My current mail forwarding arrangement has friends in US holding my mail. Every few months we do an internet video session where they open my mail, toss the chaff, scan the rest and send to me electronically. Stuff that can't be sent electronically (i.e., certain documents or physical objects) has to wait until my next visit back home, which may mean waiting many months to receive it.
My friends back home are willing to continue this arrangement (I pay them for their effort). However, the time has come to receive mail without them opening it.
It's a matter of personal privacy, pure and simple.
I know there are mail forwarding services in the US.
I have investigated them and find them to be expensive. Furthermore, I wish to keep my mailing address in the same state where it is presently. This pretty much rules out the existing services.
I think the best way to proceed is to ask my friends to forward my stuff by FedEx, say every few months. More expensive than scanning, but the privacy issue is now a priority.
How to handle my Chinese address.
Will it reach me sooner, more reliably if the address is written in Hanzi? Will it *ever* arrive if transliterated into alphabetical characters? Should my phone number be included somewhere on the envelope?
My friends don't know Chinese and I can't expect them to print Chinese characters.
Is there an easy way for them to print out my address and insert/apply it to the Fedex envelope?
Send them your address in Chinese characters by email printed as if on a label, have them print out what you send & then glue it onto envelope. More reliable than transliteration to pinyin.
I have a vague memory of sending stuff by FedEx before.
I seem to recall that you had to print the address on a form. I don't know what FedEx currently requires.
So I don't have first hand knowledge of whether a print-out of the
address can be used in place of writing the address out by hand.
Have them stick it on as accompaniment to the transliteration they write on the form.
Defintely include your phone number.
@kc430 I've friends at home who vet my mail, scan the important stuff and rarely, they send stuff on to me physically, like replacement bank cards. Starts off in UK by Royal Mail and is delivered by ChinaPost EMS. The outside of the package has my address in both English and Chinese, and, as suggested above, a contact name and telephone number. The latter is essential. I can track it all the way to Beijing after which there is nothing until 'delivered'. Never had a problem and last replacement card was received two weeks ago.
The US post office works too. I've had my brother successfully mail me my credit cards. Just follow aliennew advice. In addition, I added the pinyin to the Chinese. Phone number seems required. Anyways, as long as you use the expensive options like FedEx, UPS, or post office global express, and it's just a letter container, as opposed to a box, you're delivery should come through without issue and as fast as three to four days after mailing, depending on when it's dropped off.
My sister tried to FedEx my credit cards from Canada a few months ago. They would no longer accept a printed label.
Everything had to fit in their computer system, which meant typing in Pinyin, and if the address or postal postal code wasn't correct or not in their system they wouldn't take it.
AlPage48, was your sister successful in sending you the cards via FedEx, or did she have to send them a different way?
I use the US Postal Office Express Mail Services (EMS?). It's typically less expensive than FEDEX.
You can also setup billing accounts with FEDEX, so FEDEX bills your account as opposed to bothering friends and then reimbursing them - they just need to remember to enter your FEDEX billing account# on the packages.
Not sure if EMS has this same feature.
For transmission of packages to China, I ALWAYS include the Chinese name, address, phone number (mobile) on the outside of the package for domestic convenience, once a package arrives in China.
I then wait for the call from the international post office on Beijing Lu - and marvel at how they ever find or deliver anything in that warehouse of seemingly randomly stored packages, parcels, and letters.