East Hawaii News

Postal Service Offers Suggested Holiday Mailing Guidelines

December 3, 2013, 3:46 PM HST
* Updated December 3, 4:00 PM
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The US Postal Service has issued its suggested mailing dates for giving letters, cards and packages from Hawaii the best chances of reaching their destinations by Christmas.

The earliest dates are Dec. 9 for first-class and priority mail to international destinations as well as military APOs and FPOs. For those using Priority Express Mail to those destinations, the suggested guideline is Dec. 19.

Mailings to the US mainland should be at the post office no later than Dec. 18, or Dec. 19 for the express service.

That date moves to Dec. 20 if the recipient is also in Hawaii.

The latest packages should be sent to Guam and Saipan is Dec. 13 for priority mail and Dec. 20 for express service. For American Samoa, mail at least a day earlier.

“Postal customers are asked to keep in mind that the above suggested mailing dates are not deadlines, implying that packages or letters will not arrive at their destinations if mailed after the listed dates,” spokesman Duke Gonzales said in a statement.

“In fact, if normal holiday conditions prevail, chances are good that letters and packages sent shortly after the suggested dates will still make it to their destinations before Christmas,” he said. “Ultimately, uncontrollable factors such as mailing volumes and weather determine whether deliveries can be made early or on time.”

The self-serve kiosk at Hilo's main post office located on the road to Hilo International Airport.

The self-serve kiosk at Hilo’s main post office located on the road to Hilo International Airport.

Self-serve postal kiosks which allow customers to purchase stamps, print and pay for postage and conduct other common transactions are available in the service lobbies of the Kailua-Kona post office and the main Hilo post office near the airport.

Other mailing tips offered by the Postal Service include:

  • The use of Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. Both the medium- and large-size boxes can weigh up to 70 pounds and cost $12.85 and $16.85, respectively, to send. Large flat-rate boxes can be sent to APO and FPO locations for $14.85.
  • Discounted postage rates of up to 15% are available online at USPS.com which also allows for the simultaneous printing of mailing labels. In addition, free pickup by your regular mail carrier of those packages can be arranged through usps.com/pickup.
  • All Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes now include day-specific delivery, improved tracking and free insurance.

The Postal Service expects to process and deliver approximately 15 billion pieces of mail and 420 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

With that in mind, remember that the busiest mailing day is expected to be Monday, Dec. 16.

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