Should you post souvenirs home or just pack light?

Should you leave space in the top of your suitcase for souvenirs, or should you plan to post your shopping home from overseas? How much will postage cost?

You’re standing in front of a half-packed suitcase, wondering whether you’ll leave some space for presents for family, or just post them home to yourself while you’re over there. Both options cost money, and we’re here to tell you which is the cheaper option, depending on where you’re travelling.

It’s important to check a few items with the local postage service before you send things home from overseas:

  • Weight limits for a parcel
  • Prohibited items that you cannot send out of the local country or cannot receive into New Zealand
  • Customs forms you need to attach

We calculated the postage rates below based on a parcel that is worth less than $200 NZD and weighs 2kg or less, to comply with the strictest limits for international parcels. A 2kg parcel may seem small, but the prices listed mean that if you don’t have too many souvenirs, it might just be worth the sweat and tears to squash everything into your suitcase.

Disclaimer: Prices listed are only current at the time of writing, and were converted to NZD using exchange rates sourced from Google Finance data. These prices cannot be relied upon when trying to send goods from overseas destinations to New Zealand.

 

Australia – Australia Post

Cost, deliver time, and weight limits: AusPost’s International Post Guide is quite comprehensive and the prices to post a parcel home to New Zealand are as follows:

Australia – Australia Post

  • Economy Air (Air Mail): $34.04 AUD (approx. $35.87 NZD) (max 2kg, 7 business days delivery time)
  • Standard (International): $41.04 AUD (approx. $43.25 NZD) (max 2kg, 5 business days delivery time)
  • Express Post (International): $50.04 AUD (approx. $52.74 NZD) (max 20kg, 3 business days delivery time)
  • Courier (International): $100.04 AUD (approx. $105.43 NZD) (max 20kg, 2 business days delivery time)

Customs: You may also have to pay customs duties on your parcel and use the correct customs form, which you can obtain from the Post Office or on their website.

Prohibited: Many items are prohibited and cannot be sent out of Australia, including dangerous goods and lithium batteries. Check the full list on the AusPost website here.

United Kingdom – Royal Mail

Cost: Royal Mail reports that posting a parcel from the UK to New Zealand will cost:

United Kingdom – Royal Mail

  • Royal Mail International Economy: £13.25 GBP (approx. $24.50 NZD) (84 days delivery time)
  • Royal Mail International Standard: £21.50 GBP (approx. $39.76 NZD) (5-7 business days delivery time)
  • Royal Mail International Tracked & Signed: £24.45 GBP (approx. $45.21 NZD) (5-7 business days delivery time)
  • Parcelforce Worldwide, Global Express: £82.55 GBP (approx. $152.64 NZD) (3 days delivery time)
  • Parcelforce Worldwide, Global Economy: £49.95 GBP (approx. $92.36 NZD) (59-64 days delivery time)

Weight limits: 5kg of books and pamphlets sent internationally, or 2kg of weight for other international parcels.

Customs: You may also have to pay customs duties on your parcel and use the correct customs form, which you can obtain from the Post Office or on their website.

Prohibited: Many items are prohibited to be sent from the UK to New Zealand, including aerosol cans, alcohol, batteries, flammables, magnets, nail polish, perfume, fruit and plants. (Oh, and no radioactive material or weapons either, please. Ta.)

You can read the Royal Mail’s other top tips for sending international mail out of the UK on their website.

United States of America – USPS

Cost: The USPS international rates show posting a parcel from the USA to New Zealand will cost:

United States of America – USPS

  • Priority Mail Express International, Flat Rate Boxes, varying sizes: $89.95 USD (approx. $124.71 NZD)

 

Delivery time: USPS aims to deliver Priority Mail Express International parcels in about 3-5 business days.

Weight limits: 20 pounds for all international Flat Rate Boxes. (A 2kg parcel weighs about 4 pounds 6 ounces.)

Customs: You can obtain the correct customs forms from the Post Office or on their website.

Prohibited: There are a few prohibited items for USPS shipping, including cigars, medical devices, lithium batteries, and medicines.

Japan – Japan Post

Cost: Japan Post has an English version for their website (Japan Post, arigatou gozaimasu!), which shows posting a parcel from Tokyo Prefecture to New Zealand will cost:

Japan – Japan Post

  • Surface Mail (sea shipping), international parcel: 2,350¥ JPY (approx. $32.20 NZD)
  • Economy Airmail, international parcel: 3,850¥ JPY (approx. $52.75 NZD)
  • Airmail, international parcel: 5,050¥ JPY (approx. $69.19 NZD)
  • Express Mail Service, Trackable: 4,500¥ JPY (approx. $61.65 NZD)

Delivery time: Japan Post’s expected delivery times vary depending on your choice of shipping method, from 4 days for Express Mail Service to 6 days for Airmail, about 2 weeks for Economy Airmail, and about 2-3 months for Surface Mail.

Customs: You can obtain the correct customs forms from the post office, or download them from their website.

Prohibited: Japan Post prohibits dangerous items from being sent, including lithium batteries, flammable liquids or materials, and illegal items.

France – La Poste

Cost: La Poste tells us – via the amazing Google Translate – posting a parcel from France to New Zealand will cost:

France – La Poste

  • International Colissimo, Fast Shipping: €36.10 (approx. $56.14 NZD)
  • Chronopost Express Shipping: €161.02 (approx. $250.42 NZD)

Delivery time: Colissimo aims to deliver international parcels in about 3-8 business days, while Chronopost delivers in around 1-3 days.

Weight limit: 30kg for deliveries outside the European Union and Switzerland.

Customs: You will need to obtain from the post office a CN23 customs form, an invoice declaration of origin (DOF) or EUR1 to claim an exemption from customs duties on arrival, and an SAD (Single Administrative Document) if you’re posting items worth more than €8,000.

Prohibited: There are a few items prohibited for La Poste shipping, including lithium batteries. You should check your intended parcel with your local Bureau de Poste before trying to send it.

Bali – Pos Indonesia

Cost: Pos Indonesia quoted the following rates to post a parcel from Denpasar, Bali to New Zealand:

Bali – Pos Indonesia

  • EMS Goods: 635,142Rp IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) (approx. $67.27 NZD)

 

Prohibited: Pos Indonesia prohibits items such as politically sensitive publications and pictures, drugs, and weapons. They also place restrictions on items including food, electrical appliances, medicines, cosmetics and toiletries.

Fiji – Post Fiji

Cost: Post Fiji shows posting a parcel to New Zealand will cost:

Fiji – Post Fiji

  • Surface Mail, Express Delivery: $21.20 FJD (approx. $14.22 NZD)
  • Air Mail, Express Delivery: $38.55 FJD (approx. $25.85 NZD)

Weight limits: 20kg for international parcels.

Prohibited: Post Fiji prohibits dangerous goods, narcotics, flammable, liquids, biological or radioactive substances, and obscene or immoral articles.

Brazil – Correios, The Brazil Post

Cost: Correios, a.k.a. The Brazil Post, shows posting a parcel from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to Auckland, New Zealand will cost:

Brazil – Correios The Brazil Post

  • Mercadoria Econômica (Economy): R$ 134 BRL (Brazilian Real) (approx. $57.01 NZD)
  • Leve Internacional (International Shipping): R$ 141 BRL (Brazilian Real) (approx. $59.99 NZD)
  • EMS: R$ 286 BRL (Brazilian Real) (approx. $121.69 NZD)
  • Sedex Mundi: R$358 BRL (Brazilian Real) (approx. $152.32 NZD)

Delivery time: 8-11 days for EMS; 9 days for Sedex Mundi; 13-17 days for Economy; 20-25 days for Leve Internacional.

Weight limits: 20kg for Economy and EMS; 2kg for Leve Internacional; 30kg for Sedex Mundi.

Prohibited: The Brazil Post prohibits the usual suspects such as vegetables, paint, advertising materials, and glazed pottery, and unfortunately they also prohibit products that contain the word “ANZAC”.

South Africa – South African Post Office

Cost: The South African Post Office delivers via EMS South Africa, and posting a parcel will cost:

South Africa – South African Post Office

  • EMS International Mail: 144.50 ZAR (South African Rand) per parcel, plus 23.40 per 100g of parcel (612.50 ZAR for 2kg parcel) (approx. $60.63 NZD)

 

Delivery time: The South African Post Office aims to deliver to the world in 4-5 business days when posted from the Office of Exchange (Johannesburg International Mail Centre).

Weight limits: Max 2kg for small parcels; max 30kg for large parcels.

Prohibited: Prohibited items include jewellery, perishables, liquids, and fragile items.

New Zealand – New Zealand Post

What if you’re a visitor to New Zealand, and you want to post something home?

Cost: Check the New Zealand Post international rates for posting a parcel from NZ to your home country. As an example, posting a parcel from New Zealand to Australia will cost:

New Zealand – New Zealand Post

  • International Air: $24.87 NZD
  • International Courier: $39.04 NZD
  • International Express Courier: $65.33 NZD

 

Delivery time: NZ Post aims to deliver International Air parcels in about 3-10 working days, International Courier parcels take about 2-6 working days, and International Express Courier parcels in 1-5 working days.

Weight limits: 20kg for International Air parcels; 30kg for International Courier parcels.

Customs: The post office can provide you with the correct customs declaration forms or consignment note.

Prohibited: NZ Post prohibits sending a significant list of items, so you should check the list for your intended parcel. The list includes jewellery, perfume, aerosol cans, first aid kits, nail polish, unused stamps, and essential oils such as tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil.

What does it cost to have overweight check-in luggage?

If you’ve looked at the above figures and they seem steep to you, your other option is to put your souvenirs in your check-in luggage and pay extra if your souvenirs push it over the usual weight limit. Or you can buy another bag and pay to check in two pieces of luggage.

How much do these two options cost?

Well, with Air New Zealand, you actually don’t get any check-in luggage allowance unless you pay for “Seat+Bag” or a similar upgrade. You can pay for up to 2 check-in bags of 23kg each; fares depend on your destination.

With Jetstar you get 7kg of check-in luggage, but you can buy more baggage allowance up to 40kg. The cost to bring up to 15kg of checked baggage depends on the destination:

  • Australia: $160 AUD (approx. $168.53 NZD)
  • USA: $40 USD (approx. $55.48 NZD)
  • Japan: ¥4,000 JPY (approx. $54.86 NZD)
  • Indonesia: 400,000 Rp IDR (approx. $52.35 NZD)

Qantas gives you 30kg of check-in luggage, and then charges as follows:

  • Pre-Purchased Additional Baggage: $70 AUD for each 5kg over 30kg (approx. $73.72 NZD)
  • Excess Baggage Charges (applies at the airport if your check-in baggage exceeds your baggage allowance and pre-purchased additional allowance): $20 AUD per extra kilogram when travelling, so $40 AUD (approx. $42.13 NZD) for 2kg extra in souvenirs

Emirates New Zealand allows you to take up to 35kg of check-in luggage, the most generous of the New Zealand airline policies we’ve seen. It would be pretty hard to go over that limit.

All of this to say that your choice to pack or post will largely depend on how much weight you’ve already got in your backpack or suitcase, and how much your souvenirs would add to that.

What you cannot bring back

Most of the countries we listed had similar prohibited items, which is because New Zealand’s Customs Service has a list of what you can’t bring into New Zealand:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Agricultural items, animals and animal products
  • Alcohol
  • Chemicals
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Children’s crayons and finger paints
  • Drugs (illicit or controlled drugs)
  • Explosives (includes fireworks)
  • Firearms and weapons
  • Food (includes prepared food)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Hairbrushes that use natural animal bristles
  • Hazardous substances
  • Medicine (prescription medicines)
  • Money
  • Objectionable material (pornography, violent books or films, etc.)
  • Plants and plant products
  • Radio jamming equipment
  • Radioactive materials
  • Watercolour paints
  • Wool articles

Travellers should also note that when you’re sending stuff home to New Zealand by parcels post, the total Customs value threshold is NZD $399, so the stuff in your parcel cannot be worth more than that. A gift sent to an individual with a declared value of NZD $110 or less is allowed free entry, while gifts worth more than that are subject to tariff duty and GST.

Compare Travel Money Cards

Compare Travel Credit and Debit Cards

Share this article