Sending out mail to the U.S
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Jan 15, 2013 7:51 PM Last Post By: markharf
Jan 13, 2013 12:47 AM
Sending out mail to the U.SI have searched around this site a bit but I haven't seen anything about how mail works in Central and South America. I am a little concerned with this because I have heard that in Mexico and possibly other countries, when one sends out a package to the US it is opened and things that could be of value are taken out of the packages then it is sent on its way. I have heard a few instances of packages being sent across borders and things are missing. I am hoping to travel for about 8 months, moving south from Mexico, and keeping my backpack as light as possible. I am hoping to send things back and forth (I send back things I don't need but I am sending things to a future destination so I will meet up with it at the post office) but I am reluctant to do so if there is a danger in that. If anyone has any information or experience with this please let me know. Is there any specific way of doing air mail so it moves through less countries faster? Thanks!
Jan 13, 2013 12:14 PM
1Mail here in El Salvador is slow & unreliable, 2-4 weeks for a letter & with luck 3out of 4 may be delivered, courier services such as DHL (FedEx sucks) are quick/reliable & about 1/2 the price f US/Canada but that's still expensive.
Jan 15, 2013 12:14 AM
2Excellent! Thank you! I am most likely going to ship out from Guatemala, Brazil, and Argentina (souvenirs, post cards, and stuff). I would probably ship from the US to Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, Brazil and Arg. So if anyone has feedback about their postal services, mail services and the like please let me know! This would really only be my most expensive part of the tour so prices and fees would be good too. Thanks again!
Jan 15, 2013 7:51 PM
3First of all, you should consider your sources of information highly suspect. Outgoing packages are rarely any problem at all.
As far as incoming packages, the basic point is that whatever you need along the way is also needed by local people, therefore available in-country. This means that the general rule is that sending stuff to yourself in advance is not worthwhile. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part it's expensive, unreliable, and unpredictable. You won't save much (or any), but you'll never know when your package will arrive, if it'll be intact, where to pick it up, how much you'll need to pay to have it released, or even whether it'll show up at all. I've spent enough time with people who are chasing around trying to get packages out of the aduanas to see this as the general rule. Most of them have been wishing they'd just paid local prices to purchase whatever they needed instead of trying to be so clever in advance.
The exception: when there's something very specific you need which is unavailable locally: say, a car part or an unusual piece of computer hardware. These things are expensive to ship and a pain in the butt to collect, but you might not have any choice. You don't really arrange this in advance, since if you knew you'd need the bit or piece you'd have carried it with you in the first place. But when it's necessary, you can either use DHL (and expect expense and a certain degree of frustration) or make arrangements with a local merchant who's got an airfreight connection in the States or (rarely) Europe. You can have stuff overnighted to Miami, then put on a plane to almost any Latin American capital city, where your new friend slips it through customs and into your hot little hands. Again, almost anything you need will be more easily and cheaply purchased locally.
Hope that's helpful.
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