Posting from the UK- is it slower going out than coming in?

Hi all, I am quite new to Postcrossing and absolutely loving it. My query is about delivery times for postcards. It seems that mine take about two weeks to reach their destination even to European countries but I am getting cards from all over the place in about a week or less. I just got a card from Japan that took 6 days to get here but my card to Finland has been travelling two weeks?

I wanted ‘nice’ stamps so I bought £1.75 stamps from the Royal Mail online (my local post office only has the standard Queen’s head!) Is this enough postage to get to most countries? Is there anything else I should be doing?

I just want to be able to send more cards! :grinning:
Any advice/comments/guidance welcome- thanks!



In my experience yes it is a little bit slower when sending out (especially slower than those sending from Germany), usually take 1-2 week to European countries. (but for some reason sending to Japan is so fast, usually can arrive less than 1 week). Nothing we can do except being patient, waiting and being surprising by cards in your mailbox are also a part of postcrossing!

For the stamps, currently we need £1.70 for international postcard, which equals to the face value of two first class stamps. So you can use the £1.75 stamps you bought from Royal Mail, or just put 2 first class stamp on it. In this way of using 1st class stamps, you may have more choices on beautiful stamps.


I don’t know the specifics of UK postage or service but generally postal systems can be affected by the following - see below.

I know given the Delta variant wave, the UK is likely experiencing slow downs within your postal service given the dramatic rise of infections in the country.

Two weeks is not bad at all compared to earlier this year or last year.

Factors affecting postal delivery:

*huge increase in volume of parcels via online shopping because of the pandemic,

*COVID-19 precautions which take more time & reduce processing speed,

*COVID-19 outbreaks in sorting plants,

*fewer flights for mail to travel on as well,

*lack of staff replaced or enough extra staff hired to handle increased volumes,

*plus Christmas & other holiday rushes,

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Thank you for the reply @CcccynthiaL ! I know it’s part of the fun but I am just impatient :joy: I can only have 6 cards travelling and I’ve sent them all. Good to know that two first class stamps will do the trick too- I will definitely get some of the special edition ones.
Happy Postcrossing!

Thanks @LC-Canada

You make a lot of good points! I guess COVID is probably slowing sorting. I will have to learn to wait!

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I’ve spent a lot of my 1st year here learning more about our postal system in Canada & then the international postal systems (a lot of it is not super transparent).

It helps to know a bit more about these bigger systems & how they work & it clearly forces us to be more patient, lol whether we like it or not!

Hang in there!

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And until your official card limit gets higher, you can do lots of swaps, tags or round robins on here - that’s what I did my 1st 3 months & it made that time a lot more fun!

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I am a bit overwhelmed by the round robins to be honest! I have entered a few lotteries but I don’t know where to start in the forum.


I feel the same way, lol - they mostly all have long lists of rules which just is too much for me, so I stick to tags & direct swaps mostly.

Tags are literally like the kid’s game. They are on all kinds of different topics/kinds of cards from Nautical to Animals to Weird cards etc and you tag someone & send them a card and then the next person tags you and sends you a card.

For direct swaps, people offer cards and sometimes just want to exchange a card with others in different countries and sometimes they’re looking for specific kinds of cards like view cards or Sherlock Holmes or cards about animals etc.

Direct swaps are pretty easy to do & another way to increase your cards coming in while you’re waiting, lol

Be happy to do a direct swap with you if you like and it’s fine it you don’t.

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If you use two first class stamps, you could save the £1.75 stamps for whenever the price goes up.

This year, Royal Mail, in their special issues, have released quite a few attractive £1.70 stamps, some of which might still be available from their website. It’s worthwhile checking every now and then the British Isles community pages here on the forum for info on new stamp issues.

As for being slower to send than receive, I think it probably averages out over time.

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I notice the same with the Netherlands and for instance Germany. When my aunt in Germany sends me something, anything, it takes a week or longer. Normally if I send anything within Europe, it’ll arrive mostly within 3 days. I guess at the moment it might have to do with Covid situations too…

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I would love to @LC-Canada ! I am open to direct swaps on my profile but as I’m new I haven’t asked anyone/wasn’t sure what the etiquette was around asking…like do you have to have something to offer or something to request?

No need to be self-conscious about using Machin stamps, @clareaye! They’re lovely and I enjoy seeing the variety of colors and other variations. :blush: (I’m sure I’m not the only one!)

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Hi @PinkNoodle! Thanks for your reply. Every day is a school day!!- I had to google ‘Machin stamps’ because I had never heard this term before! (Such a newbie) I always just thought they were ‘standard’ stamps and then when people ask for a ‘nice’ stamp I think they mean they want something else :joy:
I didn’t know there were so many colours. Usually I only send or receive letters with first or second class stamps.

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Inbound mail seems to have slowed down recently (maybe as a result of Royal Mail workers having to self-isolate, summer holidays etc). Previously, I could expect my postman to deliver mail every day but at the moment it seems that I get a big batch of mail once a week on a Thursday… Hope it’ll go back to normal soon!

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If it makes you feel better, I didn’t know that’s how they were called until I joined this forum, either! I’ve learned all sorts of things here! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: Yes, when people say they want “nice” stamps, they often mean the commemorative, topical ones as opposed to the standard, “definitive” ones…but frankly, definitive stamps are nice, too. (Russia’s definitives are gorgeous; I never get tired of seeing all that filigree.) You never know for sure what people consider “nice,” so use what makes you happy!


I just had a Facebook swap with English postcrosser. We sent the cards on the same day and I received her card a week later than she got mine.
Official cards for this year: My sent cards took 9 days and 71 days and all my received cards travelled 14 days to me. :blush:

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It’s so strange!! You would think that if it’s COVID related that they would have the same problems coming in and going out. Maybe the international sorting office has been badly affected :thinking:

Apparently most UK international airmail is routed through, Edinburgh, East Midlands and three of the London Airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted).

A university friend who has worked on the West Atlantic Airlines Royal Mail flights at Belfast International told me this.

So depends on how quickly the mail centres can dispatch the mail, there may be a few days delay before they get bundled and actually get on the plane.

You can also use International Economy £1.45 for postcards worldwide outside Europe.

Come and see us in the UK/IRL - British Isles section.

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I often approximate International Economy with a first and second class stamp. Saves a little bit of money and I find it makes little difference to the delivery time.