October 22nd, 2016


pigeon post records

This posts is to help with international shipping in general, useful for but not limited to secret santa exhanges. If you have questions about secret santa gift exchange specifically, try our FAQ.

The wisdom of this post is built on communal experience, and I encourage you to keep on contributing. I will keep the main body of this post updated as you add your comments, to the benefit of all interested parties.

Last updated October 2019.


  • No liquids or perishables that aren’t pre-packed.

  • Just to be safe, look up the list of stuff that can’t be shipped to your destination country: those are usually posted by government postal services or customs agencies (at times in contradiction to each other, but should give you a general idea of dos and don'ts ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

  • I heard some countries get really iffy about what they let leave their border, so it might be worth checking with them in advance. For instance, Bulgaria doesn't allow magnets to be shipped anywhere.

  • On average, international mail arrives anywhere between 10 to 30 days. In high season, sending a month in advance of the date you want the sender to receive your package would be the safest bet. For example, if you’re sending to Russia mid-December, the delivery will likely not happen before mid-January, as the first ten days of January are public holidays in Russia.

  • I would suggest including the recipient’s phone number on the address, if the recipient is okay with sharing that info. Many postal services can keep the adressee informed about the upcoming delivery via text.

  • If it doesn’t offend your aesthetic sensibilities too much, try wrapping the stuff that can get damaged by water in some plastic wrapping. (The dodginess of my CP3’s cover is only rivalled by what’s beneath it, which is, ok, fair, but better books should be spared that treatment.) And naturally, bubble wrap or otherwise cushion fragile or free-rolling items, if you can. The tighter everything lies together in the package, the less damage it takes.

Destination specifics by country are under the cut.
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