HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The US Postal Service is suggesting that HawaiÊ»i customers mail letters, cards and packages to international destinations by Dec. 9 and to the mainland by Dec 18.
Each year, the USPS releases a list of suggested mailing dates specific to HawaiÊ»i, in an effort to ensure that the items have the best chance of reaching their destination by Christmas.
Those that wait until the very last minute, have until Dec. 19 to send their packages to the mainland via the USPS expedited Priority Express shipping service.
"Ultimately, uncontrollable factors such as mailing volumes and weather determine whether deliveries can be made early or on time," the USPS announcement states.
According to the USPS, the suggested mailing dates are not deadlines. "If normal holiday conditions prevail, chances are good that letters and packages sent shortly after the suggested dates will still make it to their destinations before Christmas," officials said.
Nationwide, officials say the busiest mailing day is anticipated to be Monday, Dec. 16; and the busiest delivery day is likely to be Dec. 18 for cards and letters, and Dec. 19 for packages.
On Wednesday, the USPS announced that it was extending its hours of operation at four Oahu Post Offices from Wednesday, Dec. 18 through Friday, Dec. 20. On those three days, the Aiea, Makiki, Waialae-Kahala and Waipahu Post Offices will all remain open until 6 p.m.
There are three post offices on Maui-KÄ«hei, Lahaina, and Wailuku-that offer self service ship and mail centers that are available around-the-clock. The postal kiosks allow customers to purchase stamps, print and pay for package postage, and conduct other common transactions without having to stand in line or conduct their transaction during normal business hours.
The USPS also released a list of money saving mailing tips that include the following:
- Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes: Customers can send up to 70 pounds in Medium Flat Rate Boxes to domestic locations for $12.35; or use a Large Flat Rate Box, which holds 50% more (with the same 70-pound limit) for $16.85. Military Large Flat Rate Boxes are available for shipping up to 70 pounds to APO and FPO locations for $14.85.
- Online Discounts: Pay for your postage and print out your mailing label at USPS.com and save up to 15% off of over-the-counter rates for Priority, Express and International mailings.
- Free Package Pickup: After printing out the mailing labels for your packages at USPS.com, notify the post office at usps.com/pickup that the packages are ready for pick up. A carrier will be alerted and will pick up packages from homes or offices, usually the next business day. There is no extra charge for the service.
- Free Insurance: All Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes now include day-specific delivery, improved tracking and free insurance.
- Free Packaging: Priority Mail and Priority Express envelopes and boxes, including special "Seasons Greetings From Hawaii" large Flat Rate boxes, are available for free at local post offices.
- Express Mail on Christmas Day: The Postal Service delivers Express Mail on Christmas Day in major US metropolitan areas. A local postal clerk can determine whether this option is available for specified deliveries.