Even in the digital age, letters remain a mainstay of birthdays, holidays, and marriage celebrations. Another mainstay of these events is forgetting to send them in the first place. And that can present a problem — especially when you realize your mother’s birthday is as soon as tomorrow.
Whatever the case may be, you need to know the fastest way to mail a letter. But the USPS has several different mailing services and just as many delivery timelines. Which method will get your letter in the mailbox right away?
That depends on what you’re shipping and how much you’re willing to pay. We’ll help you make sense of these variables. Here’s a breakdown of the fastest ways to mail a letter.
One of the most affordable ways to send mail in a hurry is to use USPS’ Priority Mail service. What is Priority Mail?
Well, this form of expedited service promises a delivery time of 1 to 3 business days. Note that this timeframe is a promise and not a guarantee.
Your priority mail could take additional days to arrive, depending on the location and USPS shipping demands. It’s still a faster delivery time than USPS Standard shipping, which tends to take 5 days or more.
But we’ve mentioned USPS priority mail is the most affordable option. Why’s that? Because it strikes the perfect balance between speed and expense.
USPS offers flat rate envelopes and boxes for priority mail, which takes the guesswork out of pricing. For a standard envelope, you can expect to pay about $7. As long as your mail fits in the envelope, USPS will ship your expedited letter at the advertised rate, regardless of weight.
Previously known as Express Mail until 2013, Priority Mail Express is the fastest way to mail a letter. How much faster? It’s a guaranteed overnight delivery for most shipping destinations.
If you happen to ship a package through priority mail express, the service also includes $100 in insurance in case something happens to your package in transit. Best of all, Priority Mail Express includes nontraditional delivery days. For example, a Priority Mail Express letter sent on Saturday will arrive on Sunday.
But as we alluded to earlier, Priority Mail Express comes at a high cost. Their flat rate envelopes cost around $25. That’s a sizable expense to ensure your letter arrives the next day.
However, you may find it’s worth the cost in certain situations, such as sending prompt correspondence for an upcoming birthday or event. To save money in the future, make an effort to send the letter a week in advance.
For small letters, first-class mail is your best choice by far. It’s only available for mail that weighs 3.5 ounces or less. While you can send a birthday card or check through first-class mail, larger packets may mean you’ll have to use a Priority Mail service instead.
First-Class Mail shares a delivery time with Priority Mail: approximately 1 to 3 days. The difference is the price. A sticker or two might cost you about one dollar.
This is a massive price reduction compared to the $7 you’d have to pay for a Priority Mail envelope. Keep your letter as light as possible to ensure you can send it as first-class. It’s possible your recipient could get their hands on it as early as the next business day.
You also save time with first-class mail by avoiding a trip to the post office. That is assuming you have stamps and a local mail slot.
If you’re not sure about the fastest way to mail a letter, you may not be familiar with sending one, either. Stamps can sometimes seem a bit antiquated; it’s normal to be confused about some of the expectations. Here’s a rundown on how to send a letter through the United States Postal Service.
First, you need an envelope. If you’re aiming for first-class mail, the envelope cannot exceed the dimensions of 11-1/2″ by 6-1/8″. Take care to choose an envelope from a paper sturdy enough to survive the journey.
Fold your card or letter and enclose it within the envelope. If your envelope has adhesive along its closing flap, give it a lick. This will activate the starch and allow you to seal the envelope.
Otherwise, use a glue stick along the outer perimeter of the flap before sealing. Avoid liquid glue, as this can ruin the envelope and seep into the letter itself.
Once sealed, address the envelope. The recipient’s name and address should be on its front, right in the middle. You’ll also want to include a return address — your own — in the upper-left corner.
A single card, check, or sheaf of paper should weigh under one ounce. This means you can apply a single first-class stamp to the top-right corner of the envelope. Older stamps are worth less than newer ones, so you may have to add more to compensate.
If you’ve stuffed extra contents into the letter, you’ll have to weigh the letter to determine accurate postage. Check out the current mailing rates and add stamps as necessary.
A traditional card is best sent through USPS’ First Class service. But if you’re in a serious bind and need overnight shipping, you can also take advantage of Priority Mail Express. Just know the fastest way to mail a letter is the most expensive, so prepare to take out your wallet and pay a whole lot more.
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