Send Belongings Home

When you begin to plan your return home, it is a good idea to consider a range of options for sending things abroad. It is suggested that you compare prices and services carefully before choosing a method to send personal belongings home.

Send books through the US Post Office

Boxes of books can be sent by asking for surface rates for books. The cost varies for each country; it is advised that each student call the post office to inquire about the rate for his/her country. A minimum of 15 pounds must be sent at a time; to most countries the maximum load is 40-45 pounds at a time. Be sure to separate the books from printed matter, since the rate for the latter is double the rate for books. Please note that no insurance is available on these shipments.

Post Parcel through the US Post Office

You can mail clothing which you may not need to carry by air or sea postal shipment. This is a relatively inexpensive option. Here again the rates differ for each country; please call your local post office. To most countries the parcel should not exceed 40 pounds at a time. Insurance is strongly recommended. Packages do not always arrive or sometimes arrive in poor condition. The shipments may take from 6-8 weeks to arrive. Do not place stamps on the packages yourself; the post office will weigh the material and affix the proper postage.

Air Shipment for Moderate Distances

If you are returning by air and do not have a great deal of baggage exceeding your maximum weight allowance, the cost of air shipment is not expensive. The freight offices of the international airlines are listed in the yellow pages of the local telephone book. The airline will be able to provide estimates for you even if they do not service your particular city. For an additional cost some airlines will crate your belongings for you at the airport.

Baggage Regulations

Check with the airline with which you will be flying for specific regulations on the weight and size of suitcases, excess baggage, air freight and costs. If you are not checking your baggage through to your ultimate destination, be sure to ask what the baggage regulations are for your intermediate stops. The regulations can vary by country and by carrier.

Shipment by Sea

Determine regulations on the size, weight and content of boxes if you are sending your belongings home by sea mail. Compare the costs of sending things home by post, by air freight, or by a shipping company. Consider the length of time it will take for the parcels to arrive, and any potential damage to equipment, books, etc.

Overland and Sea Shipping

For a complete list of Mailing Services, Movers, and Freight Services in the Ithaca Area, please refer to the Yellow Pages of your local NYNEX telephone directory.


For certain kinds of parcels you may want to use courier services to send things home. The major courier services are listed in the yellow pages of your telephone directory.

Adapted by Mythili K. Rundblad from the handout "Shipping things Home," Int'l Programs and Services Office, Southern Illinois University/Carbondale.