Originally Posted by MicheleMade
Barb, Here is what I would recommend. If you haven't shipped internationally before, start out gradually with some of the more reliable countries. Opening yourself up to worldwide shipping can cause all kinds of issues down the road (some countries have corrupt postal systems or just unethical workers or customs agents, some countries have a great number of restrictions on what can enter the country, etc.). Here are the shipping options I've been using to keep it all simple until the shipping gets revamped on ArtYah:
USPS First Class Mail - United States
USPS Priority Mail - United States
If you print your shipping labels using PayPal the customs form will be a part of the label, a lot like on Etsy. If you print the label through the transaction on PayPal, some of the info will already be filled out for you, which makes it easier.
Since some countries charge customs fees, be sure to protect yourself by having something like the following paragraph in your descriptions or policies. You can use this exactly if you like, it's derived from one that eBay recommended many years ago. International Buyers Please Note: Import duties, taxes, and charges are not included in the item price or shipping cost. These charges are the buyer's responsibility. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to buying.
I also have the following information in my listings and policies. If anyone would like to use any part of this, or adapt it to your own listings, feel free. (:
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: I always combine shipping for multiple orders. I most commonly use USPS First Class International for shipping outside of the US. First Class International may take a longer time to arrive than other services, but it's much more affordable than Priority International (which usually runs $25 or more for a few ounces). Delivery time for international packages is usually 5 to 15 business days. Customs, bad weather, or national holidays can sometimes slow down a package with the occasional shipment taking around 30 days to arrive. This only happens to about 5% of my international shipments. (:
In the last four years, USPS has raised prices significantly for First Class International, in some cases more than doubling the amount they used to charge before 2013. On a positive note, as part of that price increase, they include tracking and delivery confirmation as part of the First Class service for almost all the countries I ship to.
To keep shipping costs down, I will use lightweight polymer shipping envelopes as often as possible. For multiple items, I may find a cardboard box is best.