East Hawaii News

USPS Preps Ahead of Holiday Rush

December 1, 2015, 12:24 PM HST
* Updated December 1, 3:16 PM
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It’s Dec. 1, which means Christmas is a little more than three weeks away, and packaging planning should be well underway.

The United States Postal Service released holiday shipping dates, information about self-service options, and mailing tips on Tuesday to help residents of the Big Island and across the state prepare for holiday shipping.

Across the country, USPS expects to process and deliver about 15.5 billion pieces of mail and 600 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, an increase by 10 percent form 2014.

While First Class & Priority Mailing to Military APOs & FPOs, along with suggested international mailing dates, have a close deadline (Dec. 7) to arrive in time for Christmas, mail within Hawai’i and the United States mainland have until the late-teens of December to get packages, letters, and cards off to their destinations.

USPS released the following schedule:

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These dates are the USPS suggested send dates for arrival by Christmas and each date applies to mail received by each Post Office’s specific, but normal, cutoff deadline.

The dates listed are not deadlines, according to the USPS, but rather suggestions for sending times should mailing volumes and weather impact deliveries.

File photo.

Self Service Ship & Mail Center. File photo.

Hawai’i Post Offices are not extending hours of operation for the 2015 holiday season, but instead are raising awareness about the 24-hour self-service kiosks and online payment and pickup options that the postal service offers.

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On the Big Island, USPS customers can use the Self Service Ship & Mail Centers located at the Hilo Main Post Office and at the Kailua-Kona Post Office. The kiosks offer customers the ability to purchase stamps, print and pay for postage for packages, and conduct other common transactions.

USPS offers customers the following time and money saving mailing tips:

  • Save money with flat rate boxes. Customers can send up to 70 pounds in Medium Flat Rate Boxes to domestic locations for $12.65. Large Flat Rate Box hold 50 percent more and have the same 70-pound limit for $17.90, and features the tagline “Seasons Greetings from Hawaii” printed on its side. Those sending packages to military troops overseas can ship via a military Large Flat Rate Box to most APO and FPO locations for $15.90.
  • Use USPS.com. Pay for your postage and print out your mailing label at USPS.com. After printing out the mailing labels for your packages at USPS.com, notify USPS at online that they’re ready to be picked up. Your carrier will be alerted and will pick up your packages from your home or office, usually the next business day. There is no extra charge for this service. You can also drop off your prepaid packages at a Post Office without waiting in line.
  • Free insurance. All Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes now include day-specific delivery, improved tracking and free insurance.
  • Free packaging. Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes, including special “Seasons Greetings From Hawaii” large Flat Rate boxes, are available for free at your local Post Office.

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