How to Send Your Expat a Package

So I know there are folks out there who want to send your expat a little somethin’ somethin’ from home. Whether it’s to your expat in Germany, Peru, China, Thailand, wherever.  It is possible and it’s not a terrifying ordeal.


My mom sent me a care package a while back.  We had our concerns because German customs is a huge pain. In the US, the US Department of Agriculture will open your package, take out illegal goodies, close it, and send it on….even if they have taken everything out.

My cousin was getting care packages from his mom in Spain.  Despite our warnings, she decided to send a whole box of Spanish meats and cheeses.  All that arrived was an empty box.

First rule: don’t send meat and cheese.  Or live plants.  Or live animals. But there are still plenty of things to send.

Second rule: do your research.  Look up the US Postal Service website for pricing of different size packages.  I recommend not sending something big.  It keeps your price low and also helps your chances of your package getting through customs.

Now for the fun part: navigating through the customs sheet. What do you write? Do you be flat out honest? Or do you lie and hope for the best? What happens if it does get held up in Customs?

Well, you do have to write something down and you can’t just write down “Gift.”

In fact, where I have found most of my expat info for anything pertaining to being an expat in Germany is on this site called Toytown Germany.  One user’s answer (Holzhaus) to the package question has been the most helpful:

Toytown Germany

FYI, Toytown is not the only place for expat info: Expat Blog and Internations are also great places to get info on navigating Germany as a non-German.

Anyway, Mom used a lot of this info in sending my care package, including the personal note to me on top. Overall, it has actually been a simple ordeal with promises of repetition.  Just remember to keep it small and simple.  Your expat appreciates the thought but no need to break the bank in sending a half a grocery store.

Now that this post is out there….Abner is sitting patiently by the mailboxes, waiting for your packages 😉

Bis Mittwoch!


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