Travel Mode ✈️ Destinations - Questions - Opinions

Yes, this is perfectly normal. Happens every time I set my account back to active.


That is normal. Last year I set my profile back to active when I was due to 50 cards. I received more than 60 cards that were all sent on that day.


I didn’t keep track and can’t describe it as well as you did, but I had the same experience. Only, I didn’t think I was “owed” any cards from before, and I wondered why in the beginning I was sent those cards before mine arrived. But after that things evened out again and became slow again.


Something very similar happened to me to! I was quite surprised how many postcards I received almost at once, after coming back from travel mode.

Now it’s back to norm though.:slightly_smiling_face:

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While it helps to think about it as queue, it’s not implemented as an actual queue. The “pool” concept is closer to truth in that there’s no “arrival time order” to it.

Anyhow, we do try to spread the dates when an account is selected, but this is not always possible. Most of the time, it is not.

Without going into tiny details, the algorithm we have in place has some strict rules like not repeating the same person, or not selecting someone that set their account to inactive, etc. These are always enforced.

And there’s also other “rules” that are good to have and used whenever possible — or as much as possible to be more correct. An example of this is an optimization that tries to avoid selecting an account in large bursts by trying to disperse when it is selected (side note: we call this our happiness disperser :sweat_smile:). In an ideal scenario, this spreads out when an account is selected to receive a postcard.

However, a lot of the time, the algorithm is struggling to have enough selectable destinations because the majority wants a wider diversity of destinations (and also of incoming countries), etc — to allow for this, it requires relaxing (or skipping) some of those good to have rules because otherwise sometimes it wouldn’t have anyone selectable, or there would be a whole lot more country repetitions (which tends to be a bigger concern).

I should also mention that even with our attempts to spread the selection dates, this has much less impact than what one might expect: in practice, as many of you might have noticed, it’s not uncommon for international mail to arrive in large batches on the same day — regardless of where and when it was sent. The way the postal connections (and the operators too) work across countries tend to have a much bigger impact on receiving batched mail, than our the algorithm tweaks. While (sometimes) we might be able to spread it over a few days, to the receivers batches can still happen nonetheless simply because that’s when mail arrived to the hands of their local mail carrier.


Ok, thank you everyone that answered me. :smile:
I do not know how to close a topic (or if I can close one myself) but I think this has been quite solved.
I’m glad I was not the only one that had all the cards with the same sending date and that it wasn’t a glitch in the system. Now I can prepare better for the next time I come back from travel mode.

To @borealis thank you for pointing out that thread. I recalled reading something about non-compensated Sent/Received ratios but, as I was looking for the travel mode specifically, I didn’t see that one.
To @elanlei may the force be with you to register such a huge amount of postcards (but how nice to have your mailbox full after all that time).

And, finally, thank you for the thorough explanation @paulo . Of course, not sending to inactive accounts and not repeating are more important than sending date. And mail usually travels in bach, specially going from far away (for example, Norway nearly always sends me all the East Asia together the same day, since volume is not that huge).
I was wondering, as @hankadl explained and I saw also in some comments on the Receiving more cards than you send - #11 by AuntyLou thread.
Maybe, instead of including the address in the pool as many times as postcards are “due” the same day, it could be included in batches of 2-3 in the pool each day?
For example, if I have 8 postcards “to be sent to me” once I come back, maybe the address can be introduced two times one day in the pool, 2 other times the next day (or every two days), other 2 times the address the following day… It’d be similar to the happiness disperse but in this case it’d prevent the address from jumping to the pool, instead of dispersing it after.
I was thinking it could be posted as a suggestion but I don’t know if it’ll be the prefered way for everyone. :thinking:
And I must admit I have no idea how difficult that might be. All that the algorythm already does is quite impressive.
But, as you said before, Paulo, the sending and arriving dates are a minor concern and mail will still come in batches -usually because of origin area- no matter the dates, and having diversity in senders and receivers is prefered, it automatically implies that the arrival dates will be different even if the sending happened the same day.

Again, I’m glad it wasn’t a glitch. So far, the best way to receive mail spaced, even when it’s all sent the same day, is to have it send from different countries so, we shall keep recruiting people from other countries to join and make the “pool address” more diverse to help the algorythm spread up the postcards. :world_map: :email:


Yup, I think that’s just how the system works…

Actually I’ve come across postcrossers who do this on purpose - i.e. they send a lot of cards, then go inactive, wait for all their cards to arrive, and then go back to “active” - hoping that when their address is given out 50 times on the same day (within hours or minutes actually) their chances will be bigger to get cards from many different countries… :wink:


I forgot to mention that I wasn’t even using travel mode nor was inactive… So you may expect it to happen at any time :grin: And of course I don’t mind it, the cards won’t arrive on the same day, it’s just a fun detail :blush:


And I thought that 20 in one day is a lot :grin:.

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Nothing to do with travel mode. For me, it’s the only way it works. There is a loooong thread about it that has been linked already.
Every single one of my registered card triggers about 10-15 received on the same day. I’m now receiving cards sent on 28 February - 7 so far.
Before then, I have more than I care to count on 7 Jan, a few on 16 Jan (sometimes I go inactive just to stop the deluge) and before then it was October when my address was given out. At some point during that stretch I had 10-11 more received than sent so had to catch up.
Look at my profile and the dates in my received.

As far as I know, this only doesn’t happen to people in the most common countries such as Germany. All the others will have this pattern - depending on other thing like travel times.


Ah yes. Once I was inactive for 4 months, sent maybe 40 cards and got 52 back. Sometimes 10 on the same day. Unlike the people you mentioned, I really didn’t enjoy that, the big volume took the fun out of it for me.


Why? I think the “different countries” thing only works to senders. One can choose “send to different countries” but could not choose “receive from different countries”, isn’t it?
For example: Jane from a rare country (like Brazil? I’ve never received a card from there yet.) returns to “active” after sending 40 cards. Then her address is finished the distribution in 1 minute, for example. Many senders asking addresses have card traveling to the USA, China, Russia, Taiwan, Germany… When an address from Brazil appears in the “pool”, many senders who likes sending to different countries can get it immediately, no matter where they come from.
So this habit can only help to get many cards at once. Jane cannot get cards from more countries through this way, I think.

The way I understand the system works to aim for some diversity as long as possible. If you draw 10 addresses, it will give you one from DE, RU, US, NL, and then 6 other countries IF available. Else it will be DE, RU, FI, DE, RU, DE, RU, RU, RU, RU or sth. like that. I would expect things to work the same way when my address is given out - i.e. as long as there are postcrossers from different countries available, my address should go to different countries - thoug I honestly don’t know…

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Wow, I’ve never came across with this idea. I have only one experience having big difference between sent and received after travel mode and still most of the cards came from the same countries. (65 cards, 15 USA, 12 Germany only 5 from Russia though. 17 different countries in total) This goes quite well in my statistics as half of the cards came from the so called big 3.

One “test” is not trustworthy of course, but I will have another try soon. However I would say it’s totally pointless to do that to get more countries. :grin:

Same here.


In this case I think it is quite justified if you don’t register everything the day it arrives. :sweat_smile:
I mean, of course, with the best intentions in hand and following the rules that are that you must register every card that comes. :innocent:
I also find receiving many cards together a bit overwhelming.
I’ve never received as many as you at the same time, but I have recieved 2-3 together with some non oficiall PC mail, it can add up to 5-6 pieces and it is a lot. I usually take them in a pile and register 1-2 a day.
This is also because I personally like to write a message when registering that is a bit more than just “thank you for your card” and I try commenting the things I liked about the postcard and so on and it takes time (and mental energy). And it takes time to answer the ones that I arranged from the forum, etc.
I try not to read or even glance at anything that I’m not going to register that day so it works as if every day I received 1-2 pieces of mail.
It also makes it more pleasurable, because I have mail for more time. I would say, if I ever received as much mail as you, I’d even put some cards back on the postbox. So I can open again another day and find mail.
I know some people that are very adamant of registering everything right when they received it and I respect that. But I believe that 1-2 days of difference is not really going to crash the statics and, truthly, if I had to register everything the moment I got it, I would have dropped Postcrossing already. :dizzy_face:


Yes, that’s why I didn’t enjoy receiving that many in a day and some people have that regularly! I mean fair enough if it works for them.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: That’s a great idea!

Hmm I would never choose to wait. Yeah I’m not going to get angry if someone waits a day or two, but I am very OCD about those things. It would really bother me not to do it straight away. The rare time I have to register something the next day (for example, I get home at midnight and I really have to go to bed) I have to really persuade myself to leave it. Once I forgot a card until the next day and I was shocked! And last time that for whatever reason I had to wait a day, I really wanted to mention it in the registration message, then I didn’t because I told myself it really won’t make any difference. But waiting around for no reason is not my style.

Aaah. I totally get that. But it’s funny because I’m the opposite.
I do a lot of work on my laptop (college student here). And I feel like if I rush and get all the postcards registered, it is… like, just homework.
(And I do write quite long “received” messages, but that’s on me :sweat_smile: )
Sometimes I stop by my letterbox and I collect the postcards but I don’t have time in the day sit down and calmy read them, enjoy them and then register them. If I wouldn’t be able to do that I’d be… annoyed. Like, postcards are part of a Me Time and I like to just enjoy them when I’m not super busy.
Sometimes I feel bad that the postcard is already here with me but I haven’t registered yet and it’s been waiting 2-3 days. But I try to think that, hey, 2-3 days is nothing in snail mail terms and the postcard is already safe and the person that is waiting for registering doesn’t really “know” it’s here already. But I never delay postcards more than a couple days and only if it is really necessary because I can’t register the moment I receive them.

I considered the same a couple times but, like you, I figured it won’t make a difference. It won’t show on the statistics and it’s not really useful for the sender.

Also, so far I am quite a newbie I don’t have numbers big enough to receive 10 postcards at the same time but if I ever did, I think I’ll just answer some and leave some at the letterbox if just for having the pleasure to open it with mail for more days.
Like, right now, I’m two weeks and a half without any mail.
I have a couple swaps arranged from the forum that haven’t arrived, a postcard-pal that always comes at the end of the month (still some days to come), I’m in a bingo, but because I’m such a newbie, I’m currently still on-going and there is no oficial mail comming, so… Empty postbox :postbox: :frowning_face:
My Sent account has just outnumbered my Received (two postcards arrived yesterday :smile:) so I’m really looking forward for the next two weeks. It’s been… a little bit lonely in my letterbox. :cry:

As someone who often receives lots of cards, I mostly register the same day but I tend to do it in bursts of ten or so, just to stop it getting too repetitive. There have been days with more than thirty cards in my mail slot and that’s just too many to do on one sitting. I haven’t found any greater variety in countries.

If it’s after dark, I usually stop and leave the rest for the next morning because I can’t take decent photos of the cards without daylight. Sometimes I register anyway and leave the photo for later but then I start getting messages from the senders asking me to add the photo! I find that annoying since I clearly add every card.


Wow! I found 10 too many so if I ever got 30 in one go (unlikely to happen with my volume, but hypothetically I’d really have to wait and do them in batches.

That reminds me of when I lived in the UK and I still used my camera (not phone) to take pictures of the cards… in winter it was impossible because I was never at home with real daylight (and I was spending weekends elsewhere). Lots of slightly blueish darkish pictures on my wall from those days…

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I have finally worked out that my address (everyone’s addresses presumably) often gets released in big blocks, weeks apart, this results in periodic floods and droughts of cards, eventhough I am drawing addresses regularly.
The effect is as if I set to inactive for two weeks, which I rarely do. I can have 50 cards travelling, I post in small batches, they arrive steadily most days, but my address is released in big clusters and of course all short distance cards then arrive together on the same day.

For example my address was not drawn after the 3rd of Feb until the 17.(31 on the 17th, 9 on the 18th). I first noticed the February gap because it included the run up to my birthday (= nearly no birthday cards unlike previous years). Other gaps: 8-28 Jan, 12-25 Nov.; 22 Feb -8 Mar.

To be clear, I am not moaning about the balance of sent/received, the country balance or anything else. I know it’s a complicated system and it generallyworks well. It would just be nice if the release mechanisms could be activated in smaller intervals?
Or what can I do to reduce the effect? Draw less cards - one a day? Presumably nothing as it appears that my ‘quota’ is saved up and then released at once.

I’d be interested in your opinions.