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Shipping Regular Mail from Spain - a Very Bad Idea!

Has anyone had similar experience from Seville? -- Shipped 3 boxes from Sevilla. Bought some lovely sherry vineger from El Corte Ingles, Sevilla, that came in an extremely heavy duty cylinder. It would be nigh near impossible to break it within a shipping box with other packing items. It came up missing in the box, while honey and jam in glass jars (no protection like the sherry) did not. US Postmaster had a "so sorry, s--t happens" breakage notice in the box. (No broken chards by the way but someone else's Claudia Schiffer CD enclosed.) A bottle opener with a bull handle, and believe it or not, one of my short boots (which had a flea market figurine packed in it) was missing too, so I am left with the left shoe only. In another box, there were also missing items like a ceramic bull, olive oil in a tin, more sherry vinegar, and a pompom key chain. Again, the same notice from the US Postmaster about breakage. The third box??? Who knows. Two months later and STILL not here - we shall see what happens there. Each box cost about 50 Euros to send, and items lost totaled about 100 Euros not counting the boot. On a side note, shipped a box from Granada which came in exactly the length of time the staffer said, "Doce dias - mas o menos." Go figure.
Since U.S. customs allows $800 in without duty and lines moved quickly, even at JFK, I would heartily suggest, buying a suitcase there and paying the luggage charge. It would cost a lot less, things will not "mysteriously" disappear and you would have the suitcase with you

Posted by
2916 posts

We once mailed a box from France with 3 bottles of walnut oil, to avoid having any liquids on the way home. The oils arrived fine, but the cost was rather absurd. Now we just put anything we buy in checked luggage. And I'm shocked at the number of items that were lost in your boxes. I can't believe that everything was broken.

Posted by
2169 posts

I have yet to be truly tempted to mail anything home from my travels, and I do like to shop--especially at flea markets. Fortunately the types of things I like to bring home are small and can be fitted into my carry-on, sometimes in my checked bag. I bring bubble wrap and also use my clothes for cushioning.

Posted by
19492 posts

What you're describing sounds like the boxes themselves were not sturdy enough for the heavy contents. I think the boxes tore open, perhaps during automated handling, and the contents got separated from them. The USPS workers tried to get things back into the right boxes, but they were not totally successful.

I completely agree that it is usually better to pay for an extra suitcase on your flight home (or you could use a sturdy box or hard-sided cooler) than mail things home. It can take precious vacation time to find suitable boxes and sturdy tape, or you'll pay a pretty penny to have a company like UPS do the packaging for you. And the shipping fees for anything remotely heavy will eat you alive.

I also recommend that anyone thinking about a specific purchase of a commercial product (kitchen gear, porcelain figurines, etc.) research the US price ahead of time and consider whether it's a good use of vacation time to go in search of the item and deal with getting it home.