5 Common International Shipping Mistakes You Might Be Making

5 Common International Shipping Mistakes You Might Be MakingInternational shipping may not be rocket science, but it does have a few intricacies to be aware of. Even a simple, seemingly insignificant mistake you make when shipping a package may result in the shipment being held by customs or getting lost in transit. Here are 5 common international shipping mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1. Choosing the Cheapest Rate

International shipping can be quite costly, so the desire to choose the most affordable rate is understandable. However, it is important to find the right balance between shipping rates, delivery time, and the quality of service.

They say “Buy cheap, buy twice” for a reason. The cheapest service available usually takes quite a lot of time to get delivered and might not include tracking and insurance coverage. So it is better to pay a little more and get your package delivered without a hitch than to pay the cheapest rate and have your shipment lost during transit.

Mistake #2. Not Insuring Your Package

Most postal and shipping companies provide automatic insurance, unless you choose the cheapest service. However, the maximum liability is usually $50 or $100, depending on the carrier and shipping service. This is definitely not enough when you ship expensive items. You can purchase additional insurance coverage from the postal or courier company or from a third-party insurer.

When purchasing insurance, keep in mind that the declared value of your package must be the same as its actual value, i. e. the cost of purchase of the item or items in the package. It is important not only for insurance coverage, but also for your package to get cleared by customs.

Some senders deliberately declare an incorrect value in the customs declaration to avoid paying customs duties and taxes. Undervaluing your package not only means that you won’t be reimbursed for its full cost should it be damaged, lost or stolen; it is also unlawful and might result in a fraud investigation.

Mistake #3. Ignoring International Shipping Regulations

There are many requirements and regulations for cross-border delivery. Some are established by the Universal Postal Union, and some vary from one country to another. There are a lot of things you need to be aware when shipping overseas: lists of restricted and prohibited items, documentation requirements, customs regulations, trade laws, etc.

If you don’t look up the international shipping rules and regulations of the destination country, you can lose a lot of money when your package gets seized by its customs agency or is returned to the sender. Some countries have very specific shipping restrictions in addition to international lists of prohibited items, so you shouldn’t rely on guessing.

Mistake #4. Not Paying Enough Attention to Packaging

Incorrect packaging is the most common cause of damage in transit. To protect items inside your package against shakes and falls, you should use an appropriately sized and sturdy enough box, properly arrange the items inside the box, and make sure to fill the box with adequate cushioning materials. Here’s a packaging guide that will help you avoid the most common packaging mistakes.

Mistake #5. Errors in the Shipping Label

If you’re printing shipping labels yourself, it is important to prevent any errors, otherwise your package might not get to its destination. When filling out the international shipping label template online, make sure to provide correct information about the recipient, sender’s contact information, description, weight and value of the items, etc.

You also need to attach the label to the package correctly; it should be affixed securely, and the barcode on the shipping label should be visible and easy to scan.