Whether you’re trying to send a gift to a loved one, shipping your handmade jewelry overseas or simply thinking of ordering a product that has to travel all the way from Canada to China, international package tracking is a concept that you need to understand before placing your order. First and foremost, international travel is expensive, so you should be prepared to bear the costs. A six pound package can cost as much as 200 dollars, depending on distance, carrier and country.
It is essential to track international package to ensure that the contents arrive safely, and in a timely manner, to their final destination. The good news is that more and more carrier companies are trying to implement international package tracking in their offers, and new web-based applications capable of logging have appeared over the past few years. Let’s take a look at some of the most reliable international package tracking services available right now.
1. International Package Tracking on eBay
Ebay is without a doubt one of the largest online retailers in the world. The company has gone to great lengths to ensure that package tracking becomes available for most of its carriers. When sending an international package you have to create your shipping label through eBay, so that the ‘My Ebay’ service can track the packet’s journey. If you can’t do this, you are advised to add your tracking number – provided by the carrier – in the user dashboard. This will generate a new eBay tracker for your order. Keep in mind that deliveries to Canada P.O. Boxes are not supported by eBay’s international package tracking system.
Before you submit your parcel you should also check out the company’s Postage Calculator that will estimate the fee for various international shipments such as Express courier (for merchandise and documents), Pack and Track International, Air Mail or Registered Post International. Type in your estimated parcel weight and destination, and the calculator will pull out several prices with details.
Important note: Registered post international and Air Mail cannot be tracked internationally.
2. International Package Tracking with USPS.COM
USPS delivers packages all over the world, but not all the company’s services provide international package tracking. If you want to know where your cargo is every step of the way you should consider Priority Mail as your first option. Although it is slightly expensive, it arrives in 6 to 10 business days (which isn’t a lot considering the distance).
Another option would be Priority Mail Express International, which is even more expensive but includes 100 dollars insurance for documents and 200 dollars insurance for merchandise damage or loss, plus USPS tracking. Global Express can also be used, but size limitations might be a problem. You can use the USPS price calculator tool to obtain a price estimate for your package. You should also familiarize yourself with the conditions for mailing on the company’s official page.
3. DHL International Package Tracking
DHL will track international package for its customers directly from the website. All you have to do to find out where your parcel is situated is to visit the Tracking Category and to write down your reference number. You should be aware that tracking for international destinations isn’t always extremely accurate as some locations are more secluded. From the company’s FAQ page we found out that DHL sometimes recycles its shipment waybill for management reasons. This may also lead to errors in the system and shipments travelling under the same waybill. You can rest assured that the package will make it to you on time, or that the status will be updated in 1-2 business days.
4. International Parcel Post | JapanPost
You can also send packages from Japan, globally, and have them tracked (for certain locations), with JapanPost. This service utilizes three shipping types: Economy Air (SAL), Airmail and Surface mail. The image above shows the sizes accepted by International Parcel Post. The weight limit for global packages is 30 kilograms. To begin the shipping process you have to fill out a Parcel Label (instructions here) and check out the Notices Concerning EMS Track & Track to find out which locations can be tracked (examples: United Kingdom, Germany, etc.)
5. Other web-based International Package Trackers
Aftership is an accurate tracker that supports huge carriers as well as smaller ones. What it basically does is to pull-out information from multiple carriers to determine the position of a package. More often than not, international packages are swapped between couriers who can reach the destination faster. Aftership supports carriers such as Greyhound, UPS, USPS, DHL, Aramex, FedEx, Canpar, Purolator, i-parcel, SkyNet, DPD, and more.
Packagetrackr is another useful web-based tool that does pretty much the same things as Aftership. The company describes itself as the ‘all-in-one package tracking tool for all your shipments’. The major difference between Packageetrackr and Aftership is the fact that Packagetrackr supports some extra carriers like CityLink, OnTrac, ThailandPost, IndiaPost, TNT, etc. You will also need to register an account with the website to start tracking your parcels.
Many carriers are still trying to learn how to track international packages more efficiently, so you must be patient. Some of the companies we haven’t mentioned (example: China Post, UPS, Royal Mail etc.) offer tracking through their own systems, but customers have reported a lot of bugs so it seems that they are still struggling with the concept.
Do you know any other international package tracking services? We’d love to hear some tips from our readers!