The U.S. Postal Service is ready to deliver a lot of cheer — in the form of roughly 16 billion cards, letters and packages — this holiday season. The Postal Service, the largest e-commerce deliverer, is projecting about 750 million packages will be delivered this holiday season, a 12-percent increase in volume compared to last year.
USPS Tracking provides door-to-door tracking of packages, customers can give delivery instructions so the carrier knows where to leave the package if the customer isn’t home, the customer can receive text alerts on their phone and customers can text the tracking number to 2USPS (28777) to check on the status of a package.
While the Postal Service already delivers packages on Sunday in most major cities, following the success of past holiday seasons, it will expand Sunday delivery operations to all locations with high package volumes. More than five million packages are expected to be delivered each Sunday in December. Mail carriers will also deliver packages on Christmas Day in select locations.
Skip the lines and ship online or use Self-Service Kiosks
Consumers can avoid holiday hassles by visiting usps.com — the Postal Service’s website that will help make mailing and shipping easier. Take advantage of convenient online shipping this holiday season by using Click-N-Ship on usps.com. It allows customers to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup when the letter carrier delivers your mail.
Self-Service Kiosks, available at over 2,800 locations nationwide provide quick access for postal products and services just as ATMs provide for banking customers. There is no extra fee. Using credit and debit cards, the kiosk enables customers to weigh and mail letters and parcels as well as purchase stamps. It also dispenses postage in any amount for Priority Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class and Standard Post services. The kiosk provides mailing information such as ZIP Code lookup and accepts post office box renewals. Postal technology also delivers a Spanish-language option at USPS self-service kiosks. To find a kiosk near you, use the Find Locations tool at www.usps.com.
¯ Print addresses clearly and include all address elements, such as apartment numbers and directional information (ex: 123 S Main St. Apt. 2B)
¯ Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box. Customers should include the new batteries in the original packaging.
¯ Place a card inside the package that contains the delivery and return address. This ensures the package can be delivered or returned should the mailing label become damaged or fall off.
¯ Never guess a ZIP Code. NO ZIP is better than a WRONG ZIP. Look up a ZIP Code at usps.com under Quick Tools.
¯ Include both “to” and “from” information on packages – and only on one side.
¯ Do NOT reuse mailing boxes – they weaken in the shipping process.
¯ Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Priority Mail and Priority Express boxes are free at the local post office.
¯ Leave space for cushioning inside.
¯ Stuff glass and fragile, hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.
Busiest Mailing and Delivery Days
The Postal Service predicts that Monday, December 19, will be the busiest mailing and shipping day for holiday packages, letters and cards. The busiest mailing day also is expected to be the Postal Service’s busiest day online with more than 7 million customers predicted to visitusps.com.
Thursday, December 22, is expected to be the busiest delivery day for holiday packages, cards and letters. The Postal Service anticipates that more than 30 million packages will be delivered on that delivery day alone.
TEN WAYS TO PROTECT MAIL & PACKAGES
1. Avoid sending cash by mail.
Checks and money orders are safer than cash and may be cancelled or reissued in the event of theft.
2. Don’t leave delivered mail and packages unattended.
Just as wallets and purses shouldn’t be left on the front seat of an unlocked car overnight, mail and packages shouldn’t be left uncollected in mailboxes or front porches for any length of time.
3. Consider an alternate shipping address.
Customers can arrange to have packages delivered to neighbors who are home during the day or get packages delivered at work, if permitted.
4. Change the package’s address—while it’s in transit!
Customers who know they won’t be home when their package is delivered can try USPS Package Intercept. Prior to delivery, most domestic package shipments can be redirected back to the sender, to a new address or to the Post Office to be held for pickup.
5. Customize the delivery.
If the package doesn’t fit in the mail box and the customer won’t be home to receive it, they can provide delivery instructions online and authorize their carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit usps.com, enter tracking number and select Delivery Instructions. Customers can also request the package be left with a neighbor or held at a Post Office for pickup.
6. Plan ahead. Ship using Hold for Pickup.
When shipping packages, customers can choose the Hold for Pickup option and the recipient can collect the package at their local post office. For customers receiving packages, they can redirect incoming packages to their local Post Office by selecting Hold for Pickup using USPS Package Intercept.
7. Going out of town? Hold mail at the local Post Office.
Instead of risking leaving a package unattended for an extended period of time, customers planning on being away from home for a few days are encouraged to take advantage of the Request Hold Mail service. Letters and packages will be held securely at the local Post Office until they return.
8. Secure the shipment using USPS Signature Services.
Signature Services help ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery.
9. Choose the most secure form of delivery.
For the most valuable packages, customers can opt for Registered Mail service. Registered Mail receives special-handling from the time it’s mailed until it’s delivered, documenting the chain of custody.
10. PO Boxes might be the answer.
Customers concerned about the security of their mail can consider renting a Post Office Box at their local Post Office. The mail remains secure within the Post Office, accessible only when using the right key or combination. Many Post Office lobbies are open 24/7, allowing customers to retrieve mail on their schedule.