How to Pack a Parcel Guidelines

Our top priority is getting your parcel delivered safe and sound. That's why we’ve asked the experts and created some packaging Do's and Don’ts to help you send your parcels.

Packaging do's

Brand new box

Do use a brand new, double walled box to package your items in. Re-used boxes offer less protection for your precious cargo.

Bubble wrap parcel

Do use plenty of internal packaging to secure your items such as bubble wrap or foam. Every layer of padding is an extra layer of protection. A minimum of 5cms is recommended.

Weigh Parcel

Do weigh and measure your parcel after it’s fully packaged. If your parcel is bigger or heavier than stated on your booking, you could face extra charges.

Write collection and delivery addresses on parcel

Do clearly write the collection and delivery address onto your parcel in marker pen. Don't forget to also include that all-important My Parcel Delivery booking reference number.

Print two copies of your label

Do print 2 copies of your label if your chosen delivery service needs one. Attach one to the outside and pop the other inside just in case the main label falls off.

Use strong tape

Do use strong parcel tape on all edges of your parcel. It'll help reinforce the corners of the box and make sure your parcel won’t fall open.

Attach pro-forma invoice to your parcel

Do attach your pro-forma invoices in an envelope on the outside of the parcel if required. It'll help customs so that they don’t need to open up your parcel.

Check for any distinguishing features

Do take a look at your packaged parcel and make a note of any distinguishing features. If your parcel needs identifying later, every detail will help.

Remove all labels

Do remove all other labels or old addresses from the box.

Packaging Dont's

Don't attach multiple parcels together as each parcel must have their ownbooking and MPD booking reference number. Our Multi Parcel Tool is the quickest way to book if you have more than one box to send.

Don't substitute "Fragile" and "Handle with care" labels for careful packaging. Your parcel is moved by machines that cannot read any written instructions.

Don't use household sellotape or rope to seal your parcel. Keep your contents safely inside by using strong parcel tape.

Don't package your parcel using bags made of fabric or cloth. They don't offeras much protection as a strong, cardboard box.

Don't tell everyone what’s in your parcel or the value of the contents by writingit on the box. Instead, just include the details on your booking.

Don't package your parcel with used or damaged boxes. Choose new, double walled boxes.

Don't choose packaging that can’t handle your load. Most boxes tell you the maximum weight they can safely carry so be sure to check this before you send.

Don't send a parcel that's smaller than A5 in size. You'll need to attach a label which will not work if it's wrapped around multiple sides of your parcel.

Don't wrap your cardboard box in shrink wrap if you're sending the parcel with UPS. Shrink wrapping your box could leave you facing an extra charge from UPS.

Parcel guidelines

It's best to follow these guidelines to the T as, if your parcel hasn't been packaged following these guidelines, it could be refused by the courier or face additional charges for repacking at the depot. What's more it could invalidate your compensation cover and we certainly wouldn't want that. We always say, if in doubt, add an extra layer of bubble wrap!

The most important thing to remember is that when parcels enter the courier sorting hubs, they join thousands of other parcels as they travel by conveyor belt from one place to the next. The machines won’t see any extra labels such as "fragile" or "this way up" so it's vital you package your item well enough to handle anything.

Choosing the best tools from the very beginning

Choose the right shape

  • Choosing the wrong type of packaging could leave your contents at risk but, if you think about what you're sending, you’ll know the right equipment.
  • Put powders and fine grains in strong plastic bags, seal them securely and then pack the bag in a quality cardboard box.
  • Use triangular tubes not cylinders to pack rolled plans, maps and blueprints.
  • Package all other items in strong cardboard boxes which will keep your bits and pieces safe and secure.

Remember that size matters

  • Under-filled boxes are likely to collapse as they travel along machines with other parcels, and overloaded ones could burst. Your contents should fit snugly inside the box with 5 cm of padding.

Quality counts

  • Consider strength, cushioning, and durability when you choose your packaging. Choose boxes made of corrugated cardboard, with good quality outer liners, and, if your contents are a bit more fragile, use heavy-duty, double-layered boxes

Perfectly packing the contents

Wrap them up

  • As you parcel travels far and wide, it’s unavoidably subject to shocks. Stop your contents damaging each other by wrapping each items separately in bubble wrap and keeping your fragile items right in the centre of the parcel.

Cushion from the bottom and sides

  • Pop some padding in the bottom of your box followed by a layer of double corrugated card before you put your wrapped items in. Then cushion the contents with at least 5cm of padding all around.

Cushion from the top

  • Finally, pop some more double corrugated card on top of the padding to make sure everything stays in place. It’s best to leave some room to place extra cushioning on top of this too.

Ensure the finishing touches to your parcel

The seal of approval

  • Close the flaps on your box carefully so that none of your padding escapes. Then seal your parcel with 5cm wide, strong parcel tape to stop it flying open.

Warn the couriers

  • If your parcel is particularly heavy (25kg or over), give the courier a heads up by marking it as "Heavy". It will save their back and minimise the risk of them dropping it in surprise.

Keep it simple

  • Don't use strings or cords: they can get tangled up in machines. Just pop your address, shipping labels and customs information on the top surface of the box and avoid putting it across the parcel tape as there may be movement here.