**As I’m not in the country anymore, sending me care packages would never get the proper love they deserve! However, I’ll keep this up for anyone interested in sending mail to someone they know serving in Mongolia. Mail sent from Ohio would typically reach my site in central Mongolia in 10-14 days. I never lost a package but there was a few months in the winter one year when a whole bunch of volunteers lost their stuff. It all got re-routed to Turkey for some reason.
The cheapest way to send me packages is to use the USPS Priority Mail International Flat Rate boxes (unless the package is very lightweight; then it’s cheaper to send via USPS Priority Mail, but NOT in the flat rate boxes). Anything via FedEx, UPS, or any other shipping service will cost much more and I will have to pick it up myself in UB (far, far away) or wait for one of my regional managers to come visit me (twice a year).
Remember that you will have to fill out a customs form at the post office as well in order to send packages internationally! And if you’re sending food items, list them last on the customs form or else the package will be more likely to be opened and searched.
Mail to Mongolia generally takes two to four weeks to arrive, and some mail may never arrive. Occasionally, letters may arrive with clipped edges because someone has tried to see if any money was inside. Also, some boxes may be opened by customs officials to ensure nothing illegal is being shipped.
- Number your outgoing mail so I know if something took awhile to arrive.
- Volunteers have found that letters and packages have a better chance of arriving if correspondents do not use a variety of interesting stamps;
- Use sturdy, well-taped boxes for packages (to discourage tampering);
- The following items cannot be mailed internationally: aerosols, alcoholic beverages, fresh fruit and vegetables, lithium batteries, nail polish, and perfumes containing alcohol.
I will love anything that you send me but if you’re short of ideas, here’s a few that will topple me over with honest-to-goodness love:
- Postcards and letters (!!!)
- Magazines that are reading intensive and your favorite paperbacks.
- Alternatively, magazines that are picture-heavy will be great for classroom and teaching purposes.
- Loose leaf tea
- Salt&pepper pistachios, almonds, mixed nuts/seeds of all kinds
- Dried fruit
- Coconut flakes/chips
- Scrumptious granola, oatmeal, muesli
- New movies/music
- Nutella, Almond butter
- Bakeables – Scone mix, cake mix, etc
- Things that will remind me of American holidays
- Surprise me! 🙂