Don's Life In Thailand (Chiang Mai)
|Mail Forwarding Service
US & UK Address
Personally, I have never used a Forwarding Service. I send the items to my sister in
Hawaii and she send them to me.
A friend of mine said he's used Escapees Mail Forwarding Service and he's very
happy with them. The forwarding service you use depends on what your needs are.
To select which one is right for you click on the link below "How to choose the best
international package forwarding company", then you can check out the various
companies to select the right one for you.
Here's an email I received from an Expat who used a forwarding service:
Good info. I've used Shipito to consolidate and forward packages for the last 3 years. It's expensive as heck to
forward merchandise to Thailand, but Shipito does a good job, and sometimes there are things I want that I
can't find locally or get any other way.
They have warehouses in California, Oregon and Washington I believe. The advantage of the Oregon location
is that there is no sales tax in Oregon, so you can shop on Amazon and send the packages to the Oregon
location with no additional tax. The advantage of Nevada is that they give you more storage space for free
before you start incurring additional storage charges if you store a lot of packages before consolidating.
Oregon works for me and I've never incurred a storage charge.
The Shipito website is pretty easy to navigate. If you pay for the $50 annual membership, they will consolidate
packages for you, which can save a lot of money (I think the regular membership is just one package in, one
package out). They give you 3 options for consolidation: A) keep everything in the box it came in and just put
all of those boxes into a bigger box; B) remove the shipping box but keep any manufacturer packaging; c)
remove all packaging -- boxes, plastic, cloth, whatever - and ship the items loose as is. That's chosen by
individual package, so you could choose option B and keep the manufacturers plastic protection for one box,
then choose option C for another package, say some shoes, and toss the shoe box as well as the mailing box
and just ship the loose shoes.
They will take a photo of the contents of each box before consolidating it and also a picture of the final
consolidated box. For $5 you can make other special requests. You fill out a customs form online for each
individual box before consolidation in which you declare the contents and value of each item. The last step is
that they give you a list of shipping options. DHL Express is always the cheapest to Thailand of any of the fast
2-5 day couriers. For me my consolidated shipments usually cost from $65-$150 to ship. And then of course
the Thais charge duty/VAT on the freight as well as the merchandise, so the freight and duty can end up
costing as much or more than the merchandise. My standard rule of thumb is to double the price you would
pay if you were just buying the item online and shipping to your US address. Sometimes it's more than double.
I've never used any of the other services, so I can't make a recommendation about which is best, but I can say
taht Shipito does a good job if you're willing to pay the price. It can be a nice quality of life addition to get
things from home, but it's probably not for someone on a tight budget.
Shipito will also receive mail for you if you set up the account to do that, but that's not their specialty and I
wouldn't recommend them for that. Other services that are dedicated to receiving and scanning mail handle
that task better. I've used Mailboxforwarding and also My Smart Mailbox for regular mail and fax reception and
that has also worked well.
If you're looking for a mail service, as opposed to a package service, one thing to keep in mind when choosing
the service is the state the service is located in. Mailboxforwarding was in Michigan which created problems for
my pension check because Michigan is one of the few states that requires state tax withholding on pension
income. For an extra $10 a month you could get an address in Florida (no income tax), but it's usually better to
choose a service whose home office is in a no-income tax state. The others rent a mailbox in the other state
and have the mail forwarded to the home office for scanning, which adds 3-7 days of delay in receiving your
Another problem for any of these services is that you'll have to fill out a Form 1583 to authorize them to be
your agent for receipt of US mail. That has to be notarized, which for us Chang Mai expats means a trip to the
consulate and the $50 fee. It pays to set up these services while you're in the US if you can.