Pin It

How to mail things home from Korea

The look I probably gave her response.

Shipping with Korea Post is confusingly simple.

So when the Korean computer repair shop couldn’t revive my Mac Airbook this past month, I didn’t know what to do with it.

I had a lot of personal information on it. But now that it was deemed waste, I didn’t feel like packing dead weight onward in my travels.

Maybe it was time to do what I do, whenever my traveling gets weighed down with too many souvenirs?

Time to mail it home!

Luckily, I’d shipped off boxes from Korea before, to know that South Korea has been one of the least expensive and most trusted countries in Asia for me to ship from.

Do you know that a medium-sized box mailed from New York City to my home in U.S./Hawaii has cost me roughly $40-50?! … that was three years ago and I shipped it under the cheapest shipping option, which also took months to arrive! Mailed from Korea via the Korean local post office, that same size now, cost me roughly $20, while taking 1/2 as long to get to me! In fact, when I originally moved my life back home from Korea, a year’s worth of living was shipped back in four or five boxes. The sum total of my move, didn’t even tally $100.

Other expats might probably share similar stories. The cost of shipping via Korea Post is shockingly low to what we’re used to spending in our own county.

It made me think of two things:

  • Aren’t all American states supposed to have shipping discounts for each other?!
  • I love Korea Post!
    .

Korea Post (Daegu, Shinmae-dong branch)

Mailing things home from Korea is cheap and easy.

If I’m shipping from Korea, I don’t worry about packing my box  FULL.

Although the U.S. Postal Service, is our best and cheapest alternative in the U.S.,  shipping costs aren’t cheap.

Mailing boxes anywhere outside the mainland U.S., I often paid a lot.  Do you know a DVD mailed off to Germany from New York cost me roughly $15 (… or was it was more?).  A padded envelope to Delhi (mailed from Hawaii) with a light-weight box of Hawaiian Macadamia nut candies cost me $24 (and that was after I alleviated it of extra weight)! Ouch. It got to the point where, the idea of “Shipping” anything outside of the mainland U.S. , equated tossing things out to lighten the load!

But as I stood before the Korea Post postal clerk, listening to her tell me how I could alleviate my shipping expenses by cutting my box down to fit my laptop, …my mind began to calculate a different alternative…

If I was going to ship my laptop home and it wasn’t going to hurt my wallet, then… why not pack in as much as I can!!!

You could say, Korea Post inspired me to open my floodgates of souvenir and clothes shopping!

 

A medium-sized box. Notice: Corners are torn because I originally was going to mail just my laptop. But the ease and price of mailing in Korea inspired me to mail more.

 

How does Korea Post make shipping easy?

When I finally brought my box to the post office, packed and stuffed to the rim with souvenirs and clothes, it only got better…

 

bubble-wrap

 

The kind postal clerk sized my box and unrolled a huge wad of bubble wrap and asked me if I’d like to use it for my laptop.

How much does it cost?

Free charge.

The look I probably gave her response.

It’s… Free???!  

Stunned, it took me all of 15 seconds to register that I wasn’t back in the U.S. where every incremental piece of an item isn’t weighed, measured and charged a price.

Do you sell packing tape here?

The postal clerk smiled and pointed me to a table, where people were packing their boxes and taping them up for mailing.  Scissors, different sized rolls of packing tape and markers… it reminded me of a kindergarten arts-and-crafts table.

All of it… free charge.

I was in postal heaven!

Table with packing tape, scissors and markers for use

 

I went to the kisok of mailing forms to fill out an International Mailing Form. It was written in both, Korean and English.

I reached for a pen but instead,… in the holder contained pair of reading glasses!  Low and behold, the holder offered community reading glasses, in the case you had difficulty seeing what you were filling out. Wow!

Free reading glasses to use if you need them.

Free reading glasses to use if you need them.

Okay, that part kinda blew my mind…

While I didn’t need reading glasses, packing tools are things I generally have to bring with me to the post office or buy. It’s a huge pain and it’s these little things which add to your increased expense.

If you’re a tourist shipping souvenirs home, the fact you can literally come “empty-handed”makes shipping stuff from Korea ideal.

At Korea Post almost everything is provided for you.

Free . of.  charge.

 

How I got the cheapest mailing rate from Korea

Like most places, shipping is priced by weight and how quickly you would like your stuff to arrive. So if you fill your box with rocks, you’ll obviously pay more than I did.

But I’ve mailed boxes of full of clothes before, it was heavier and it was roughly within the same price range.

When I fill out the form, I tick “Surface air”…  cheapest shipping… aka slowest delivery time.  Duh.  The delivery could take one to three months.

If you’re not in a rush; I definitely recommend this option. The speedier the shipping option you choose, the rate will be higher.

The postal clerk weighed my box and tallied my bill.  “That’ll be 24,000 won ,” she said. (That’s somewhere around $22USD.)

I pulled out my wallet.

Oh, by all means!  Yes, let me pay! Please.

 

What are some countries with the best postal services and rates you’ve ever experienced?

36 Comments

  1. Nancy says:

    from South korea

  2. Nancy says:

    Hi, I bought a ryan doll 85cm 33 inches from ebay the sellers ships it from and she used usps is there a box that can fit that 85cm 33inch ryan doll

  3. Lym Sung says:

    My sister who lives in Korea just asked about rates for shipping TO Korea from Hawaii. You could almost hear the disappointment over the message finding out how expensive it is. Came across your article while googling for how to mail cheap to Korea. Not what I was looking for, but certainly enjoyed the article and your style~

  4. Marian says:

    Hello do you know the ways for shipping from Korea to Peru ( in South America ) please

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Marian: That’s a question for the post office in Korea. I’ve never shipped to Peru. =(

  5. Kelsey says:

    Hey, I was wondering if you just labeled it as ‘laptop’ on the packing slip? I have seen other blogs where they have had to label it as something else.

  6. I just wanted to ask. since on the photo that is posted.. the selfie photo.. I saw that you added korean on it.. but I think you should edit it… cause first it doesn’t make sense and second cause there is a cuss gesture so.

  7. amade says:

    how can i get a shipping adress in korea,to buy online?

  8. Kelly says:

    THANK YOU FOR THIS! Looks like I’ll be shipping my stuff home and headed to India after living in Korea 🙂 awesome info!

  9. chanayoga says:

    Hi! I was just wondering if you (or anyone) happened to know which “zone” the US is in? I’m looking at the Korea Post website to try and get some information about how much it’s going to cost me to send my stuff home, and I’m having trouble figuring out which of the four zones I fit into…

  10. Jen says:

    what was the weight of your box? i always thought all international shipping was expensive~

  11. Erin says:

    Super helpful article, Christine, thank you!! 2 quick questions for ya (or anyone with expertise in the shipping department):

    1. My local post office only allowed me to use the 2nd largest box to ship via surface air. Was just wondering if you knew that to be a universal thing or if it’s just my office being finicky? I’ve got quite a bit to ship and the largest (a 6, I think) would be much more ideal.

    2. Do you know of anywhere that’ll ship oversized items for a reasonable price? Just looking to get one of my extra suitcases home.

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

  12. Jael says:

    Hi,i waa wondering where you got the box from to send those posts

  13. david says:

    Is it possible to send a laptop from korea to Us? Even if i send can my friend get it in the United states without any charges or problems? Please respond as soon as possible

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      I’ve never sent a laptop, but you’d probably need to specially pack/send it so it doesn’t damage as shipping to the U.S. can take a few months. I’m not sure if your friend would pay extra customs fee. Luck of the draw.

  14. Ashley says:

    Great post, thanks! Are you able to go to the post office to pick up the boxes, bring them home to pack and then bring them back to tape off and ship?

    • chanayoga says:

      I know I’m not the original poster (obviously, ha), but YES! I am moving back to the United States and am currently sitting in the middle of a packing mess. However, thank G-d for the Korea Post! 😀

  15. Minty says:

    Does it take much to send stuff to korea??

  16. Jeff says:

    This is great! I lived in Korea for 8 years but I never knew that international shipping was this cheap. I don’t know why I didn’t realize it, since domestic shipping is cheap as well. I’ll be visiting in about a week and need to send back some stuff. Thanks for the information!

  17. Does is matter what you put for “item list: ??? I don’t want to make iit sound like I have a lot of money worth of things. Will it get taxed or something back home if it looks like the value is high?

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Katislaterzirom: That’s always a possibility, depending on your country’s import laws. But in the U.S, I haven’t had my boxes opened yet; although all I’ve sent was clothes, books, souvenirs and a broken laptop and I never claimed them as valuable. You shouldn’t be taxed on sending your mail out.

  18. Kat says:

    I love love love the Korean post office, especially the stamp vending machines.

  19. Jacki says:

    Sending mail home is one of my favorite activities here. It’s definitely made me a much better letter writer.

  20. The Korean postal service is amazing! So cheap, so efficient, so easy, and customer friendly! Love it.

    • Kun Hyun says:

      How much to mail 5 Kg of Cotton rolls from Daejon, Korea to Newark, NJ, USA via surfce mail or Express.

Leave a Reply. Holler up and share your thoughts!

Follow the GRRRL

Follow
Before a trip can be a vacation, you'll have to survive it first!
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for Travel Survival Tips, inspiration and YouTube fun! 

GRRR Travel Survival Guides

BOOK YOUR TRIP | TRAVEL PARTNERS

Support us on Patreon or Paypal

Donate to help maintain this site, so we can bring you more free video and travel content!

Featured On

css.php