Traveling in China is an experience you will not soon forget. Of course, it's always encouraged to load up on souvenirs to help keep the memories of what you have experienced alive. But what do you do when your eye for a bargain is bigger than your luggage allows? This article will help you decide how to transfer all of your China memories back home in the easiest and most cost efficient way possible.
Sending Excess Baggage through your Airline
Typically, most international airlines have a 50 lb weight limit(23 kg for economy class) for checked baggage.
Travelers should invest in a mini scale or see if your hotel offers a weighing service to make sure you are within the limits. If you find that your luggage is over the limits set by your airline there is the option of checking multiple bags.
If you plan to check a second (or more) bag you can expect to pay a fee of anywhere from $35 to upwards of $100 USD depending on your flight class, the airline and other factors.
For example, excess baggage charges are generally 1.5% of the fare per kg for economy class. You also run the risk of delicate items being broken during airline transfer.
While there are ways to insure and protect your luggage, some items may be irreplaceable. If you think that excess baggage might be a problem for you when returning home it is a good idea to read up on so basic pointers to help plan your strategy.
We also encourage travelers to become familiar with China's customs regulations in order to avoid any unfortunate mishaps at the airport.
Shipping Your Big Buys Home
There are several ways you can ship excess baggage home. While these options may be costly, they are often touted as the safest and most reliable way to transfer your important items.
For travelers who have already invested in the items they wish to transport, Chinese antiques for example, the extra cost is worth the security of letting the professionals handle it. The most popular means of shipping from China are as follows:
China Post Mail
China Post Mail is considered to be the most cost efficient and streamlined means of shipping.
China Post is the official postal service of China. Just like the USPS, they ship both domestically and internationally. You will want to explore their website in order to learn the regulations and costs that apply to your unique situation. They provide shipping via air and surface methods.
Air is the fastest and typically takes 7 to 15 working days depending on the final destination and size. Surface is a cheaper and somewhat slower option. For international shipments this means your parcel will be transported by sea and could take anywhere from 40 to 70 working days to arrive.
China Post Packages qualify as either a small parcel or large package. A small parcel is suitable for shipments weighing less that 4.4 lb (2 kg). While a large parcel can weigh up to 66 lb (30 kg).
- EXAMPLE SHIPMENT: Sending a 2 kg small parcel to the U.S. by air will cost you 180.5 CNY with China Post. This is based on their system which charges 5 CNY for the first 50 grams and .09 CNY for every gram afterwards.
EUB (You Bao / ePacket)
EUB is commonly used by merchants of online stores such as Ebay to ship their items to the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Items shipped through EUB are generally smaller in size due to their strict limitations. EUB parcels must weigh less that 4.4 lb (2 kg) and have a total length, width, and heigh of less than 35 in. Items typically arrive in 7–10 working days depending on the final destination. Items shipped through EUB are able to be tracked throughout the delivery process via the next company we will discuss, EMS.
- EXAMPLE SHIPMENT: Sending a 2 kg parcel from a 1st tier Chinese city to the U.S. will cost you 167 CNY with EUB. This is based on their system which charges 11.8 CNY for the first 60 grams and .08 CNY for every gram afterwards.
The Express Mail Service (EMS) is service operated by post offices on a global scale, including the above mentioned China Post. EMS guarantees delivery of items shipped from China within only 7 days. Understandably, this type of express service comes at a price. You can expect to pay extra and be limited to a parcel weighing under 88 lb (40 kg).
- EXAMPLE SHIPMENT: Sending a 2 kg parcel from China to the U.S. will cost you 630 CNY with EMS. This is based on their system which charges 240 CNY for the first 500 grams and 75 CNY for every additional 500 grams.
While the options mentioned above are typically the most popular, many other shipment companies operate within China and can help with your international shipping needs. Popular choices include UPS, Federal Express, and DHL plus many more less well known companies.
- Include an international and domestic phone number with your shipment to ensure any lost items can be returned to you.
- Consider the Chinese calendar of holidays before shipping. Items shipped in and around the Spring Festival time for example, will certainly take longer than normal to arrive.
- Plan ahead. When you are shopping in China make sure you are considering the amount of effort and money it will take to get your items home safely.
- If the item you are bringing home is small and delicate, consider bringing it with you as a carry-on item. Tea sets, small figurines, etc. can all be easy carried in a personal bag to avoid rough handling and extra shipping costs.
Planning Your Visit to China
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