The different service options for international parcels

There are a variety of different services to choose from when looking at international parcel delivery options, allowing you to choose something that suits your needs, from budget to speed. Most parcel services have both a premium and budget service available, to allow them to cater for everyone. And obviously the destination will have some impact on the transit time, as well as cost.

Express services are for urgent parcels, and can delivery your package the next working day if the destination is Europe, Canada or the United States. South America, Asia, and the Middle East to India will usually take two working days, and Africa to Oceania (including Australia) will typically take between two to four working days. International parcel delivery services are the most expensive, designed for when something absolutely must get to its destination as quickly as possible. Tracking and delivery confirmation is usually included in the price, unlike with some cheaper services.

Priority services are a balance between cost and speed, and can take around three working days for delivery in Europe and to major worldwide destinations. Tracking and named confirmation of delivery is available from most parcel companies offering this service. Due to the longer transit period, this is a cheaper service than the express but is still faster than economy services.

Even the economy services can be broken down in to cheap and cheaper. The generic economy service offered will take around four to five working days for your parcel to be delivered anywhere in the world, depending on the destination, Asia may take up to six. The cheapest international parcel delivery services can take up to 28 days for your parcel to reach its destination (although Europe is generally not included in this service due to its close proximity). Tracking, named confirmation of delivery and insurance is generally not available on any economy service except through a few parcel companies. Some services do include insurance against loss or damage up to around £100 included in the price, but always check the small print to be sure and purchase additional insurance if needed. If tracking or delivery confirmation is important to you then you’ll need to go with a more expensive international parcel delivery service.

Whilst these transit times are to be used as guidelines only, it’s worth remembering that parcel companies can’t guarantee delivery within a specific period of time due to a number of factors. The most common reason is that customs can hold your parcel for inspection during the clearance process, resulting in a delay. Failing to complete your Air Waybill correctly, or providing an incomplete or inaccurate delivery address can also create delays. And any customs duties or tax payable on your parcel will result in your parcel being held until the money has been received.

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