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Shipping Christmas Market purchases home

We'll be in Vienna in early December and will likely go nuts buying stuff at the Christmas markets. Is there a way to ship them home, such as UPS, so we don't have to cram them in already-full suitcases?


Posted by
7388 posts

The cheapest, easiest way would be to bring an empty bag and pay the extra baggage fee for the airline.

If you have fragile stuff put it in your carry on and all the dirty clothes etc., go in the checked bags.

Posted by
522 posts

We go every other year and we always take an empty duffle to bring home our purchases. On 3 occasions, we did have to ship them home - they don't have UPS, you have to go to the Post Office and ship it DHL International Shipping- you have to buy a box and fill out a form and buy tape - it's all in German and always complicated and we usually have to get help. It usually takes about a month before our box gets to our house. It's best to pack an empty duffle in your suitcase and use that as your CarryOn on the return trip back. You can also have a Personal Item under the seat in front of you (with the CarryOn Duffle in the OverHead bin). We check our luggage. If you plan to ship it at the PostOffice, just plan about one hour to get everything done at the PostOffice - it's not an easy process and it's not cheap, but we certainly have done it a few times. We use our dirty clothes to pack/cushion the items in and ship dirty clothes home too.

Posted by
2855 posts

I always pack a lightweight foldable bag that can be expanded to hold most of my dirty clothes on the way home and carry on my purchases in my sturdier carryon.

I’ve also been know to pack my 21” packed carryon IN a 24” empty suitcase if I know I’m bringing home voluminous things. I pay ahead of time to check bags if they aren’t included in my airfare. Usually we get at least one free bag checked with an international flight and/or the airline related cc we use.

Posted by
1176 posts

Check with your vendors; they are eager to help you buy more and to help arrange shipment for you.

Posted by
2483 posts

A friend and I did the following at our first Christmas market-inspired trip (Nuremberg):

  • I packed my hard-sided carry on in a hard-sided checked bag. I checked that bag through on the outbound flight. On the return flight, I carried on the carry on, and I checked the checked bag stuffed with goodies wrapped in dirty clothes.
  • My friend packed what we affectionately called "the body bag" in her carry on, and we stuffed it with dirty clothes and non-breakable stuff for the return flight.

For future trips, we became more selective regarding what we purchased. 🙂

Posted by
21156 posts

When we visit Christmas market we tend to buy through establish vendors who will ship it for you. The big advantage is that when the vendor ships, they can deduct the VAT and that often comes close to covering the cost of shipping especially if you have high priced, small items. The hang up can occur when it hits the states and US custom office will hold up the shipments because the paperworld and/or fees (duty) is not accurate. I would not trust myself to do it correctly.

Posted by
545 posts

When we were staying in Vienna 2 years ago we were right around the corner from a post office.....we luckily found an English-speaking clerk that told us to purchase a box....we took it back to our hotel, filled it with souvenirs wrapped in dirty clothes and mailed it arrived 2-3 weeks after we got home. We have also taken an empty folding bag with us on our way over......filled it with our dirty clothes and loaded our hard-case luggage with our goodies.....the hard-case luggage is checked through to our home destination and we carry the folding bag filled with mashable dirty clothes onto them plane with us fits in overhead bins easily and under the seat in front of you. We have found this to be a great way to get our goodies home!

Posted by
77 posts

Another vote for the above-mentioned plan of bringing an extra bag or buying one there, then filling that with your purchases and using dirty clothes to wrap any fragile items. That's worked well for us and we find the $50 or so extra checked bag fee to be worth the joy of bringing home cherished new home decorations, Scottish whiskey, etc. from the last few trips.

Posted by
451 posts

We tend to do alot of shopping on our trips. I’ve packed a carry on within a larger hard sided checked bag before. I always bring a packable duffle bag also. Any fragile souvenirs get packed in my carry on and brought on the plane. Vendors are really good about bubble wrapping fragile items. Our last trip was during Christmas markets in 2019 and I brought a small roll of bubble wrap with me just in case. Clothes go in the checked bag.

Many vendors will happily ship items. They should have all the forms. All you need to do is fill in your address.