Inexpensive Ways for Au Pairs to Ship Boxes Back Home

by cv harquail on October 11, 2017

I knew we’d had a few posts about sending Au Pairs’ stuff back home when they leave — but I didn’t realize it had been seven years ago!
Let’s update our info on best rates and options:  What does your family do?
Our au pair is leaving in April after spending two years with our family.
Since her last summer is ending, she wants to ship back her summer items and get a jump on moving. Plus, we have plenty of time and aren’t in a rush to get things there right away.
Does anyone have recommendations for a good, cheap shipping option? FedEx, DHL and UPS are all cost-prohibitive.


Chicago Host Mom October 12, 2017 at 7:35 pm

We usually buy a large LLBean rolling duffle for our au pair’s final Christmas or shortly before they leave. It is indestructible and expands to fit scads of stuff – we have found it is an effective way for (most) au pairs to pack a single extra suitcase. It is usually overweight and they pay the excess baggage charge to get it home but it is large enough that it eliminates them having to pack multiple extra bags and ship boxes – it gets most of the items in one big bag. Plus then they have a nice piece of luggage, monogrammed with their name for future adventures. They come in all colors and by then we know their favorites so it is kinda cool to personalize it that way.

TexasHM October 12, 2017 at 11:28 pm

We also research every round and have never found an affordable way to get boxes home. We too have bought an additional on sale large suitcase and/or paid the bag fees to get it home. We also encourage their friends/family that come visit to pack super light and bring the max allowed so our APs can load them up with souvenirs and out of season clothes. That has helped a ton. Last AP didn’t even need the extra bag but she’d done exactly that – mom brought two suitcases and used half of one so she loaded her up.

I’ve also seen APs do that with their friends/other APs from the same country. For example our previous AP is coming back to visit and she’s from South Africa and another South African AP she is friends with here is having her mom drop some things off with our ex AP so that she can bring it to her. I would be willing to bet when that same AP goes home from her visit that she ends up taking some of her South African AP friends’ stuff back with her too. ;). These APs are pretty resourceful. As were we when we were 20 something and cash strapped! :)

FormerAupairNowNanny October 13, 2017 at 2:52 pm

When I was an Au Pair in 2014, a lot of us used this polish shipping company. It takes a while until the packages arrive (as far as I know, they literally put them on (container?) ships, which is how they can keep prices so low, but if your AP doesn’t need certain things for the rest of her year, I don’t see a problem with that (think seasonal clothes, as mentioned above). However, I’m fairly sure they only ship to Europe. Maybe a Google search will bring to light their shipping destinations & prices. :)

NorcalTwinMom October 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Our most recent two APs have used this Polish shipping company:

Elizabeth October 16, 2017 at 1:42 pm

There are low cost freight places that will ship suitcases and boxes for very little. We are in the NY Metro area and there are places where all the local APs take their stuff a month before they leave – it takes 4-6 weeks to get home but it’s insured and super cheap.

massmom October 17, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Parcel Polonez! They are a Polish parcel service. My last AP used it and it delivered fine…it can take awhile, but is cost-effective option.

mama October 30, 2017 at 9:27 am

There’s a place in Boston (Allston) that au pairs have used to ship packages to Europe. I believe they fill up a container and when it’s full they send on a ship, then when it arrives in Europe the packages are sent via DHL. Takes a while but is cheaper. Not sure about the location but I’ve heard it’s at the back of a convenience or clothing store or something…au pair said it looked kinda sketchy but her stuff arrived ok.

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