How do I send a postcard or package back home?
Wait...what? You actually want to send a postcard as they still make cool souvenirs when you get back home? Yes, for many it's still a cool novelty worth the extra effort that harkens back to the old nostalgic days of yesteryear. For starters, aside from various Post Offices, you can also often purchase stamps from tobacco shops or small convenience stores.
Despite the EU and its trends to consolidate industries and services, the post offices for each country are still nationally managed and not centralized. That means that even though there is one common currency throughout the EU, there is not one common stamp. In other words, it still varies country to country. Thus a common question is, for example, “if I put a postcard with a French stamp in an Italian mail box, will it get sent?” The answer is obviously no, it will NOT be sent. So don’t bother trying it. The mail service, however, is quite efficient and in general it will take a few weeks for it to get back home (you may beat it back home lol). Stamps are available at tobacco shops as well as the post office. Some good general sites which may answer many of your basic questions are:
- Britain’s Royal Mail service, see www.royalmail.com
- France's Le Poste, see www.laposte.fr
- Italy's Post Italiane, see www.posteitaliane.it
- Germany's Deutsche Post, see www.deutschepost.de
To send packages internationally, you’ll find prices can often be ridiculously and prohibitively expensive. It all boils down to size and weight. This is where that too good to pass up souvenir will often come back to haunt you. For a good comparison of sample shipping prices, check out www.fedex.com or www.ups.com.