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How to Pack a Parcel Guide

How to Pack a Parcel Guide

By James Barnes, December 6th 2019

Packing your item is one of the most important stages of sending. After all, incorrectly packaged items can result in them slowing the whole automated network down, damaged items, and unhappy customers - in other words, disaster! Have a read of this guide to make sure you take the right steps to ensure your parcels arrive at their destination safe and sound.

Quick Packaging Do’s & Don’ts 


  • Double check courier and country restrictions. 
  • Protect your items as much as possible by using the correct size box and wrap each item individually. 
  • Firmly attach the address and shipping label, making sure they’re clearly visible and accurate.  


  • Reuse damaged or heavily used boxes, they won’t offer your parcel the protection it needs. 
  •  Use ordinary household adhesive tape on your parcel. 
  • Strap multiple boxes together. 

Step 1. Will your parcel be accepted? 

Always read the restrictions of the courier you're sending with; they all vary and may have been updated since you last read them so if it's been a while it might be worth a refresher. 

When sending internationally, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the item(s) you’re sending are not prohibited by governmental or customs legislation in the country of delivery. Ignoring them can lead to delays to your own parcels, and others. 

Step 2. Protect your parcel 

Always try to go that extra mile when protecting items in your parcel, you won't be sorry.  

Wrap each item in the parcel individually 

This does take a little longer, but it limits their movement within the box, giving each item more protection. Use a cushioning material, e.g. crumpled paper, and place it within an inner box; this will also protect fragile items on their journey. 

Always use a strong outer container 

A thick-walled, corrugated cardboard box with a good quality outer wrapping is recommended for the despatch of most items. However, you need to decide on the best size of the box for the item you send. There needs to be enough room to use an adequate amount of internal packaging. Boxes that are underfilled could collapse and damage your items. 


A compensation claim for damage of contents could be deemed invalid if the parcel is not packed adequately, or if the inner and outer packaging is not retained for verification e.g. a photo and the damage questionnaire sent to recipients. 

Seal the parcel well 

Next, seal all open edges of your parcel with wide plastic or reinforced carton tape to ensure it won't open. Ordinary household tape isn’t strong enough and string/strapping around boxes is not suitable, as they can get caught in machines and cause damage. 

Step 3. Do not strap multiple boxes together 

This may cause your parcels to become damaged during transit and possibly, separated – not ideal when you only have one delivery label! Unidentifiable parcels are very difficult to find amidst the vast courier network. You should either place all of the items in one large outer carton or send them in separate parcels.  

Step 4. Ensure clear and accurate addressing 

All address and contact information needs to be accurately completed in the documentation and firmly attached to your parcel, along with the shipping label being clearly visible. 

When you ship with Despatch Bay, your shipping label is automatically generated, you just have to print and attach it to your parcel. We can even provide you with sticky wallets for your labels and thermal label printers! 

When packaging your parcel, remember its travelling through an automated network, people won't be handling your parcels, and if they do, it's likely you'll be facing a charge so make sure you package your parcel enough so they can handle the odd bump with thousands of other parcels.

For further reading, you can find more packaging and restriction guides by creating a Despatch Bay account.

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