Parcels packed into packages awaiting shipment

Is a parcel a package?

As the words parcel and package are often used interchangeably, the difference isn’t completely clear cut. However, one way to differentiate between the two may lie in the way an item is shipped.

A ‘package’ could refer to a box of items personally delivered to another person, e.g. a ‘care package’. On the other hand, a ‘parcel’ can imply that an item has been carefully prepared – wrapped and sealed in anticipation of transit.

‘Package’ is a general term for an item or items that are packed up. Should that item need to be transported (often by a third party), it may sometimes be referred to as a ‘parcel’ once it has been wrapped accordingly for shipment.

For the purposes of getting your item to its destination, we tend not to draw a distinction. What matters more is that your parcel or package, and its contents, reach the recipient safely and efficiently.

Roll of bubble wrap used as protective packaging for parcel

How to properly package your parcel

Proper wrapping materials are important in transforming your ‘package’ from a collection of items into a securely wrapped parcel.

Select a container for your shipment

Choose an appropriately sized container for the contents of your parcel, considering the strength and padding required. Cardboard boxes, especially double-walled or corrugated, fare much better than fabric or paper.

Pack parcel items tightly

Utilise the space available to you to keep your parcel within size limits and keep shipping costs down. Clever placement of items can be the difference between small parcels and medium parcels.

While ‘fragile’ or ‘handle with care’ labels may help human couriers, conveyor belts and automated machinery involved in processing your items will be indifferent to these requests. Only sufficient packaging will protect valuable or breakable items.

Affix labels to the outside of packaging

Write the collection or delivery address clearly and legibly, as well as any additional delivery details. Putting the reference number on the outside of the box can further help to ensure smooth, uninterrupted delivery.

It is good practice to affix one label to the outside of the box, while placing a duplicate label inside the box. If the outer label is lost or damaged during shipping, it will still be possible to identify the destination.

Tape the packaging shut

Once everything is correctly packed and labelled, secure with strong parcel tape to ensure nothing falls out during transit. Check to make sure no items are loose or rattling around to minimise damage to the goods or the container.

Check the weight and dimensions of the parcel or package

Once your parcel is secure, check the weight and dimensions so you can provide the courier with accurate information, avoiding extra costs or delays.

Parcels being weighed on electronic scales

Parcel and package item sizing

As parcels may contain anything, it’s important when considering how you’re packaging your parcel to be aware of different carriers’ size restrictions.

To reduce costs, it’s worth trying to fit small and light items into the smallest possible packaging, e.g. a large padded envelope, as opposed to a small box.

The volumetric weight of a parcel

Courier services commonly use volumetric weight to price parcels, as opposed to size. To calculate this, simply add the length, width and height (in centimetres) of your parcel, and divide by 5000.

Parcels that are the same size can vary in price if they are different weights.

Parcel and package shipping costs

It’s common for prices to differ for the same parcel across different courier services, this can be due to the way each service calculates volumetric weight, or a variety of other reasons.

One of the biggest variables will be the chosen shipping method. Express delivery will inevitably cost more than standard delivery, as will tracked delivery. Often, the faster you need a parcel delivered, the more expensive it will be to send it.

Choosing a courier to handle your parcels and packages

Impact Express can transport whatever you are shipping to its destination, be it a parcel or a package, efficiently and at competitive prices. We have a variety of shipping options to suit different requirements, and service over 200 international shipping destinations worldwide.

With convenience, speed, and care at the forefront of our service, you can ship your parcels with confidence. Use our instant quote tool to get an accurate delivery estimate. Alternatively, get in touch with our experienced and friendly team today for more information.


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