Ask anyone with a Military spouse/loved one who is stationed overseas – the Holidays can be incredibly tough, more than anyone without a deployed loved one can ever imagine. Figuring out the maze of rules implemented by the Postal Service can be tricky, and one more thing to worry about on top of all the stress you’re already facing. With this in mind, we want to make this part of the holidays as simple as possible for you. So, we’ve laid out all the things you need to keep in mind when shipping a care package overseas to members of our troops.
- Triple Check International & Country Specific Shipping Limits
- Seal Up Heavily Scented Products or Items that may Leak in Individual Plastic Bags
- Don’t Overstuff the Box(es)!
- Secure the Package as Well as You Can – Tape it Up Tightly & Ensure Nothing Rattles Around in Your Package.
Individual Care Packages
If you want to send a personalized care package to a loved one in the armed forces, here is all the info you will need to provide:
- Recipient’s Unit
- Last & First Name
- DPO (Diplomatic Post Office)/ FPO (Fleet Post Office – Navy)/ APO (Army Post Office – Army/Air Force)
- Full Zip Code
- 2 Shipping Labels (One Should Go Inside the Box, In Case the Outside Label Becomes Damaged or Unreadable)
- Completed Customs Forms (Required Forms Vary by the Contents of Your Care Package & What Service You Use to Sent It)
Depending on your Military Loved One’s APO/FPO/DPO Zip Code, there are specific holiday shipping deadlines to ensure your package arrives by December 25th. You Can Find the Chart with Current (2019) Deadlines Here.
The USPS provides a free ‘Military Care Kit‘, which contains the following items:
- 2 APO/FPO Flat Rate Boxes
- 4 Medium Flat Rate Boxes
- Priority Mail Tape
- Address Labels
- Customs Forms
All you have to do is pay for shipping costs to get the care kit delivered to your door (in 5-7 business days). This greatly reduces the stress of figuring out post office guidelines and provides everything you need!
For Inspiration on what to include in your care package, check out our Veteran/Active Military Gift Guide.
General Care Packages Through Third Parties
If you don’t have a specific soldier in mind but would like to do something nice for our troops this holiday season, consider sending a care package through a third party organization, like Support Our Troops® . Their guidelines for sending care package contents are very simple, and would take less than a day to complete! Visit the Support Our Troops® website to find guidelines, where to send your package, and highly requested items.
If you aren’t able to send a care package this year, check out our post detailing 8 Unique Ways to Give Back to Veterans!