12 Reasons to Send Postcards When You Travel
SPONSORED — I don’t actually remember the first postcard I ever received, or even the first time I sent one. Was it from one of my father’s work trips? Or was it from my aunt who always seemed to be in faraway exotic places? I don’t know. But I do know that today I have friends who sent me postcards almost every time they travel: New York, Cyprus, Brazil.
The first postcard I distinctly remember sending was one to my Aunt Ann. A last-minute getaway to Paris for a weekend shortly after graduating college. I bought and wrote it while sitting on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Champ du Mars. A quickly scribbled note about how I felt I belonged in Europe, that I could see myself living in Paris. Of course there were many postcards before, and many more after. (I once sent 97 postcards from when I was living in Tel Aviv—a little “thank you” to fans and friends across social media.) But it’s funny to think a throwaway note is something I’ve always treasured.
Today, postcards are everywhere and even when they blend naturally into the background of any sidewalk shop, I still find myself browsing through the racks. On a trip to Lausanne, Switzerland I found a batch of erotic postcards in a quirky bookshop. And in Berlin, it’s become a ritual to flip through the thousands of old postcards I’ve found in flea markets.
Even while I stop to look at postcards when traveling, I don’t send as many postcards as I used to. I forget to buy stamps, or I simply can’t find one with an image that I like. Thankfully I’ve found a cure for my laziness in the form of a postcard app!
The MyPostcard.com app allows you to create and physically send your own postcards. It’s quick, easy, and—best part!—it’s cheap.
Try the MyPostcard.com app for FREE
Simply use the code travelsofadam at checkout and you’ll get one free postcard to send!
12 Reasons to Send Postcards When You Travel
1. Postcards make the best souvenirs
Key chains, pens, magnets, teddy bears—all sorts of souvenirs are available for tourists everywhere in the world, but for me postcards are one of a kind. But nothing beats a photo from where you’ve been. (Except maybe if it’s *your* photo! The MyPostcard app lets you upload photos directly from Instagram to create your very own postcards.)
2. Everyone loves to get something in the mail
There’s something special about opening up your mailbox and finding a postcard. A personal note, a hand-selected photography from the other side of the world. Often, I open up my email inbox with dread each day, but checking my mailbox is a totally different experience. Think about it: postcards and pen pals were actually the first global social network.
It’s easy to use the MyPostcard app! You can select photos and send a postcard in under 3 minutes with just a handful of clicks. And FREE worldwide shipping! Try the app for free with code “travelsofadam” at checkout.
3. It’s the easiest souvenir to buy
Big cities like Berlin and London have free postcards everywhere (although some of them are sponsored or are a subtle form of advertising). Museums, trendy cafés, souvenir stores, bookstores, cinemas. All these places and many more offer postcards, frequently depicting the city or place you’re visiting, but also with fun messages or philosophical thoughts.
And even when they’re hard to find, there are apps like MyPostcard which make it easy to send a postcard from literally ANYWHERE in the world.
Postcard shopping can be serious business
4. Postcards are cheap!
The average price of a postcard is about 1$ or 1€, though the price goes up the closer you are to historical monuments. (I’ve seen postcards for as much as 3€ in Rome!) And it you add the price of the stamp, it’s often a really good deal.
With the MyPostcard app, you can send a postcard from anywhere in the world for as little as $1.99—that includes the custom imagery, the design, and even the postage!
5. They don’t take up any space
You’re traveling around the green hills of Scotland or crossing Texas on a road trip and you don’t want to carry much, right? Postcards are small and portable. They’re light, they fit everywhere (inside of books, in your camera bag, inside your computer case), and you can discard them as easily as you get them. The hard part is always finding a postbox (though many hotels will often send them for you in a pinch).
Pro tip: Use the MyPostcard app which only takes up a few megabytes of space on your phone. You can send your travel selfies and photos direct as postcards with a few clicks from your phone! Download the app here.
6. Sometimes it’s the best way to keep in touch with family and friends
Sure, we’ve got things like WhatsApp, Facebook, and iMessage to stay in touch. But there’s nothing like a physical postcard that you can hold in your hand. It has a lot more meaning when it’s a physical object—one that you have to touch. The power of the object is stronger and we remember it longer.
7. Postcards inspire us to travel more
Postcards help to create connections to places in a personal way. When you receive a postcard from a place you’ve never been—with a personal note of endorsement from a friend…it’s hard not to want to eventually share that same experience. Friends have sent me postcards from Cyprus, from Japan, from Peru…even from North Korea! And a lot of those places are ones I’d love to visit, or at least their travels have inspired me to discover more about those places.
My own postcards I’ve sent from places like Costa Rica or Vietnam have certainly inspired others to visit those same places. Postcards make our world bigger. They inspire us to do more, to travel more, to see more.
8. A photo is worth a thousand words
You have to be a great storyteller to describe the golden rooms of the European palaces, or the neon nightlife of Las Vegas. Visual representations speak to us in ways that words sometimes cannot. Today, Instagram often fills that void. It’s why we often put up all our best travel photos on social media (inspiring serious cases of both FOMO and wanderlust).
Pro tip: Use the MyPostcard app to connect to your Instagram and send your photos out as postcards. Use code travelsofadam to send one free postcard from anywhere in the world!
Old postcards found in Barcelona
9. You can hang them on your wall
Or on your fridge, like many friends of mine do. You can collect them in a pile on your desk. Postcards are excellent reminders of great times, holidays when we were young and naïve, times that helped us to grow. I regularly find old postcards I’ve received in books (when I’ve used them as bookmarks). When you find an old postcard you may have received years before, there’s something exhilarating and exciting about a reminder from the past.
Pro tip: With MyPostcard.com you can print and send jumbo size XXL postcards, greeting cards or even just create a set of photo prints. Send a postcard to your friend and print the photo for yourself to send home, too!
10. They’re recyclable
Okay, not every postcard is worth saving. If you’re not like me and don’t keep every piece of paper you’ve ever received, postcards are perfect for those fast connections—a quick reminder, a greeting, a friendly “hello” from a faraway friend. And when it’s received and you’ve thanked them for the thought, it’s easy to pass it on. Postcards are almost always made of paper and therefore are recyclable. Once a postcard has served it’s purpose, it’s easy to move on.
11. Postcards will make you smile—no matter what
Postcards can change your mood; they invite us to dream. Like messages in a bottle, they show up unexpectedly and have an almost immediate effect. From that moment when you see the photo in your mailbox, to turning it over and wondering “who’s this from?” You can’t help but smile.
An actual postcard I once sent from Egypt – somehow the top half went missing :/
12. Almost anything can be a postcard
No joke: I once sent a pressed autumn leaf as postcard. I was living in New England and wanted to show a friend back home what the autumn colors were like. So I found and pressed a red-orange maple leaf, added some tape and colored paper to make it a bit more sturdy, scribbled an address and a note, slapped a stamp on it and sent it off. I wasn’t sure it’d make it through the post, but it did!
Today, sending postcards is easier than ever. Print-on-demand apps like MyPostcard make it simple to upload and share your photos as postcards. You get to use your own photos, easily create your own designs and send it off simply and cheaply.
Sending postcards is easy. It’s fun. But importantly: it’s friendly. We need more joy in our lives, more joy in our mailboxes. Whether you’re traveling for the first time or you’re a frequent flyer, we should all be sending more postcards. During these times where everything is instantaneous, waiting for a postcard is something that disrupts the boring routines of our lives. It’s a reason to check the mailbox every day.
BONUS: Get a free postcard!
I’ve teamed up with MyPostcard.com to offer everyone a free postcard to send! Simply follow these three easy steps:
How to Send a Letter or Postcard: International
When you send a letter from the U.S. to another country, the address may be a little different, but it’s still easy and affordable: it only costs $1.40 to send a 1 oz letter (or postcard) using a USPS ® Global Forever ® stamp.
For mail to U.S. destinations (including U.S. territories and APO/FPO/DPO addresses), see How to Send a Letter or Postcard: Domestic.
For instructions on how to ship a package to another country, see How to Send a Package: International.
Send International Mail: Step-by-Step Instructions
Step 1: Ask, “Can I Send This?”
Different countries have different rules on what they’ll allow in. Look up your destination country in the Index of Countries and Localities to make sure you’re following their rules.
If you’re just sending correspondence (no trading cards, bookmarks, stickers, etc.) or nonnegotiable documents (just paper; no cash, checks, or other items that have cash value), you don’t need a customs form.
Reminder: You can only use First-Class Mail International ® service to send correspondence (like a personal or business letter) or other nonnegotiable documents in a letter that weighs up to 3.5 oz or large envelope that weighs under 15.994 oz.
Step 2: Choose Your Envelope or Postcard
Envelopes are for sending paper documents like letters, cards, and forms.
Postcards are for short messages that you don’t need to put in an envelope.
Just like U.S. letters, international letters must be rectangular and made of paper to qualify for letter prices. Letter envelopes for international mail can be 11-1/2″ long x 6-1/8″ high. (A standard No. 10 envelope is 9-1/2″ long x 4-1/8″ high.) You can fold what you put in your envelope, but it needs to stay flat—no more than 1/4″ thick.
TIP: If your letter can’t fit through USPS ® mail processing equipment, it’s “nonmachinable” and you’ll have to pay $0.39 more to send it. (See additional postage in Step 4.) Nonmachinable items include envelopes that are lumpy or rigid, or have clasps, string, or buttons. You’ll also have to pay more if your envelopes are square or vertical (taller than they are wide).
If you want to send letter-sized correspondence without folding it, you can use a large envelope (called a ‘flat”); the postage for international flats starts at $2.75. If your large envelope is nonrectangular, rigid (can’t bend), or lumpy (not uniformly thick), you’ll have to pay the package price.
Postcards: Standard postcards are usually made of thick paper (cardstock), are between 5-1/2″ to 6″ long and 3-1/2″ to 4-1/4″ high, and are no more than 0.016″ thick. Sending a regular-sized, rectangular postcard from the U.S. to another country costs the same as sending a letter.
Step 3: Address Your Mail
International address formats are different for each country. You also need to write the delivery address in English (if you need to use another language, add the English translation after each line).
Envelopes: Write your address (the “return” or “sender” address) in the top left corner (and put “USA” on the last line). Write the delivery address in the center (near the bottom). Put the destination country’s name (in English) on the last line.
Postcards: Postcards come in different formats, so write the delivery address in the space it gives you (on the same side you write your message and put the stamp).
Print your return address and the delivery address clearly, in the correct spots, to make sure your mail is delivered on time.
International Address Format Tips
- Print addresses neatly in capital letters.
- Use a pen or permanent marker.
- Don’t use commas or periods.
Write Sender Address
Write your address in the U.S. (the “return address”) in the top-left corner. Include the following on separate lines:
- Your full name or company name
- Apartment or suite number
- Full street address
- City, State, and ZIP+4 Code ®
Write Delivery Address
Write the delivery address in the bottom center of the envelope.
You must write the delivery address in English, though you can include the delivery address in another language (like Russian, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, or Chinese), if you write the English translation after each line.
Many countries use different address formats (for example, the Postal Code might go before the city). Get specific information about other countries’ postal addresses by going to the Universal Postal Union and clicking “Postal Addressing Systems (PAS)”.
Generally, include the following on separate lines:
- Recipient’s full name or company name
- Full street address
- City, Subdivision (like province, state, county), and Postal Code
Address Example (United Kingdom):
MR THOMAS CLARK
117 RUSSELL DRIVE
LONDON W1P 6HQ
NOTE: If you’re sending mail to a U.S. territory, U.S. military base, or U.S. embassy in another country (APO/FPO/DPO mail), see How to Send a Letter or Postcard: Domestic.
IMPORTANT: When you send using First-Class Mail International, you must write “AIRMAIL/PAR AVION” on the address side of your postcard, letter, or large envelope.
When you’re done addressing your envelope, put what you’re sending inside the envelope, then close and seal it.
Step 4: Calculate & Apply Postage
For just 1 $1.40 First-Class Mail International Global Forever stamp, you can send a 1 oz letter or postcard to any other country in the world.
Put stamps in the upper right corner of the envelope. (For postcards, put the stamp in the space provided near the delivery address.)
If your letter is heavier or bigger, if your postcard is large or square, or if you want to add extra services, you’ll need to pay more.
Postage for international letters depends on weight, size/shape, and the price group of the country that you’re sending to. (See the Country Price Groups listing.)
You can weigh your letter with a kitchen scale, postal scale, at a self-service kiosk, or at the Post Office ™ counter.
TIP: As a rule of thumb, you can send a 1 oz letter (4 sheets of regular printer paper and a business-sized envelope) or a postcard—to any country in the world—for 1 First-Class Mail ® Global Forever stamp (currently $1.40). You can also use any other combination of stamps that adds up to $1.40.
The postage for a large envelope (or flat) starts at $2.75 for 1 oz.
Where Can I Buy Postage?
Shop online for all stamps and add-on postage for oversized or heavier envelopes.
Buy stamps at Post Offices, self-service kiosks, or at Approved Postal Providers ® such as grocery and drug stores.
If your letter weighs over 1 oz, you can buy additional postage in the amount you need, up to 3.5 oz. (Also, you can mail a large envelope that weighs up to 15.994 oz, paying the rate for large envelopes [flats].):
- The price for each additional ounce will depend on the destination country’s price group:
- Find the country in the Country Price Groups section of the Price List page, look in the “First-Class Mail Int’l” Price Group column, and get the price group number.
- Look in the First-Class Mail International Price List to see the fees for that price group.
- Or, just use the International Price Calculator.
- Nonmachinable letters that are lumpy, rigid, or rectangular, or that have clasps, string, or buttons will cost $0.39 more to send. You’ll also have to pay more if your letters are square or vertical (taller than they are wide).
- You can also buy 1¢, 2¢, 3¢, 5¢, and 10¢ stamps at The Postal Store ® .
- Note: If your large envelope (flat) is lumpy, rigid, or nonrectangular, you’ll have to pay the package price.
TIP: Put the stamp on last; that way, if you make a mistake at any other point, you won’t waste a stamp.
If you want insurance, proof of delivery, signature services, or other optional services, you’ll have to pay extra. Note that not all extra services are available for all products; our International Insurance & Extra Services page has more details.
When you go to the Post Office to mail First-Class Mail International letters, some of the more common extra services that you can add include:
- Registered Mail ® : Requires that the recipient sign for the mail to confirm delivery (or attempted delivery). Registered items are handled separately and securely while in the U.S.—destination country procedures may vary. The office of mailing will keep a mailing receipt, and the office of destination will keep a record of delivery.
- Return Receipt: Available as an add-on when you use Registered Mail service to send a First-Class Mail International item. When you mail the item from a Post Office, a card is attached. When the item is delivered (or delivery is attempted), the card is signed and sent to you as a delivery record. (Note that some countries may not require a recipient signature.)
- Certificate of Mailing: Proof that you mailed something from a Post Office location.
A Note on Tracking: You can’t get tracking on First-Class Mail International letters. You can use Registered Mail service with Return Receipt, or use a USPS international package shipping service that offers tracking.
TIP: If you’re sending large envelopes (flats) using Priority Mail ® International, Priority Mail Express ® International, or First-Class Package International Service ® , you can use Click-N-Ship ® service to pay for and print your own postage online.
Step 5: Send Your Mail
Once your envelope or postcard has the correct addresses and postage, you can send it several ways, including putting it in your mailbox or dropping it in a blue collection box or at a Post Office location.
- Put your letter inside your mailbox and raise the flag (if you have one).
- If you have a cluster mailbox, drop it in the outgoing mail slot.
- Drop it off in a blue collection box.
- Take it to a Post Office™ lobby drop.
Important Note: If your envelope has postage stamps and weighs more than 10 oz or is thicker than 1/2″, you can’t put it in a collection box; you have to give it to an employee at a Post Office location. See more details on What Can and Cannot be Deposited in a Collection Box ® ? (Also see specific guidance around dropping off mail that requires customs forms—though if you’re sending mail under 15.994 oz that’s just documents, you don’t need to do a customs form.)
Send Postcards to South Africa
Customize your postcard from your phone or computer and Postalie will send it to South Africa for you.
How to send a postcard to South Africa?
1. Create your postcard directly from your phone/computer
Forget the giftshop, create yourself your personalised postcard directly from your phone or your computer with Postalie.
2. Write the message of your postcard
Add the main message of your postcard. Customise this message by selecting the font. The message will be printed with the font you selected.
3. Write the address of the recipient in South Africa
Add the address of the recipient of your postcard. Postalie takes care of adding a stamp and sending your postcard to South Africa.
4. You’re done! Just click “Send”
You’re all set! Once you’ve created your postcard, Postalie will print your postcard and send it to South Africa for you.
Create your postcard with Postalie!
Postalie takes care for you of delivering your postcard anywhere in the world. You just have to create them.
How does it work?
Customise your postcards
from your phone or computer
We print and send your postcard
How much does it cost?
At Postalie we only have one price. This price includes the print, the stamp and the delivery of your postcard.
With Postalie the price is always the same! For 3€ you can send your postcard anywhere. This price includes: printing, stamping and delivery.
Not with Postalie! With Postalie,just write and create your postcard from your phone or you computer. You don’t have to worry about the stamps or the delivery fees, we’ll take care of that for you.