Just received a shipment of paintings from India and it led to me wonder, has anyone had any trouble shipping souvenirs from abroad and if so, what did you do about it? Or, are you particularly frightened by the idea of shipping valuable items from remote countries?
I've honestly had excellent luck shipping souvenirs from all over the world - carpets and fabrics from Turkey, Egypt and India, glass from Italy, ceramics from Japan, etc. The first couple times I tried it I was a little nervous but nothing ever happened, nothing has been broken and we've received all shipments. I always ship through what I believe are reputable vendors (based on whatever little information I have at the time) and always through vendors who take my credit card so at the very least I could use Visa as a mediator should something go wrong. And we've had better luck with shipped items than with carried items, as several pieces of packed pottery managed to break on in our suitcase on the way home one time!
Yes we have used shipping services, with great success, for ceramics from San Gimignano, Italy. While I was reading your post I was thinking of the time, the shipped items came in one piece, and the ones in our valise were in a hundred pieces. I guess we experienced the same thing.
My normal rule is 'if it doesn't fit in my luggage, it doesn't go home', mostly to keep my shopping under control But when I have shipped stuff (from South Africa) it arrived home in good condition. It was very inexpensive too (much less than the overweight luggage fee would have been).
Shipping trip souvenirs has always been useful to me. I've sent olive oil, wines and many delicate gifties from overseas to my home and have not lost a drop of the good stuff. It also frees me up from carrying heavier baggage and from Customs going through all of my stuff only to have to repack in front of everyone. Cheers...Marolyn
Good point about Customs, Marolyn. Here's another Customs-related consideration: before you go, check to see the maximum value you can ship back to yourself without incurring duty and/or the interest of customs officials. It depends on where you go and sometimes how long you stay.
By breaking up a larger shipment which is over the dutiable limit into two smaller ones which are under the limit, you can both save yourself some money and avoid having your pacakges (mis)handled by the customs inspectors.
Sometimes the duty-free allowance is higher for goods you bring in yourself than the per-package allowance, in which case you can ship your laundry or other things home (labelling them 'used personal goods' -- no limit on those) and bring your expensive purchases in with you (and also avoid doing your laundry -- now that's killing two birds with one stone!)