The accuracy of the "sent" date and why it is set up the way it is

Hi everyone,
I’m a new postcrosser - my first postcard was received just today and I have two more in travelling mode. I have a question/suggestion - and perhaps this post would be better in the suggestions category but I’m putting it here in case there is information I don’t know.

My question/suggestion is about the accuracy of the sent date of postcards. It seems like it is set to the date that you request the address. Is that the case? If so, that would seem to skew the accuracy of the travelling time by quite a lot in some cases - and also means that senders have to keep track of the actual send date themselves.

When a person first requests an address, isn’t there a lag time for most people between that date and the date they actually send the postcard? For me, I want to read the profile and probably make a postcard, because that’s what I like to do, unless people request to not receive that type. And in that case, I would then need to buy a postcard as I probably don’t have one on hand. I realize that a lot of postcrossers might have a big stock of postcards and stamps on hand because they’re into the hobby and so might send on same day…but still, that might not be true for a lot of people, for various reasons.

So, wouldn’t it be good if there were a way to input what the actual send date of each postcard is, rather than the date that the address was requested? In my case, there might be as much as a full week between those dates sometimes - and even if it’s just a few days, this means the travelling time is not at all accurate and senders have to track their send dates separately somewhere.

Thanks for whatever thoughts or information about how postcrossing works you might have…


Welcome to postcrossing and the forum @KSMuriel :grinning:
I moved your topic here because, as you wrote, it fits better here.


Making people come back to the site to input another date or somehow mark a card actually mailed is another step to possibly forget and in my opinion not necessary. I understand that the travel time is not strictly accurate but I don’t see any reason to make things more difficult.


Yes you are right the request date is the send date.
And this makes the traveling time incorrect, at least for me as it can happen that I am sending the card some days or even a week later than the request date.
I have cards that actually have traveled only 2 days but the traveling time says 7 days while I did send it later.
It’s a pity and it maybe would be better to make the send date the date one uploaded a picture of the card but since not everyone is uploading a picture that would give another problem :woman_shrugging:t3:
Not sure this helps you …


Sometimes the receivers don’t register at once either, some register their cards on weekends for example. I think it’s not meant to be that accurate, only to see when the address is given, and the “travel” starts from there, not from mailing date.

On swap-bot (swapping site) you need to mark the mail sent, and for me that’s annoying. If I click it before I leave with my mail, it can happen the mail box is emptied and I don’t want to leave my mail there for example over weekend. Then I should cancel it. So I click it sent when I have sent it, but then I might not want/remember to click it sent the same day, so it won’t show the true sending day.

Then also should be decided, will the one year travel time start from the date address was drawn, or when it was sent. And would the receiver see it how long it took. And then the topics, how and why for some it takes so long to mail it… :slight_smile:


I think it would be difficult to adjust all travel times to strictly correspond to ‘reality’. I consider the travel time on the official website as “the time it takes for all processes until the card is registered” rather than “travel time”. Not all receivers register their cards immediately either. For some people it might be impossible to know when the cards actually arrived when they are not at home.

If I want to know the actual travel time, I record the sent date on my phone. And for the recipient, I write the date directly on the card.


I actually keep track of my travel times, but it would depend on the accuracy of the person sending and receiving I guess.

On another line, kind of the same subject, I’m surprised at how long some of mine are taking to get to their recipients. I guess in a way, it’s to my advantage as I can still enter newbie lotteries; but I’d like for people to get their cards.

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Thanks, everyone…I can understand why it would be annoying or unrealistic to require or expect people to input another date…I would rather be able to see the actual mailed date in the same place that I see the other info about my sent postcards so that I don’t have to track it separately…perhaps the addition of another optional field there would be nice, but I can see why many others would not want to use it and especially not to be required to use it.

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I like the idea myself. On another swap site I use there is a hyperlink you clink when you send out your swap. Once you click it, it records the day you actually send whatever. Also if you actually hit the link and don’t mean to, you can undo. For me it helps me keep track of the swaps that I have actually completed. Like everything, people have different views and opinions.

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I like to think that that extra “lag” time is part of the Journey of the card.
I’ve sometimes written cards, put them in my car to mail after work and then forgotten, needed to go somewhere else, and then they get delayed.

I’ve also taken a card with me on my very hectic way to the airport in Hamburg and was frantically looking all over for a postalbox to put it in. I assumed I’d have to take it to Spain with me and mail it from there, but found a postalbox at the very last moment.

Of course, these are all delays that skew statistics, but I think it adds to the character of the card and process :slight_smile:


Most of us do keep some kinds of records for our official & Forum cards - the websites aren’t designed for all the details most of us need for our cards.


I typically draw names on the weekend then toss in the mailbox Sunday evening so date wise it’s about the same. It will travel for several weeks so a few days won’t make any difference


To add another field would mean rewriting the program which could lead to bugs, because it is my experience that adjustments most of the time lead to problems elsewhere in the process. It’s really most easy to keep track of the actual mailing date yourself. I have a “shadow” administration, because this works for me.


Your postal service may not help much either. Here in the US, I place a card in my mailbox which is then picked up by the letter carrier, and placed in a bag which is taken to the local post office, loaded on a truck and shipped to a processing center in another state to be postmarked and sorted.

Sometimes there are delays and the letter carrier misses the outgoing truck and everything is delayed by a day. I’ve had mailings where I “mailed” the items on Day 1 by placing it in my mailbox (and it was picked up that day), yet it wasn’t postmarked until Day 2 (which I know because I included a test postcard to myself in the mailing).

I would feel kind of silly if I entered a “mailed” date with false confidence and it turns out the post office postmarks it on a different date.


A day or two in most cases doesn’t make any difference. Even if we could specifically enter the day we put the card in the hands of our postal service, there’s also the issue of being received and later registered to affect travel time. The way things are now is as accurate as it can be.


Perhaps for personal record keeping and sharing, you can add a comment to the cards that you sent and have been registered indicating the actual date when you posted them? I’m certain that some people will appreciate this piece of additional information. And some may even reply to you and key in the actual date of receiving mail to complete the picture.


I keep spreadsheets of both received and sent postcards. Each includes 3 date columns:

Cards I sent: Date Assigned, Sent, and Registered as received.
Cards I received: Date Assigned, Postmark Date (where legible), and Registered as received. (I don’t call it Received because by the time I pick up my afternoon mail, it’s usually the next calendar day according to the Postcrossing clock.)

The first column is Postcrossing’s “sent” date, or the date on the forums when I or someone else committed to an exchange or round-robin.
The second column captures the gap (if any) between the assigned date and the day it went into the post.
And the third is when I or the other person uploads a notification of receipt.

This approach gives me a slightly more accurate sense of how long the cards have travelled… although of course I can’t know for sure if there’s a gap between the recipient’s actual date of receipt and when they actually register it.

Is all this necessary? Of course not! I’m just a bit of a data geek and find it fun to track this stuff :nerd_face:


If I for some reason register later than next day, I usually write to my Hurray what day I got it.
Also one member told in their profile (that I read after registering the card) how they keep track of travelling times, and to her I even wrote I got it “yesterday” and she was happy to get the correct date.

But if the “sent” date would happen, it should also mean thinking, can I register a card if someone forgets to click the send? And if yes, what travel time would it show?


Now I’m thinking of having a rubber stamp made for the postcards that includes these items:

  1. Date written:
  2. Date posted:
  3. Date received:

Obviously the received date is for the recipient to fill in if they wish to.


I personally don’t want people to wait for too long for my postcard, so when I am in France, where the mailman collects the mail at 9 am, I usually request an address at 7.30 am, as I always take around one hour to write my postcard (I read the profile, have a look to the gallery, try to chose the postcard which corresponds the most to the profile, re-read the profile again, think about what I can write about, chose the stamp that would suit my message the best, write a first draft, re-re-read the profile to make sure I don’t forget anything, copy my message, and take a picture of the two sides of the postcard in case it is lost).