Shipping items in the physical world sometimes feels more difficult than it really should be. You'd think that in the day and age that we can deliver videos at the speed of light, that sending your family something special from abroad would be simple; and turns out it really can be if you know how to do it.
As many of you have discovered, Australia Post recently stopped accepting international packages, and subsequently, USPS has stopped being able to send anything from the US to Australia. This has meant that you have two options: don't send anything, or send something for a huge price going directly through one of the shipping companies like FedEx, UPS, or DHL.
But it turns out there's a third alternative for sending your packages internationally: PackageHopper (and if you keep reading I can get you 20% off your first packages).
How does PackageHopper work?
So basically the long and short of how PackageHopper works is that the big shipping companies I mentioned before offer discounted rates to individuals and companies who ship things all the time, and for those companies that they have relationships with.
I'm someone who only ships a couple of packages per year, and so this obviously doesn't apply to me, but PackageHopper joins me together with all the other Josh-like-senders in the world and makes us look like one mega-sender!
They also have a long and existing relationship with these sending companies, so they can therefore work with them more closely to offer better and better deals.
How much does it cost to send a package to Australia with PackageHopper?
My advice is generally: Always go to the source. Whether it's the information I post about immigration, or in this case, when a third party is involved in a transaction, it's always good to find a point of reference.
As always, I like to be upfront: PackageHopper reached out to me a few weeks ago and offered me a trial! No terms, no conditions, they just asked if I would like to try shipping something to Australia myself and they'd cover the cost. I've shipped directly with these other companies before, but wanted to give them a shot.
So I decided to send my Mum and Dad something nice in Australia, for a package totaling 3 pounds, and with dimensions of 20in x16in x16in from 10009 (New York, USA) to 5066 (Hazelwood Park, South Australia).
So, using this package that I sent the other day to South Australia, here's how the pricing compared:
Through PackageHopper the total cost to ship with UPS Worldwide Saver was $40.32 and I added “PackageHopper Protect” to insure my items for a grand total of $46.30.
The quote I got for the same service (UPS Worldwide Saver) directly through UPS (which by the way used a “billable weight” based on “dimensional weight” instead of the 3lb I input) was $861 USD.
Obviously, this is an outrageously mega difference and the other thing that's worth mentioning, as you can see above, is that I picked the most expensive of the options because I wanted to see how fast it could get there (and UPS is closer to drop-off for me).
I could have saved another $8!
Why is PackageHopper better than some of the other options?
So the real winner for me is how they calculate the rates, which as you can see above clearly works well for most packages that I'd try to send.
There's some text right at the bottom of the shipping rate calculator that says:
While 99% of shipments are calculated by weight only, TruePrice™ excludes packages with linear dimensions (length + width + height) greater than 80 inches (203 cm).https://packagehopper.myus.com/shipping-rates-results/
What this means is that if your item is a normal-sized box and not a monster package, the price you pay will only be based on the weight, and not on the size of the box (see “dimensional weight” above from UPS). This “TruePrice” thing is basically just saying that the price they propose doesn't dramatically jump around at the final step. It's all based on weight.
They will also ship items larger than those dimension (like car seats) and at a much reduced rate too. You can put those details into the site and it will spit that number out for you just the same.
For me, though when I'm just sending a few things back to Australia for Christmas and Holidays this works beautifully. It gives me the ability to send things, with insurance and tracking, and know that they'll get there despite all the difficulties shipping internationally right now.
In addition to that they also work directly with the FedEx and UPS companies of the world. You actually drop the item directly to them. So there's no middle-man losing your box. You're getting reliable shipping on the cheap(er).
How to ship something with PackageHopper (e.g. Shipping gifts to Australia for Christmas and the Holidays)
So here's how to do it, here's how to ship your items back to Australia (or anywhere in the world):
- First things first, check that all the items you want to ship are not restricted or prohibited
- Assuming you're all good, get all your items together and put them in a box. Be sure that the box doesn't have other stickers on it, or other barcodes or anything, and be sure to pack it so things don't bounce around too much
- Don't seal the box just yet!
- Find a scale whether it be a kitchen scale or a bathroom scale and weigh the box to the nearest pound or kilogram, write it down
- Find a tape measure and measure the box you're shipping in, write that down too
- Now you need a link: https://packagehopper.myus.com
- Click through the Ship Now link and start to enter your details to check the rates
- Select which method of shipping you want to use and push “Ship now”
- Enter all your details and create an account (or login)
- Enter shipping FROM and TO
- Give a reason for shipping, and be sure to be accurate (this changes customs rules)
- Describe what's in the box and the value of every item
- Enter the box measurements you recorded before
- You'll now be at a summary page but before you click “Continue to Payment”… I have a discount offer for you that gives you 20% off your first three items for the first 90 days!
- Find “Have a Promo code?”, click it, and insert AMERICAJOSH when it offers you the option.
- Proceed to payment and pay
- Now, you will need to print out a whole stack (five of them!) of customs declerations and a shipping label (if you don't have a printer, that's fine, you get details on how to send it to the local FedEx or UPS and they can print it for you as a label!)
- You put four of them (who knows why) inside the box, and keep one at hand
- If you do have a printer and everything is done, seal the box to make sure all your things stay safely inside (if you don't have a printer, take the open box with you)
- Cut out your shipping label, and stick it on the side
- Carry the box to the FedEx or UPS location closest to you (they tell you how to find one), and get a customs sticker folder (they'll help you put it on)
- Hand it over, and wait!
Shortly after doing this, you'll get confirmation from PackageHopper and can start tracking your box!
How to get a discount with PackageHopper
I've got a special discount for America Josh readers!
It gives you 20% off shipping three different packages for the first 90 days of your new account.
Go to PackageHopper.com, find the option to enter a Promo code and enter: AMERICAJOSH
All one word. AMERICAJOSH
How long does PackageHopper take to ship
The times vary depending on which of the services you select. You can see in the screenshot above that I had the options of FedEx Economy (2-5 business days), FedEx Priority (1-3 business days), UPS Expedited (2-5 business days), and UPS Worldwide Saver (1-3 business days).
My package took 3 business days to get from the drop-off point in New York City to my parents' front door in Adelaide, South Australia, which honestly still feels like magic.
It's worth noting that right now, with the whole *waves hands generally in the air* there may be some global logistics delays and therefore it might take 1-2 days extra. Worth noting and planning ahead!
Why am I recommending PackageHopper?
The links to PackageHopper in this article do get me a kickback.
I always like to be upfront with that. But the reason I'm recommending it is simple: It worked, and it was cheap. I wanted to send something back for my family, USPS wouldn't accept it, and the other options were much too expensive.
I hope it helps you too and if you'd prefer to not use my discount, I completely understand!