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Letters and Parcels

How to pack your parcel

Every parcel is important to us. We take the greatest care to make sure they get there safely. But you can help – and potentially save money – by packing your parcels properly. Here's how.

Choose the correct packaging
Internal protection
Sealing your parcel
Labelling your parcel
Choose the correct packaging Internal protection Sealing your parcel Labelling your parcel
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Choose the correct packaging

When choosing your packaging you should consider its size, strength and material.


Packings dos

  • Use high-quality corrugated cardboard boxes. They can be single-, double- or triple-walled. We recommend double-or triple-walled for fragile or heavy (10kg+) items
  • Make sure your box has enough surface area free to be labelled
  • Use jiffy bags for small items

Packings don'ts

  •  Avoid re-using boxes that may have lost their strength
  • Avoid using boxes with any tears, dents and corner damage
  • Avoid using bin liners or cloth/fabric bags. They don't offer protection
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Internal protection


Consider using internal protection to keep your item from moving around inside the parcel.



  • Wrap items individually 
  • When sending a few items in one parcel, use dividers
  • Use void filler like foam peanuts and bubble wrap to keep your items from moving around in transit
  • Place your items in the middle of the box with a 5cm distance from walls and corners


  • Do not leave hollow spaces in the box as the contents will move about and get damaged
  • Don’t over-pack or under-pack the box as it may dent or burst
  • Avoid fragile items touching either each other, or the side of the parcel
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Sealing your parcel


Make sure your parcel is properly sealed to prevent it from coming open in transit and potentially losing items.



  • Use strong tape 4-5cm wide, such as nylon or vinyl tape
  • Flatten any sharp edge from staples or metal fastenings, and cover with tape
  • Seal securely along all edges and openings


  • Avoid using thin household tapes like cellophane or masking tape
  • Avoid using string
  • Avoid using staples
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Labelling your parcel


It’s important that your parcel gets to its destination, so make sure you label it clearly. Here’s how to label your parcels.


Make sure any UK or international address is formatted correctly using our guide to addressing your mail.



  • If using a returns or pre-paid label, make sure all barcodes are visible and a copy of the label is placed inside the parcel in case the external one falls off
  • If reusing a sturdy box make sure all old labels and barcodes are removed or covered
  • Make sure the label is on top of the parcel
  • Include a returns address on the outside of the parcel


  • Do not cover any part of the label
  • Do not fold the label over any edges
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Save money on your postage

Getting the right packaging is important to keep your items safe. But it can also save you money on your postage.

Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide pricing depends on the weight and size of the item you’re sending as well as any additional services you need, like tracking or compensation.

Packaging items into the smallest size possible can keep them secure and could save you money. So it's worthwhile checking the smallest format your items will fit into.

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Some examples of how you could save

  • If you’re posting an item weighing 500g as a 1st Class small parcel it will cost £3.85. If it will fit into a large letter format instead, the cost would be £2.39 – saving you £1.46.
  • Post an item weighing 1kg as a 1st Class medium parcel and it will cost you £6.00. If it will fit into a small parcel format instead, you’d pay just £3.85 - saving £2.15.
  • When sending greetings cards abroad, check the weight and size of your cards. For Europe, it’s the same price for letter format cards up to 100g. If you’re posting outside of Europe, buy cards that are under 20g, as letter-sized cards between 20-100g cost more.
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More about sending mail

Useful links, extra information and related mails services.