You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Make the system work for you

Oct. 13, 2011 - 02:58PM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 13, 2011 - 02:58PM  |  
  • Filed Under

More than 2,000 troops and a legion of contractors are responsible for the military's overseas mail system, which is part of the U.S. Postal Service. Overseas-bound mail travels like any other mail to military distribution hubs in Jersey City, N.J., and Los Angeles. From there, mail travels on commercial and military aircraft and commercial sealift vessels to nearly 2,000 military post offices in more than 85 countries, including Navy and Coast Guard ships.

In the long run, sending anything pricey overseas untracked takes faith, but you can do a few things to help it on the way. Some tricks for getting your gift through the gauntlet intact:

Free boxes from USPS. Order free military "Care Kits" at 800-610-8734. Each kit includes two "America Supports You" Flat Rate boxes (same size as the large Priority Mail boxes); four medium Priority Mail boxes; six Priority Mail labels; one roll of Priority Mail tape; and six customs forms with envelopes.

Military discount on biggest flat-rate box. While most people pay $14.95 to ship the largest USPS Flat Rate boxes, anyone shipping to or from an APO/FPO address should only pay $12.95 at the counter. The price is even better if you pay online: $12.20.

Repackage high-end items. Laptops and other expensive electronics are the No. 1 category of items that go missing, so the most important thing to do is to repackage it in a box that hides the fact that you have something pricey inside. Make it look homemade with heart stickers and "Cookies handle with care!" written on the outside.

Don't be so literal. All packages shipped to and from APO/FPOs need a customs form. Put some other stuff in the box with your gift some paper and some pens, for example so you can mask high-value items with a more generic description such as "office supplies."

Consider reshippers. For online vendors who won't ship to APO/FPO addresses, either start shopping now so you can have the item shipped to you (then reshipped APO/FPO); or go to the professionals: companies such as ShipItAPO and APO Box will forward your gift for a fee.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In OFFduty

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook