Holiday shipping tips: 5 things you need to know about mailing your packages

The holiday shopping season has started, and more packages are being shipped and delivered to homes across the U.S. than ever before.

Shipping services — like FedEx, United Parcel Service (UPS) and the United States Postal Service — have reminded customers to be aware of delivery deadlines. There are some ways consumers can assure their gifts arrive at their destination in tact and on time before Christmas.

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It takes hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers to deliver those millions of packages to the front doors of online holiday shoppers. Delivery companies like FedEx and UPS will hire thousands of seasonal workers to meet delivery demands. UPS expects to handle 750 million packages nationwide during the holiday season — and that means major job opportunities. For the holiday season, the company is hiring 95,000 temporary workers, including drivers, package sorters and loaders.

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Here’s some tips for shipping packages:

To make sure your packages are secure and arrive on time, UPS and FedEx have offered some tips to help consumers.

• Compare the cost of using different services. The expense may differ due to your location and where you’re shipping it, what day you choose to send it, and the size of the package. UPS, USPS and FedEx all allow you to estimate how much your package will cost to send, so do your research.

• A 2015 study from the Princeton Survey Research Associates International showed about 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their front porches or mailboxes. Be sure to track your package to see where it’s at and when it will arrive. If you’re sending it to someone else, alert them when it is expected to be delivered.

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• Make sure to use the right size box when you ship your item. Use a box customized to the weight and size of the package you’re sending. Reused boxes are more likely to tear in the rain or snow.

• Consider double-boxing if your item is especially fragile, and then use bubble wrap around the item. Do not stack heavier items on top of lighter items when you put two items in one box.

• Leave about two inches of space on all sides around the item being shipped.

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• Use the right type of tape on the packaging. Three-inch wide tape is optimal to use, and it should cover all open seams.

• If you’re packaging perishable items like chocolate, fruit or meat, it should be shipped in a polystyrene cooler with dry ice inside a corrugated box. It needs to be marked with “Dry Ice” on the outside of the box with the wight of the dry ice and the type of product inside.