It’s the time of year when gift shopping and bargain hunting are at the top of our to-do lists. In the lead-up to Christmas we’re all mindful of the presents we need to buy – and the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals we’ve been waiting all year to take advantage of.
Of course, now that you’ve made all of those must-have gift purchases, you’re faced with getting them to their intended recipients. Chances are that many of your loved ones, friends or clients live far enough away that you need to ship their parcels rather than drop them off in person.
If the mere thought of getting your parcels ready to ship is daunting, don’t worry. Here are our tips for sending off your presents without the hassle.
Many courier companies have developed partnerships with local stores allowing you to drop off your parcels ready for courier pick-up at any time during business hours. DPD Pickup locations can now be found at various Matalan and Sainsbury locations for instance.
Parcel Monkey give you the ability to purchase discounted Parcelforce deliveries online which you can then drop off at a Post Office or a local Parcelforce depot.
The destination of your parcel is going to be a key factor in picking which drop-off services and locations are best for your parcel.
Overseas. If your parcel is going to wing its way abroad, look into Parcel Monkey’s online options. You’ll be able to send your parcel to just about any destination – and almost always at cheaper price than what you’d pay in line at the Post Office. Once you’ve paid your shipping costs, drop your parcel off at your local Post Office branch, or at one of the 52 Parcelforce depots throughout the country.
Locally. If your parcel is being shipped within UK borders, you have even more options at hand. In addition to a lengthy list of local Post Office partners and the country’s Parcelforce depots, you’ll also be able to drop off your parcel at any of the 2,500 shops and stores designated as DPD ‘Pickup’ sites.
Save time by finding a local drop-off location to take your parcel to. Here are just some of the ways.
During checkout. When you book your parcel online using Parcel Monkey, you’ll be given a handy list of nearby Post Office, Parcelforce Depots and DPD ‘Pickup’ locations based on your residential postcode.
Postcode search. Head to the Post Office website and submit your postcode, town or street name for a list of nearby branches and their opening times.
Tip: For locations situated within a convenience store or other business, note that these opening hours may not reflect the actual availability of post office services.
Parcelforce Depot search. Use the Parcelforce depot finder for a full list of depot locations and opening hours.
DPD ‘Pickup’ search. A full list of DPD ‘Pickup’ stores can be viewed here – there’s also functionality to narrow the results displayed to a list of the closest locations within 10 miles.
Tip: Note that Halfords stores are now only used for collections.
Avoid queues when dropping off your parcel by being strategic about when you visit the Post Office or drop-off destination.
Enjoy extended hours. Many Post Offices will extend their opening times during the busy season, opening from 6:30am – 10pm. Although not all services will be operating during these times, you’ll generally be able to drop off a parcel for delivery – and skip the queues in doing so.
Check opening hours. Save yourself a trip by ensuring that a Post Office is open before heading out. Mobile branches, rural branches, or branches in quiet areas may have reduced opening hours or may not be open every day of the week.
Drop off while commuting. With Parcelforce depots generally open from 8am – 7pm on weekdays and 8am – 12:30 on Saturdays, you can save time by dropping off your parcel as part of your daily commute. As a plus, depots are usually located on motorways, making them easy to access.
Drop off while shopping. DPD ‘Pickup’ stores will have varying opening hours, so it can be helpful to schedule a drop-off to coincide with a shopping trip or errand run. Some, such as Doddle locations, are often located close to train stations, making it possible to drop off a parcel while heading to or from work.
Tip: Although you might nominate a day to drop off your parcel when booking a drop-off order online, you’re under no requirement to stick to that schedule. If you need to drop it off a day later, or even at a different location, that’s absolutely fine.
Drop-off services are a great option for most people, but bear in mind that some services may have size or weight restrictions in place. And if you are sending an oversized parcel, don't forget that you’ll have to carry it from your car to the drop-off point – so pick a site with convenient parking to save your back. If carrying it is out of the question, collection services are an option.
In the past, it’s been cheaper to go the surface mail route and allow for a little extra time for your parcel to get to where it needs to go. But things are changing, and courier options can often be the more cost-effective route – especially if time is of the essence.
When you make your booking online you’ll get to see how long it will take for your parcel to get to its intended destination, and the costs involved. You might be surprised to see that your parcel can get to Australia in 8 days for just £33.99 or Canada in 7 days for £23.99. That gives you more time to shop for that perfect gift!
Enjoy the giving season!?Now that you know that shipping your gifts and parcels during the Christmas season doesn’t have to be a chore, you can enjoy shopping for presents for loved ones – and perhaps that must-have item for yourself – all at your leisure.