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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am moving back to the US and searching for the best and cheapest way to mail 2-3 boxes of personal effects. My research has lead me to UPS being the cheapest, most reliable and one who will pick up the boxes to be delivered. Any other suggestions?

I also read that my boxes cannot arrive before I do. Does anyone know if that means they can't arrive in the US before I do, or at the address I am mailing them to? I am mailing them to my sister in Colorado, but plan to be in Oregon for over a month before I go to Colorado.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the reply Madliz. I did use Packlink which is what lead me to UPS. But then it lead to all kinds of questions, issues and confusions.

It seems they do not pick up international packages of personal effects and they can only be dropped off at Customer Centers which are too far away. Thought I could leave a box for a friend to send after I leave, but now not sure I can do that either. Apparently the boxes cannot arrive in the US before I do, which has lead to timing issues. It's been challenging to get answers. Perhaps I'm making this more difficult than it is, but so far it is feeling more challenging than when I shipped stuff from China.

Any advice is welcome.
 

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Have you considered shipping them as unaccompanied luggage or via one of many luggage shipping companies (who pick up)?
By the way, no service will come cheap, especially not from Spain. And you will have to pray it will arrive at all as it often gets stolen here.
Have you considered taking your important personal belongings with you by plane (much cheaper) and ditch anything that has no real personal value followed by buying new in the USA?
As to pick up at home by any courier service, it will cost you dearly in Spain.
Do not bother using packlink that was mentioned here. They are no courier service, merely an online booking service and oen of worst in Spain. Often oen doe snot get much if any tracking info from them.
MRW has a lot of offices in Spain, even in rural areas, and I believe they cooperate with Fedex.They also hAve special international rates like an ecopaq box up to 25kg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Paper detective thanks for your reply - though I think it just increased my stress! Haha.

Yes, I am ditching all I can. I am already taking a 2nd suitcase on my flight with all my most important stuff. The price of a 3rd is expensive & mailing is cheaper.

So who are these shipping companies that will pick up? I've tried to find something and it just leads back to UPS/DHL/MRW.

Do you know anything about this issue of me needing to be in the US before my boxes arrive? I can't seem to get an answer about whether or not I need to physically be in the state they are being sent to, or just physically in the US.

It was easier from China! Go figure.
 

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I send all sorts of things to various countries and label it 'clothes' or 'kitchen equipment' or whatever. It goes from Mrs X to Mr Y. There's no question of me being there to receive it as it's not going to me. Don't make it more complicated than necessary. Most of the companies on Packlink offer a door-to-door service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you, thank you Madliz!! That is what I needed - to be "talked down." A friend is likely going to be sending my things after I leave and in my effort to make it as simple and smooth as possible, it just got more complicated. The more questions I asked, the more barriers were put up. Got caught up in not wanting stuff to get stuck in customs.

If you have any tips or advice on how to fill out the invoice form I'd welcome it.

Back to the original plan I think.

Thanks again!
 

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Do you know anything about this issue of me needing to be in the US before my boxes arrive? I can't seem to get an answer about whether or not I need to physically be in the state they are being sent to, or just physically in the US.

It was easier from China! Go figure.
Years ago I sent a bunch of boxes from Belgium to my address in the USA and had to show up at customs to identify them. No cost involved. I suspect it was a security measure. Given how nutty TSA is nowadays it will be comparable.

As to being 'talked down', being told to lie is not a good idea, especially with US customs and TSA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Paperdetective - yeah, that is the kind of thing I am trying to avoid since i won't be in location of my boxes for awhile. And yes, TSA and customs are probably the nuttiest they have been in awhile.

What do you know about having someone else send my boxes after I'm gone? i was assuming I could get all the paperwork done online and send it or leave it. Then they could arrange a pick up later. Possible?

The "talk down" was still good as I've gotten to a standstill point and needed the reminder to breath and just do it. Whatever happens will happen.
 

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Years ago I sent a bunch of boxes from Belgium to my address in the USA and had to show up at customs to identify them. No cost involved. I suspect it was a security measure. Given how nutty TSA is nowadays it will be comparable.

As to being 'talked down', being told to lie is not a good idea, especially with US customs and TSA.
They're being sent to a relative's address - the relative can collect them

what's wrong with that?
 

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Others can ship your stuff. I used a broker to ship my boxes. Still, you need to collect yourself at the other end. Exact timing is not expected, but I'm sure you will need to pick it up rather soon upon arrival in your own interest or they start charging storage fees at the customs agent. Consider also entering your name as sender, so it is clear it is personal stuff. So you are sending something to yourself.
 

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Years ago I sent a bunch of boxes from Belgium to my address in the USA and had to show up at customs to identify them. No cost involved. I suspect it was a security measure. Given how nutty TSA is nowadays it will be comparable.

As to being 'talked down', being told to lie is not a good idea, especially with US customs and TSA.
I think you misunderstood. The advice was simply to label the boxes with whatever they contained.
 

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Others can ship your stuff. I used a broker to ship my boxes. Still, you need to collect yourself at the other end. Exact timing is not expected, but I'm sure you will need to pick it up rather soon upon arrival in your own interest or they start charging storage fees at the customs agent. Consider also entering your name as sender, so it is clear it is personal stuff. So you are sending something to yourself.
Why? He can send it to anyone and then collect it from them at a later date.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So paperdetective - are you saying that if I ship boxes from me (here in Spain) to my sister at her home address in the US, but say that the contents are personal effects - then I am the one who has to collect the box? UPS or DHL or whoever I use won't deliver it to my sister?
 

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So paperdetective - are you saying that if I ship boxes from me (here in Spain) to my sister at her home address in the US, but say that the contents are personal effects - then I am the one who has to collect the box? UPS or DHL or whoever I use won't deliver it to my sister?
Just label the boxes with whatever they contain.... clothes, household items, whatever
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Got my boxes mailed finally and turns out everyone weighing in on this issue was right – it depends on what you are sending and the circumstances. I ended up taking my boxes to Mail Boxes Etc. and got help understanding which forms I needed and filling them out. Mail Boxes works with both UPS and FedEx. I sent my FedEx and it was a lot cheaper than all the other quotes I had received

Since the boxes contained personal effects and because I am moving back to the US, I did have to fill out form CBP Form 3299. The contents were considered “unaccompanied baggage” from what I am taking with me on the plane. Form 3299 is saying that the contents will be duty free as long as they do not contain forbidden items. I also had to prove (via my flight info) when I was going to be arriving in the USA, but do not have to be at the receiving address when the boxes arrive. I did have to put both my name and the receivers name (my sister) as the “sender” in order for me not to physical have to be there when the boxes arrive. The boxes probably could have been picked up at my home, but I needed help with the paperwork and the online sites were confusing.

If I had just sent things home, but was not returning home, then Madliz was right – it would have been a more straight forward mailing of goods. I probably could have sent my things that way, but each box contained too wide a variety of stuff.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on the topic.
 
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