How to Mail a Postcard

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Sending a postcard home shows your friends and family that you’re thinking of them. It can be a great way to preserve a snapshot of your time in an exciting and exotic locale. The process of sending a postcard is fundamentally similar to sending a letter: you’ll need to add the correct number of stamps; properly address the card; write your message; and find a place to mail it.

Steps

Part 1 Part 1 of 2:Finding and Stamping

How to Mail a Postcard

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Buy a postcard. You can find postcards at most local supermarkets, souvenir shops, and gas stations. Choose one that sums up the locale – something that gives the recipient a taste of your experience. If you have time, consider making your own postcard: you can use an online photo store, or you can do it yourself if you have access to a computer with photo editing and internet.

How to Mail a Postcard

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Buy a stamp. A stamp is a proof of payment for your postcard: without a stamp, no letter or postcard will be handled by the post office. Depending on the destination, the price of the stamp will vary. Domestic stamps are usually cheaper than international ones. Some postal services will have one flat rate for all international destinations, but some others will have a range of prices depending on the distance to the country. Always check with the post office or the postal service website.

  • Depending on where you are sending the postcard, you may need two, three, or even more stamps. Look up the postage requirements for, say, “mailing from Tanzania to the U.S.”
  • You can usually buy stamps directly at the post office. In the U.S., you can buy stamps at most supermarkets, and some mini-marts or gas stations; you may even find stamps in vending machines and souvenir shops.
  • Make sure you have the most recent stamp. The price of stamps changes over time. Unless you send them often, one postcard stamp bought a while ago, may not be enough postage.

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How to Mail a Postcard

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Attach the stamp. Stick the stamp to the postcard in the upper right-hand corner. There is often a mark on the stamp or a symbol telling you where to put the stamp. Some stamps are self-adhesive, but others must be moistened.

  • If the stamp is self-adhesive, just pull it off the backing and attach it to the postcard in the proper place. Make sure it’s not upside-down! If so, however, don’t worry – the US postal service usually mails postcards with an upside-down stamps.
  • If your stamp is not the self-adhesive kind, you will need to moisten the back of the stamp to activate the adhesive. Some people lick the stamp to do this. If you don’t want to lick the stamp, then you can use a sponge, or even just dip a couple of fingers in some water. Moisten the back of the stamp until it’s a little wet, but not dripping. If it’s too wet, the stamp might rip or slide off the postcard.

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Part 2 Part 2 of 2:Writing, Addressing, and Mailing

How to Mail a Postcard

Address the card. Postcards usually have dedicated spaces for the message as well as the sender’s and receiver’s address. If it is a homemade or non-standard postcard with no dedicated spaces: draw a vertical line down the middle of the card while it is in a horizontal position, then draw a horizontal line splitting the right half in two. Use the left hand side for the message, the upper-right for your own address, and the bottom-right for receiver’s address.

  • It is not essential that you include your own address. As long as you write the receiver’s address, they will receive your card. If you’re traveling, you may not expect a reply – or you can give your correspondent the address of the next place you’ll be staying.

How to Mail a Postcard

Write your postcard. See How to Write a Postcard. If you’re mailing it to yourself, write a memory on the back of the card; if you’re mailing it to a friend, add a short message to let them know how you’re doing. Try to give the recipient a brief snapshot of your experience. You don’t need to write a novel – the very act of sending a postcard, however short, is usually enough to show a person that you’re thinking of them.

  • Again, make sure to put the stamp on first. This way, you won’t end up writing where the stamp covers.
  • It’s important not to write too low on the postcard. Most of the time, the post office will print a barcode or attach a sticker across the bottom of the card in order to send it where it needs to go. Try to keep at least a finger’s width between the edge of the postcard and the bottom of your message.

How to Mail a Postcard

Mail the postcard. Find a post office or a public mail drop box in your area. Make sure that you’ve added the correct amount of stamps and properly addressed the card. Once you’re certain, mail the postcard as you would a normal letter. If you’re abroad, allow at least a week or two for the letter to reach its destination.

  • Some office buildings, government offices, or community centers may have a mailbox. If you are at a hotel, the front desk will often mail your postcard with its outgoing mail. If you can’t find a place to mail your postcard, ask the locals and other travelers.

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Warnings

  • Do not write anything personal or private. The postcard doesn’t have an envelope, so anyone can read it. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • If you send the postcard overseas, it might not arrive when you expect. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Things You’ll Need

  • A postcard
  • A pen or pencil
  • A stamp
  • A letter box
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