Christmas Shipping

An expat's guide to sending gifts home from the Czech Republic

The race is on: Can you get your Christmas gifts back home by December 25th?

Expatriate gift-givers face a variety of options when it comes to sending gifts home from the Czech Republic, and relying on Father Christmas to take care of business might not be the wisest option.

Much depends on the size, weight and destination, and on how late you leave it.

Česká pošta

The most obvious (and cheapest) option is relying on the the Czech post office, Česká pošta, to deliver your package. The downside to Česká pošta, however, is a poor reputation for reliability and a patchy approach to customer service.

The cheapest option, if your package weighs less than two kilograms, is to send a parcel as ordinary mail (Obyčejná zásilka). See the Česká pošta website's international Ordinary Mail price list.

Česká pošta also offers a faster, more reliable, but more expensive option, Express Mail Service (EMS), handling parcels up to 30 kilograms in weight. See the Česká pošta website for conditions and a price list.

To understand the EMS pricelist, you'll also need the EMS country codes used in the price list. (The USA and Canada, for instance, are 105 and most European Union countries, including the United Kingdom are 104.)

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Shipping Companies

If time is of the essence, you might want to consider using one of the major international shipping companies. Be warned, though, that they're not cheap...

Besides a fetching brown-and-yellow color scheme, the United Parcel Service also has six offices around the Czech Republic - including a head office near Prague's Ruzyně airport - and a presence in over 200 countries around the world.

To calculate the time and cost of sending a parcel with UPS, use their online calculator.

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Covering some 220 countries around the world, DHL has 18 facilities across the Czech Republic, including five in Prague, catering mainly to business customers. If you've left it very late, though, the DHL Express Worldwide service might save your skin.

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