There has been a warranted concern over shipping practices since the guys at Popular Mechanics released their data about package handling after performing their recent shipping test. They got this idea after unsuccessfully shipping a custom built gaming PC to a sweepstake winner. The PC did arrive on time, but it was in pieces. Protecting your gifts when shipping packages is imperative due to the results of their study.

Popular Mechanics implanted a sensor in a package and sent it on a 3 day journey across the U.S. via FedEx, UPS, and the Postal Service. Prior to doing this experiment, the people at National Instruments that has originally created the device did their on travel with it and created baseline measurements. Popular Mechanics sent the package to New York City, and from there to Santa Monica, California. The package then traveled to Austin, Texas unbeknownst to the package carriers. During the journey, measurements where taken to test temperature, flips, and drops. You can go to their website to see the details of their experiment, but for the most part, the U.S. Postal Service did the best job.

Whatever the results have uncovered about the best carrier to utilize, it is so important to protect items inside the box even more. Utilizing bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts are so important and having the right amount of each makes all of the difference in the world. Labeling and waterproofing packages correctly will not only ensure there timely arrival, but protect the contents inside as well. Here are some tips that will help you in protecting your gifts when shipping packages to your family and friends.

First use new boxes because they can lose half of their strength while being used. Thick cardboard corrugated boxes make the best shipping boxes because of their durability. For very delicate items, you should double box, or place a box within a box that are both packed with Styrofoam peanuts. You can buy new cardboard boxes at Wal-Mart that are reasonably priced. If you are putting a large amount of money into a gift, then don't skimp out on the box. Lastly, do not use boxes that have company logos or content information on them such as boxes from dumpster or liquor stores. No carriers will ship these boxes even though they know that the contents being shipped are probably something other than liquids. If you do this, you will just be sent home to repack the item into a different box.

The shipping label is equally important. When labeling the box, be sure to place the label squarely on the largest part of the box. Make sure that there is a return label on the outside of the box as well. Boxes get dropped, thrown, flipped, and torn. Sometimes the shipping address becomes ripped or torn. The best way to protect this is to include another address label inside of the packaging. If the package gets ripped open for any reason, with an additional label inside, the carrier will still know where to send it. Put a handwritten return label on the inside as well in case it is undeliverable for any reason.

When packaging items that are fragile use bubble wrap. Newspaper and other paper material will compress the item. Bubble wrap will protect it well. Place any item, fragile or not, in the center of the box. Add 3 inches of Styrofoam peanuts to the box before placing your content inside, and then pour additional Styrofoam peanuts on top until the box is full. Pack snuggly to ensure that contents do not move around inside of the box during transport.

When you can place your gift inside of a plastic bag before packing. This will keep the item from getting wet during shipping. This rarely happens, but if you purchased someone a book, and it gets wet during the shipment, then that gift will be ruined. Also, I recommend that you purchase insurance on your package to protect your investment.

And in conclusion, use the proper shipping tape. Paper tape and scotch tape will not properly secure your package. Never send a package pre-wrapped or with strings around it because this material can get caught up in automated processing equipment. This can damage your package and delay delivery. These are just some of the tips that can help you in protecting your gifts when shipping packages with carriers whose priority is delivery time.