Return addresses on postcards

Mailing from the US, does anyone know if you have a return address on your outgoing postcards if they will be returned to you if there is a delivery issue? I’m assuming it could matter whether it is mailed domestically or internationally.

I’m new to Postcrossing, though I have sent many postcards over the years and have never added a return address because, well, it’s just not typically done; furthermore, the stakes, such as they are, were never all that high if it never made it. I also assumed that because no one ever does it, that it must mean that the postcard rate does not include return mailing in the event it is undeliverable.

In any case, it kinda’ matters in Postcrossing that a postcard reaches its destination. I mean, someone is expecting a card, right? As the sender, I’d want to know that it was undeliverable.

If anyone has any information to share on this topic, I’d appreciate it.


Travelling Slim


I’ve only ever had one postcard sent to me instead of the recipient when I put a return address on the card.

I have heard from others who put their return address on their postcards that they’ve gotten them returned when it was undeliverable.

I don’t bother putting a return address on my postcards. I figure if the recipient has gotten postcards before from other people–as evidenced by their postcard statistics–then whatever address that Postcrossing gives to me must be correct.

As for my own statistics, approximately 1 in 30 postcards that I send expires and never gets registered. I figure either the postal system has lost it or the recipient has lost interest in Postcrossing and didn’t bother to register it. In either case, there’s nothing I can do about it and I just move on. Sending anything by snail mail isn’t going to be perfect anyway–doubly so during pandemic and holiday times.


I had one postcard returned to me at the beginning of the pandemic. It was destined for a country that the US was not sending mail to at that time. It came back to my return address with stickers explaining why it was returned.

At the beginning I used to put my return address label in postcards, and I think two of my first cards expired and never were registered, but neither of them got returned back to me :slightly_frowning_face:.

I see some people doing it, but I don’t. There’s not enough space on a postcard to put a return address, no matter how small you make it.

Cards get lost, in postcrossing too. Sometimes they never make it to their destination, sometimes they do but the recipient stops registering. It’s sad and annoying but there is not much to do. Maybe a return address might make things 1% better but I personally don’t think it would make all that difference :slight_smile:


If you’re going to use a return address on a postcard, I would advise you to place it on the top left corner. Recently somebody mailed me a postcard that was initially returned to them. They had placed their address label near the bottom of the card and the sorting machines mistook it for the recipient’s address.


I have a rubber stamp with my return address.

Some time I ago I got an address in the USA and I looked it up on the website of the USPS, but it was not a known address. I sent the card anyway, with my return address and I got the card back, so the USPS do sent cards back if there is a return address and the Dutch postal service delivers it back to me.


Interesting question. One time a card I mailed out with my return address was returned to me - but not because they could not deliver it to the intended recipient. Here is what happened: I placed my return label horizontally on the postcard. The USPS scanning equipment read that as the delivery address and back it came to me. LOL. I don’t put labels on cards anymore. If I do, I place the label vertically on the card. Just a heads-up…


I started to put my return address just this year on the cards that I sent and till now I had 3 cards that were returned to me.

The first one is a card to Venezuela which I only knew that we couldn’t send to after I mailed the card.

The second one is a card to US. It came back to me with a yellow sticker that said Unable to Forward. The card was for a group where you send 4 cards to the same person in a month and my other cards went through just find so I didn’t know what’s wrong.

The third card was also sent to US and returned to me with a yellow sticker. The recipient was no longer active though so maybe she changed her address or something.

I have currently several cards expired though so I don’t know if other countries treat my return address the same way as US.

Today I got a returned card. This is a first for me! I noticed the user was new at the moment I sent it but she has received cards so maybe she made an error and modified her address.


I handwritten my return address and none of my expired postcards ever returned back to me.

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I don’t put a return address on my card, only to my card to the Ukraine I’ve sent on 18th March because I don’t know if post is working there so my card could return to me and I can sent the card later again

I would contact the support in that case and tell about the issue.

There have been lots of threads about expired cards. Because the US postal service is becoming so slow and unreliable, I have considered putting my return address on postcards. Traditionally, we don’t do this with postcards in the US. But, at least they might come back to me instead of rotting away in some “dead letter” office - and expiring! Also, on the negative side, it would take up space better used for the message - or stickers or washi tape!

I’ve thought about making some stickers with tiny print and just the address. For the US mail, if I put it in the very top, left corner, the postcard should find its way back to me if it can’t be delivered.

I know there’s a privacy issue, but if someone in Germany or Norway wants to go through the effort to track me down in Florida, they’re welcome to!:blush::beach_umbrella: (But, I’m a long way from Disney World!)

What do you think?


I made small labels for my cards but use them mostly for envelopes on the forum.
The yellow label is the back of one,compared to the card


I very rarely put a return address on a postcard to a stranger. The privacy issue is not so much them having it, but once you send a card you have no control over what the recipient does with it. Not everyone follows the Postcrossing rules strictly, and if the written side of the card ends up online somewhere, I don’t want my address on it.

If that wouldn’t bother you, then you might as well, and yes it would give the card some chance of being returned if not deliverable. Though of course some mail will still get lost, never making it to the recipient or back to the sender.

Do you have a bunch of those little address stickers with pictures on them that non-profits send out? On the rare occasions when I do put my return address on a postcard, I use one of those, either cutting it down to just my actual address (which is often really tiny, giving me more room to write) or using one with a nice picture that goes with the card or the person’s interests in some way. If someone loves wolves, I don’t mind taking up space for an address sticker with a nice photo of a wolf on it. The only thing is I have to write “USA” by hand beneath the label if sending internationally, but it still takes up a lot less room than writing my whole address by hand.


I’ve been mailing my postcards with a return label for a long time now. I have 3 different stamps and 2 types of sticker labels. I’ve only received 2 cards back undeliverable.
This is my favorite label, laminated and very small(.44"x1")


I put a return address on all of the cards I send out. I have had several cards returned to me, and it has cut down on the number of lost cards I have. I use the tiny Avery stickers that measure 1/2 inch by 1.75 inches and I include my user ID rather than my name. I figure my address is out there in the world in so many forms, I don’t worry about it being on my postcards.


Same for me! At last there are not too many cards lost forever. And I really want to use that space for other purposes.

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