We recently returned from Italy but forgot something in our hotel room and need to have it shipped back. What is the best way and most economical way to have it returned to us in US? Thanks!
It is likely that the shipping cost through the Italian post office will be cheaper than using UPS or FedEx or a European equivalent. However, I do not know how reliable the Italian postal system is these days. Decades ago, I would have told you not to trust it, but the situation may well have changed. I've sent and received postcards from Italy within the last 3 years, and all have arrived safely (previously, even postcards were iffy).
You can probably get shipping-cost estimates online from UPS and FedEx. You'll need to estimate the shipping weight. If the article has enough value to be worried about, pay attention to whether you'll have any insurance coverage.
Of course, your hotel may very reasonably add a service fee of some sort, and it may insist on using a high-priced option (where a box and packing material will be provided) so that its personnel don't have to scour the city for a suitable container.
You'll probably be shocked at how much the mailing costs, so if the item doesn't have significant sentimental or intrinsic value, I'd consider letting it stay in Italy.
Italian mail service, while very s l o w , is inexpensive. If you don't need the item for 2 months, this is your answer.
This just happened to us last September, when a jacket got a longer vacation than we did. The hotel probably first checked FedEx or DHL because they said it might cost 50 euros. But then they checked with the post office, which was 15 euros, and that's what they used. It did take a couple of weeks or so but it arrived safe and sound. And while we had said all along that we would reimburse them for their efforts, the hotel very graciously refused our offer. If FedEx, etc., was the only way, they might have felt differently.
If you were on a Rick Steves trip, you should look at the Travel Guard policy that came along with the trip, since they can help with things like this.
I'm amazed that it cost so little to ship that jacket! That's wonderful. I remember paying over 2 euros just to mail a postcard. Perhaps someone (it wasn't the post office) sold me stamps for some sort of super-duper service I didn't need.
acraven, €1-2 euro is pretty normal, I think.
The Italian mail service is fine. Bob overstated time a bit. Last year we purchased a large piece of art work and the studio shipped it for us. Surprised when they said they were using the Italian post. It arrived in two weeks in great shape.
Thank you for your replies. Checked with Fex EX and DHL from my end and was over $100! Our hotel found a shipper that works with DHL from their end was able to get it back for $40 and it was here in two days.
Sounds like a good deal to me.