* Real * USPS Shipping Times
I've finally started packing (still have a ways to go but at least I've stopped procrastinating and actually started!) our boxes to ship to St Croix.
Now I need to figure out when to mail them.
I don't want them to arrive before we do so I'm trying to get an idea of the shortest and average times it takes for a package to arrive via USPS. I'm looking for times for both priority mail and parcel post.
I know the days that the USPS will give aren't accurate so I'm trying to find a more accurate estimate of times from people who actually have shipped things to St Croix.
Thank you sooooo very much for your help!
It depends on the method of shipment...if you do it Express, it gets here in a day or so...Priority I think is over-nite....Parcel Post can be six weeks to six months. As an example, if you mail a letter (42 cent stamp) from here to America, it will take six days, but I ship medical equipment back for repair using USPS Express all the time and they usually get it the next day...sometimes two...
I'd recommend getting a PO Box from up there, then shipping everything the day before you leave, so that when you get here, things are arriving and you can check your PO box everyday...
The quickest I have ever received anything is 3 days and that was next day delivery. Our packages usually take 5 to 10 days.
I use USPS "3 Day Priority Mail" all the time. On one glorious occasion the package took 3 days to arrive. On most other occasions it takes 5-14 days.
The really annoying thing is the tracking. It will say "package received for processing" or something like that. No location, status, location progress, etc. From that message the next thing is the delivery confirmation. So, it's not really tracking. You can't tell where it is or when it will be delivered-- only that it was received in the outgoing location and when it was delivered. That's worthless--you KNOW when it is delivered if YOU are receiving the package *-)
On the plus side, it's usually inexpensive.
For faster delivery of documents I use USPS Express Mail. Usually 1-2 days, not counting weekends.
Recently I ordered a small item that cost $80. I told them to ship it by Priority Mail. They called me two days later to confirm because the shipping alone was going to cost $130! Someone mistakenly put it in as UPS instead of USPS. The upshot: UPS is EXPENSIVE. For this particular order UPS was six times the cost of USPS.
Another oddity is that USPS does not bother with duty/excise forms. With FedEx, UPS, and the rest you have to go through all that crap and pay 4-10% in taxes. It's weird that the US Post Office doesn't do this but I'm happy not to pay those crazy fees.
Two packages were sent to me Priority Mail from California at the beginning of February and I am still waiting for them. Priority Mail usually takes about ten days but I have had a couple of occasions where it has taken six months. The hang up is apparently in Puerto Rico. I think Donna Christensen needs to prod the Puerto Ricans again to empty their room full of parcels bound for the VI. I've got some prescriptions that are a month overdue and probably in Puerto Rico as well.
Well, you have noticed a lot of different answers. I'll add my two cents. I receive packages often which have been shipped USPS Off-Shore Non-Priority. They usually arrive in about 7-10 days, sometimes a little sooner, seldom any later. I shipped several larger boxes from the states, via Parcel Post ,a couple of years ago. The first one arrived about a month later, then another in a few days, etc., with the last one taking about two months. So, it's a crap shoot. I have been told by retailers in the states that it takes longer to receive a package sent to a PO box. Why? Who knows? The post office can get a little testy if a package stays too long before it's picked up. They may even send it back. I use MailBoxes, Etc. when the delivery time really matters. They charge $5.00 per box, if you are not one of their mailbox customers. They have a deadline for pick-up too, but I'm sure if you call and ask they will probably work out some kind of hold for you, if you aren't here yet.
We mailed 3 flat rate boxes Priority mail from Crestview, Florida on June 5th we arrived on STX June 11th...we got the boxes June 12th (dated June 11th)
What I find interesting is Netflix can consistently get movies to the VI in four days and Priority mail takes seven to ten days.
Most movies to STX ship from NJ, however when they don't have a movie I want in NJ they ship from other locations. I have received movies from Oregon in five days.
How does Netflix do it when the post office can't even get priority mail here in less than a week and express mail in less than three days? For every movie that has taken more than four days I probably have received twice as many in three days. Does Netflix have a special plan for postal workers to encourage them to expedite their movie deliveries?
funny thing, the last 2 letter that i sent from massachusetts to st croix, took 2 days, first class. normally they might take a week. my experience with priority mail is that it often takes 2 weeks. i think it is the personal touch that makes that service take longer. last parcel post shipments took 3 weeks for 10 big boxes. in past it has taken as long as 6 weeks. the postal worker i spoke with says that it all depends on filling the containers and when they ship. sometimes some of your boxes might be the last ones to fill a container, and the remainder have to wait for the next one to fill up, so boxes shipped the same day can arrive at vastly different times.
I really appreciate everyone's feedback but now I'm even more unsure of when to send everything.
I guess I'll start shipping about a week before we arrive and our stuff will get there when it gets there.
We have a PO Box already set up so we have someplace to send our stuff to but I don't want to be rude and fill up their space with all of our boxes arriving before we get on island.
I have been sending boxes via Express Mail and each time they arrive a day earlier than the Baltimore PO said they would. I did use the main post office so maybe that helped???
Anyway, you have all talked me into continuing to use Express Mail . . . I was hoping to save a few bucks and send the next round of packages via Priority. Oh well!
Stuff from the west coast seems to take longer for the most part - at least when I've had things sent from there.
Just make sure you don't spell out Virgin Islands. It will end up in Virginia....don't ask...
I ship and receive for our business on St. John all the time, and this is what I've found out over the past 9 years that seem to help packages get delivered in a more timely fashion.
1. (most important) Address box in all BOX CAP letters and do not put any punctuation, state code is VI and don't put USVI or anything else, like so:
PO BOX 1234
ST JOHN VI 00831-1234
2. Delivery confirmation is a minimal charge and the PO's down here are really concerned with trying to get a 100% record so they tend to keep better track of it (I see the big signs in the back on poster board encouraging workers to reach this goal)
3. Use the boxes they provide free of charge if at all possible
4. If you are mailing from the states to here, try to go to a larger PO instead of an off the beaten track PO.
Express Mail typically takes between 1-3 days depending where you are sending from
Priority Mail typically takes between 3-10
Parcel Post typically takes between 4-6 weeks
These are the normal time frames and following as many of 1-4 rules as you can can cut the delivery time. I've also had a lot of luck using the USPS Click N Ship labels that you can print off and pay for online. Delivery confirmation is free if you use Click N Ship.
The Click N Ship option looks good. Do you know if there is any problem using that and then waiting about two weeks to drop off the package at the post office for shipment? If not, I think I'll use that to pay for the packages and then give the packages to some lucky family and friends that have been generous enough to agree to hold the packages for a couple of weeks and then mail them.
I just sent myself 5 Express Mail packages (large boxes between 10-32 lbs) from 3 different post offices in the Baltimore area to Frederiksted. All arrived at the Frederiksted post office the next day despite the warning it would take two days and maybe more over the weekend.
I also received a Priority package (not flat rate box) from the Baltimore area which arrived in two days.
Plus, an order from Banana Republic sent Priority from Ohio arrived in 3 days.
Seems like USPS service from Express and Priority is pretty reliable . . . I was actually afraid they might start sending packages back because the earliest packages arrive a full week before I arrived.
Here's my input...I ordered from Amazon's 'other' sellers on 6-23 and got my first 2 of 6 today 6-30. They're all being sent standard shipping which should be 4-14 days. I'll let you know if the rest show up in the next week. These are being sent to the C'sted P.O. by Market Square.
Thanks for the info! That is really helpful.
I was told Banana Republic does not ship to the VI's - any trick to ordering by Priority - or maybe they have changed their policy and I didn't know it 🙂
We sent 28 boxes on June 4 from South Bend, IN. Some were sent Parcel Post and some were sent Media Mail. ALL (yes, all!) of the boxes were received by June 27. That even includes the Media Mail boxes. Some of the Media Mail arrived before the Parcel Post boxes. The last to be received were the heaviest ones - closer to 70 pounds.
Seems like the USPS is keeping their end of the deal 😎
Did anybody get hit with customs charges (duty) for any of their USPS shipments?
I notice that a few of you use MailBoxes Etc. Is that more convenient than the USPS?
I also plan to start mailing boxes to STX as I will be arriving there July 22. Where is the nearest MailBox Etc to Christiansted? Phone#? I’d like to set something up before I head out. We’ll be leaving Washington State on July 12, driving to Florida to ship the car, then fly to STX.
Thanks for all the great info on this board. You guys are always so helpful.
See you soon,
I think I did request the Priority shipping option when checking out. because I was worried about regular mailing time. My order was a mixture of BR, Gap and Old Navy . . . great service to order from multiple stores with just one shipment.
Pia... I just ordered a mixed bag from the new Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic/Piperlime website and I got the package in less than a week. They have a flat rate $7 for the entire shopping cart, any mixture of the four companies. Hard to beat that!
Click N Ship asks for your ship date, and I think you can only put it three or four days out. I have purchased the labels from my computer, saved them as a PDF and emailed them to the person who I'm having ship to me.
As far as customs go, you aren't going to get hit sending anything from the US to the USVI via USPS, but you may get hit sending from the USVI to the US. If the package is valued at less than $2000, no customs broker needed, but duty may be assesed. Over $2000, and customs in PR snags it, you need to hire a broker, which is a REAL pain in the butt and expensive. Shipping FedEx is an entirely different story though!!