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Shipping things home! HELP!


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Hello everyone,



 I have 30 days left in China and I am starting to pack things up to ship them home. I was thinking about using China Post, but I've heard there are other independent companies who will ship more for a lower price. Can someone tell me things that are forbidden to send back home? For instance I've bought a lot of tea that I'm trying to get home. My friend told me that powders are also forbidden to ship, but this might only be with China Post. If anyone has had experience with this or knowledge of how I can ship the most things back to the US, at the cheapest price please let me know!! Also the things that I will not be able to send home, Thank you so much!! :help




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On 6/10/2017 at 3:02 PM, hannafit said:

For instance I've bought a lot of tea that I'm trying to get home.


I send lots of tea back to the US. I openly declare it as tea (write 茶叶/tea on the packing slip) and never had a problem at either end (the China end or the US end.) I use China Post, opting for the combination rate they call SAL ("sea and land" 空运水陆路) Takes about 6 weeks from Kunming to Texas. 


For China Post, the fastest way is Air 空运 and the slowest way is Land/Sea 水陆。EMS courier is really quick, but costs a lot. I've sent some things like clothes and shoes by Land/Sea. Took nearly 3 months.


I've had problems shipping electronics and they often will not accept anything with batteries, even small items such as flashlights. They also shy away from accepting fragile items (such as ceramic teapots and glass cups) but will do it if you smile and insist.


I take my own packing material to the post office, bubble wrap and styrofoam and such. (They supply the box.) Have no experience with the private shipping services.

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How much stuff are we talking about?


I googled "china expat moving company"

This is a thread with people talking about using a moving company, booking a container etc., it is old but can give you an idea what is involved.




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Thank you guys so much for responding. @abcdefg, this was very helpful because I was considering China Post but 3 months might be too long. I guess I will consider using the private company because I think it might be faster and cost effective. I really appreciate you responding to my question seriously this has helped so much!! 

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My experience is old, but probably still somewhat valid: airmail is fast (less than a week, I think) but expensive. Sea mail is the cheapest, but also slow: about three months. Ideal for getting winter clothes home, and books you won't get around to soon. SAL is in between those two in both cost and speed, although sometimes it can be faster than you expect. Pack everything well and seal the boxes well - basically, expect the post people to play soccer with it and wrap accordingly. Private companies are faster (I assume) and perhaps more secure than China Post, but you pay accordingly.


Another option is to pay for an extra suitcase if you're flying home. Usually some 50-100 euros (convert to a currency of choice by yourself) for 23 kilos, so not too expensive and very fast, as long as you have a way of getting all that stuff to and from the airport.


Expat moving companies are great if you moving an entire household and have lots of money to spend on the move. They pack everything perfectly and unpack it in a room of your choice, so they're very convenient. But the price is accordingly.

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In addition to paying for an extra bag at check-in -- which can be extremely expensive depending on your ticket and airline -- there's also the cheaper unaccompanied baggage opton. Procedures differ by airport, but essentially you bag goes as air freignt, and you usually have to deal with it at the cargo area of the airport. Actually, like sending your luggage as cargo on China Rail.

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