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  1. #1
    I feel like this is kind of a stupid question I should be able to easily find the answer to somewhere online, but so far I'm not having much luck.

    I want to have a few packages sent to me in Ireland from the United States--a couple of sleeping bags, a winter coat, and a pair of shoes. My questions are:
    1. Will this be exorbitantly expensive? I found out the hard way that the USPS doesn't ship by sea anymore and my mother-in-law (who is sending the packages) is going to use UPS anyway, I think. (We DID have some books sent via USPS recently and the cost shocked us, although it was still less than replacing them and my husband needed them for work.)
    2. How should she mark the packages to avoid exorbitant VAT or customs charges? All the items are old and used, stuff we left behind hoping to have sent later--the sleeping bags are over 10 years old.

    Many thanks to anyone who may be able to help out!

  2. #2
    I feel like this is kind of a stupid question I should be able to easily find the answer to somewhere online, but so far I'm not having much luck.

    I want to have a few packages sent to me in Ireland from the United States--a couple of sleeping bags, a winter coat, and a pair of shoes. My questions are:
    1. Will this be exorbitantly expensive? I found out the hard way that the USPS doesn't ship by sea anymore and my mother-in-law (who is sending the packages) is going to use UPS anyway, I think. (We DID have some books sent via USPS recently and the cost shocked us, although it was still less than replacing them and my husband needed them for work.)
    2. How should she mark the packages to avoid exorbitant VAT or customs charges? All the items are old and used, stuff we left behind hoping to have sent later--the sleeping bags are over 10 years old.

    Many thanks to anyone who may be able to help out!

  3. #3

    Slow Traveler

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    194
    Hi Elliear,

    I think you will find answers to your questions at UPS's Web site.

    I had a look and did a sample shipment of 50 lbs from NYC to Dublin in a box 20"x20"x20" valued at $500 and got a bunch of quotes in the $300 range.

    I often FedEx personal items from NYC to England for my employer who lives in London. FedEx requires the completion of a commercial invoice, which is required by Customs, that UPS probably requires too. Here you list the contents and value of what you're shipping. A FedEx agent told me to write on the CI, "Personal-Not for Resale", to avoid duty charges.

    I FedEx'd 100 lbs of books the other day and, using a company acct. that gets a deep discount, the cost was around $500 to ship.

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Thank you gopika! That does help. I had played around with the mail tools at UPS and thought surely I must be doing something wrong with the price estimates I was getting, but apparently not. And the tip on how to avoid duty charges is most helpful.

    Perhaps I should ask a different question then: does any company ship cheap and slow by sea any longer as the post office used to do? (I mean, small packages of a mailable size; I'm not looking to contact a shipping company and talk about a container or anything.) Or am I stuck with some form of very expensive "global express" no matter what?

  5. #5
    posting a reply to myself...

    Okay, I guess I feel a little less stupid for not being able to find an answer to this online in the first place...seems lots of people are asking the same question. There doesn't seem to be an inexpensive option for small shipments and personal items from the US any longer (unless they fit in the flat rate priority boxes provided by the post office( and it's affecting international students, booksellers, Peace Corps volunteers (and non-profits that work with them), JET teachers, to name just a few. How frustrating.

    Also, apologies to moderators...I guess this turned into a more general travel question. I put it in Ireland because I thought I might need more specific responses on the VAT/duty part of the question.

  6. #6

    Slow Traveler

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    194
    You're welcome.

    I Googled "cheap shipping rates by sea from US to Ireland" and got a lot of URLs. Also, have you spoken w/UPS? They do have a shipping-by-sea option, but I'm not clear if that is for bigger loads than yours. The worst they say is no.

    Don't give up!!!

  7. #7
    Hi gopika, I meant to get back to this topic before--thank you again for your help. We just decided to have the coat sent and forget the rest--there don't seem to be any options available for what we need. We're using the wording you suggested (personal-not for resale) so thanks for that!

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