Guide to The Cheapest Way to Ship Internationally in 2021

Vanessa Tran , Feb 24 2021

International shipping can be complicated, and finding the cheapest international shipping method is even more difficult. With an abundance of options and estimated delivery times, you may be feeling overwhelmed.

Don't fear! We've researched for you and came up with the cheapest way to ship internationally.


Related: Hacks For Saving On Shipping Costs


USPS and International Shipping


USPS offers a variety of options for international shipping. Let's assume shipment from the Bay Area, CA, U.S. to Greater London, UK.


Global Express Guaranteed ( public rates)


Weight: 0.5 - 4lbs

Expected delivery: 1-3 business days

Cost: $87.05 - $126.55


Weight: 5lbs - 20lbs

Expected delivery: 1-3 business days

Cost: $134.25 - $227.10


Weight: 21lbs - 70lbs

Expected delivery: 1-3 business days

Cost: $233.35 - $517.65


All in all, too pricey! The only benefit to this method is a delivery time of 1-3 business days, although USPS makes no guarantees.


Priority Mail International (public rates)


Small Flat Rate Box:

Maximum weight: 4 pounds

USPS-Produced Box: 8-5/8" x 5-3/8" x 1-5/8"

Expected Delivery Date: 6-10 business days

Cost: $40.85


Medium Flat Rate Box:

Maximum weight: 20 pounds

USPS-Produced Box: 13-5/8" x 11-7/8" x 3-3/8" or 11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2"

Expected Delivery Date: 6-10 business days

Cost: $83.65


Large Flat Rate Box:

Maximum weight: 20 pounds

USPS-Produced Box: 23-11/16" x 11-3/4" x 3" or 12" x 12" x 5-1/2"

Expected Delivery Date: 6-10 business days

Cost: $108.50


These are your average estimates from the Bay Area, CA, U.S. to Greater London, UK, but if you're looking for something particular, check out USPS's price chart. This also includes information if you're looking to ship to and from different countries.


UPS International Shipping (public rates)


UPS offers excellent tracking on their packages and has a variety of international shipment options. Using a medium size (13-5/8" x 11-7/8" x 3-3/8") and weight (20 lbs) box as detailed for USPS, these are the quotes we got to ship from Bay Area, CA, U.S. to Greater London, UK.


UPS Worldwide Expedited:

Expected Delivery: 4 business days

Cost: $329.24 


UPS Worldwide Saver:

Expected delivery: 2 business days, end-of-day

Cost: $354.92


UPS Worldwide Express:

Expected delivery: 2 business days before end-of-day

Cost: $357.75


UPS Worldwide Express Plus:

Expected delivery: 2 business days, by the beginning of the second day

Cost: $399.75


Note that this is for a 20lb parcel without any volume discounts. Business discounts will reduce these costs. To calculate an exact price for your needs, check out UPS's estimator.


Related: What Are The Things To Know When Shipping To An International Buyer's Door In Europe?


FedEx International Shipping (public rates)


FedEx uses many factors to determine shipping costs, including dimensions of the package, delivery time, and package weight. They provide you with free boxes for shipping.

To get a quote on your exact shipping needs, use FedEx's cost estimator.


For a 20 lb package traveling from the Bay Area, CA, U.S. to Greater London, UK:

Expected delivery: 2 business days

Cost: $260.78


That's fast delivery at a cheaper cost than UPS, but it's still quite expensive. Unless you're pressed for time, FedEx won't be your most affordable option.


The Cheapest International Shipping Option


If you're only concerned about pricing, USPS remains one of the cheapest options.

However, USPS is overwhelmed with orders and struggling due to COVID-19, so their delivery times lag significantly for many customers. Additionally, USPS is known for insufficient tracking services.

That's where we come in. Not only does Parcll offer a faster delivery time of 4-6 days into Europe, but clearing customs is significantly easier, and 100% tracking is included. Save money and time on your high-volume B2C orders today!


Related: Cross-Border E-Commerce Pain Points


shipping boxes


Other Factors to Consider


Although cost is significant, many other factors weigh into shipping a package, especially overseas.




One big draw of UPS and FedEx is their detailed tracking methods. You can check your parcel's status at any time to see where it currently is, where it was last, and what the expected arrival date is. These are updated rigorously.

Recently, USPS added tracking, but not on all shipments. Be sure to check with your post office. However, as previously mentioned, tracking with USPS is often inaccurate and lacks detail; it is also significantly interrupted due to COVID-19. UPS and FedEx come out on top in terms of tracking.


Customer Service


Not all shipping companies are created equal, and this varies depending on your local area. Scout out the shipping services around you and see which reps take their time and offer unique ways to help you save costs and which want to send you out the door.

Customer service and who's handling your package matter even more when shipping to customers who are depending on you to give them an intact package. Make sure your company of choice handles packages with care.


Save Money, Ask Questions


Shipping companies offer B2B customer rates and volume discounts that aren't advertised online. Always check your options before shipping a package and ask the salesperson to assist you with a customized offering.


Related: What To Look For When Choosing The Right International Parcel Shipping Company




As far as the traditional big 3 carriers go, USPS is the cheapest way to ship internationally. However, their tracking methods are subpar, and shipments can take a very long time to arrive.

When you're running a B2C business with a high volume of shipments, your reputation depends on your packages arriving in a timely, reliable fashion. That's where Parcll can help.


Reach out to the team here at Parcll Delivery for your high-volume shipping needs. We have competitive prices, excellent package tracking, and fast transit rates, making us the leading B2C cross-border shipping carrier from the U.S. to Europe.


packing boxes

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