As an expat, you may want to buy products that are not available in your country of residence. This could be anything from high-tech computer equipment to the comfort foods you ate in your youth. Unfortunately, many companies have difficulties shipping products internationally. Smaller companies often don’t have the expertise necessary to handle international shipments. This is more difficult if you live outside of the “developed” world, as many vendors simply refuse to ship products to the developing world due to concerns over fraud.
These difficulties have led to the creation of an entire industry. Offshore mail forwarding services exist to receive packages for you and then to forward those packages to you. Here is how these services work:
- The mail forwarding service maintains a warehouse in your home country and assigns you a box number in their warehouse.
- When you order something, you tell the vendor to ship it to your box number at the mail forwarding service.
- The mail forwarding service receives your package and ships it to you – wherever you are in the world.
Most mail forwarding services will bundle multiple packages together and ship them to you in one box. This can significantly reduce shipping costs. You can order goods from six different vendors and have the mail forwarding service aggregate your orders into one shipment.
The best mail forwarding services send detailed notifications when you receive shipments and allow you to specify how each shipment will be handled. You may, for example, want to rush one shipment via DHL Express even though you normally receive packages via FedEx Economy.
Here are the top offshore mail forwarding services in business today:
- International Checkout
- US Global Mail
- OPAS (Overseas Personal Address Service)