcel airlift (PAL) – Uses air transport on a space-available basis similar to SAM plus air transport to the destination city or the city nearest to it inside the U.S. There is a weight limit of 30 pounds and a combined length and girth limit of 60 inches.
- First class – Handles items weighing up to 13 ounces. Flat-rate packaging available.
- Priority – Same as First-Class mail but for items weighing over 13 ounces to 70 pounds. Combined length and girth limit of 108 inches. Flat-rate packaging available.
- Express mail military service (EMMS) – Offers preferred and/or expedited service. Not available from all USAFE APOs.
- Insurance – Offers coverage against loss or damage up to $5,000, with the price based on the declared value of the item(s).
- Registered – Offers maximum security, insuring items up to $25,000, with the price based on the declared value of the item(s). Tracks movement of mail from beginning to end.
- Certified – Provides evidence of mailing as well as the date and time of delivery or attempted delivery. Requires the recipient to sign upon delivery.
- Delivery confirmation – Shows when an item was delivered or when delivery was attempted using a Track and Confirm tool you can use on your computer.
- Certificate of mailing – Offers evidence of the date your mail was accepted by the post office.
- Return receipt – Provides proof that an item was delivered, through a postcard or email showing the signature of the recipient.
- Restricted delivery – Specifies who can sign for and receive your mail.
- Special handling – Offers preferential handling if you’re sending something that needs extra care.
- Select a box strong enough to protect the contents and appropriate for the amount and size of items inside.
- Leave space for cushioning inside the carton, using bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, or newspaper to protect the contents.
- Use tape designed for shipping, using enough to secure the opening and seams of the box.
- Put newspaper or packing material in hollow items to avoid damage during transport.
- Write “fragile” or “perishable” on packages when shipping such items.
- Use boxes, envelopes and tubes the post office provides for Express Mail and Priority Mail.
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