I plan on taking only one carry on bag with me when I travel to Europe, however, I know myself and won't be able to leave without some souvenirs. So, I'm wondering are they easy to ship home to the states?
We shipped things back twice during our 5 week trip. It was very easy, and Rick is pretty good about letting you know where the post offices are located in each city. If not you could always ask the TI. I also bought a cuckoo clock in Rothenburg and they shipped it for me.
Did it seem to cost you a lot?
If I remember correctly it was a little higher than I had expected, but it was worth it. I believe there were different options (in speed) just like we have here.
Good to know. Thanks
Another trick we do, is to take along a cloth duffel type bag. It rolls up in our carryon, as we buy small items, they go into the carry-on and dirty clothes or bulky items go in the duffel. Not really any more to carry, but it gives room for added items. Then on the way home, we check usually all but one carry-on.
Very easy to mail home. If it is an expensive item, I would advise you to use DHL, FedEx, etc.
I packed some large padded envelopes addressed to myself, they flat and are practically weightless. Twice I stuffed them with souvenirs and mailed them home via Italian Post. Cost about $15E each time and was well worth getting rid of the extra weight in my lugagge as I was traveling by train. The packages arrived home before I did!
Last year we shipped packages of souvenirs
home from Prague and Krakow. No problems
either time. You can ship by air or sea.
We did Krakow by sea and it was cheap but
took awhile to arrive, about 4-6 weeks.
The air package from Prague beat us home.
Okay, so how do you deal with the "customs" part of it? Aren't the packages inspected when they come through?
I left my large mailing envelopes open for the Italian post office clerk as I assumed they would want to inspect But he sealed them up without even looking inside, never asked me what I was sending, and there were no forms to fill out! I was surprised.
When shipping from Europe, as long as your items aren't expensive or fragile and requiring insurance, ship them "surface mail" or "by boat" to get the best shipping rates.
Also, when you are buying your items, you can ask yourself, is this worth the price I'm playing AND shipping? That way anything you end up getting will be something you truly want.
I don't know where you are traveling to, but I will tell you that when I went to France nearly 20 years ago, I regretted not buying some of the street painters landscapes of Paris. When my boss went a few years back, I had to ask him to get a few for me.
If you find yourself thinking about the same item over and over again during your trip and debating whether to purchase it, go for it. If you keep thinking about it, it probably is something you truly want to have as a memory of your trip.
I use the duffel bag trick, too. I take one carryon with the duffel inside it or my backpack. You can also buy a cheap duffel in Europe whenever you need it. I bought my duffel from a street vendor in Rome for 8 Euro. On the way home, I checked my regular bag (filled with laundry and 1 very well wrapped bottle of Lemoncello,) and used the duffel as a carryon (filled with camera, film, and precious souvenirs.)