Ordering from US Stores While Overseas
Living overseas can be difficult for a number of reasons, but it only makes it worse if you can’t order the things you’re used to buying in the US. Since private carriers like UPS and FedEx cannot deliver to APO addresses (or to FPO orDPO addresses), stores that ship exclusively with these carriers cannot ship to an APO/FPO address.
This is a problem that affects more online stores than you might think. Even the mega-retailer Amazon.com does not ship many of its products to APO/FPO addresses.
Furthermore, the USPS will only ship to an APO address if the package is sent in person (rather than picked up). For this reasonm, many companies won’t ship to APO addresses, even if they use USPS as a carrier.
However, there is a way you can order from US stores and get your purchases delivered to your APO address, even if the stores will not ship directly.
How to Ship to an APO/FPO Address from any US Store
If you have a package forwarding account, you can buy from any US store using the forwarding company’s US street address. Even if a store only ships via UPS, you can simply have the forwarding company re-ship it to you via USPS.
To order from a US store using a package forwarding company, just sign up for a package forwarding address, use that address to order from stores, then ship your packages from the forwarding company to your APO address. You can even combine orders from multiple stores into one shipment to save on shipping costs.
Tips for Shipping to an APO Address Using Package Forwarding
Here are five tips to make sure you get what you want when shipping to an APO address using a package forwarding account:
- Check the Size/Weight Limits. Most APO zip codes have a limit of 70lbs or 130 inches combined length/girth. (I.e. a package that measures 100 inches long and 35 inches around cannot be shipped.)
- Check the product restrictions for your zip code. Items like firearms, alcohol, and perishable foods cannot be shipped to most APO zip codes. Each zip code has it’s own regulations, so be sure to check them before making a purchase.
- Know how long it will take to arrive. Priority mail might cost a bit more, but the shipping time will be dramatically faster. Priority mail is sent by plane, and usually takes a week to ten days. Surface mail is sent by ship, and can take up to eight weeks.
Keeping the above in mind when you order from US stores will make sure there aren’t any problems getting your packages to your APO/FPO address. And using a package forwarding company to ship from US stores to your APO/FPO address will make living overseas a little more comfortable.