Guidelines: Mailing & Packaging

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Mailing & Packaging Guidelines for Swappers

Check to see if your host has any special requests or guidelines in the swap description for packaging and mailing your swap. Be sure to follow those requests. If the host does not have any special requirements, the below suggestions are a good guide to follow to ensure that your swap will arrive on time and in good condition. The host may even ask that you refer to this guide to package and mail your swap.

Packaging: Place your swap items in a plastic zip-lock baggie to protect them from weather damage. Either write your name and board name on the baggie using permanent marker or place a piece of paper with this information inside the baggie.

Return Postage: Include your return postage in a separate small baggie with your name and board name. Please do not put your return postage loose in the envelope as it is very easy to misplace and the host may have no idea who it belongs to. You should send the same amount of postage that it took you to mail the swap plus two or three additional first class stamps as the weight of the return envelope may differ from yours. It is suggested that you do not attach stamps to the return envelope as it may also be lighter than your original mailing. This way the host can use only the amount of postage needed. All unused postage will be returned to you. Do not send your host DATED meter strips as your return postage. Dated meter strips are only good on the date they are purchased, so your host will not be able to use it for your return postage. Meter strips that are valid postage with no date are OK to use. Only send cash for postage if you have cleared this first with your host.

If you are an international swapper, make arrangements with your host about how to handle postage. Most hosts will accept U.S. currency or payment by PayPal if you are unable to send U.S. postage stamps as your return postage.

Return Envelope & Re-using Envelopes: Include a self-addressed envelope large enough to hold the return trip for your swap. Remember that other swappers may add more embellishments to their swap making the return trip thicker and heavier than what you sent to your host. Re-using your envelope: Some hosts will be happy to use the envelope you sent your swap in as your return swap envelope. Check to make sure your host will do this before you send your swap if you are wanting to reuse your envelope. Make sure the flap of your envelope is marked clearly with "Re-Use Envie (envelope)" so the host knows that they are reusing the envelope. Make sure you enclose a self addressed label for the host to attach to the envelope for the return trip. Most importantly, make sure your envelope is in good condition if you are wanting the host to reuse it. Do not put an abundance of tape on it making it impossible for the host to open the envelope without causing considerable damage to it. Taping the flap down with one nice piece of packaging tape will allow the host to slide a knife underneath the flap to cut the tape to open it.

Mailing Your Swap: Mail your swap in a sturdy envelope. Bubble envelopes are best because they protect the items. If you cannot use a bubble envelope, wrap the baggie with your swap items in bubble wrap or a few pieces of tissue, etc. to help protect it.

Ensure that your swap package has adequate postage. If you do not have access to a postage scale, take the package to the Post Office for weighing. Remember that postage is calculated not only by weight and size of envelope, but also by thickness. Nearly all swap packages will be considered a ‘package’ by the PO, not a ‘letter’. Anything packaged in a bubble envelope is considered a 'package'. If your package does not have adequate postage it may be returned or delivered as postage due to the host. Please do not put unnecessary burden on the swap host by not having adequate postage on your swap package.

Please make sure to allow plenty of time for your swap to reach the host. You should allow at least five days for mailing. International swappers should allow at least 10 days. Remember that the due date for the swap is the date the swap is due to be in the swap host's hands. It is NOT the mailing date.
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