Care Package Tips

Sending things to your loved one can be daunting. The first time I did this, I was so flustered and it took someone helping me at the post office to even figure out what form I needed and how to fill it out. After being so unprepared, which if you know me you know that I despise, I found this little cheat sheet for filling out the 2976-A form:

Name = Rank & Last Name

Business = Company or Unit Name/Ship Name

Address = Unit number & Box Number

Postcode = Zip code

City = APO or FPO

State = AE/AP/AA


*Note: The forms are changing, I would go to your local post office and see what they suggest. However, my cheat sheet tips are good for whatever form is current*

You can go to the post office at any time and take multiples of these forms. I always carried a few with me and took a few every time I went. Despite having this cheat sheet, I screwed up so many of those forms and had to start over. When filling out the contents, it is important to be a specific as possible. I also over-valued most things, except for the letters which money-wise aren’t worth anything. My bathroom scale was never a good estimate, so unless you have a legitimate scale, I would wait until they can weigh it at the post office and write it in there.

It’s also good to have an index card inside the package on the top with the entire address written out again in case it gets damaged or opened somehow. I was also very neurotic about taping the package as much as humanly possible. The Sailor said it definitely brought some laughs from others, but his packages were never broken when he received them. Seems like you can never have too much tape on your packages.

The coolest thing that the U.S. Postal Service does (besides deliver packages to your sailor/soldier/airman/marine etc.) is that it provides free priority mail APO/FPO flat rate boxes. You can order them here, you just need to create a free USPS account. Even better, you get a $2 discount when you ship using their flat rate boxes. So free boxes and you save money!

As far as packing the boxes, I always tried to keep bubble wrap and tissue paper around for the next package. A good test to see if you’ve got enough packing is closing the box and shaking it. If you hear anything moving in there, it’s time to add more stuffing.

Use these tips and you should be a pro in no time! Let me know what other tips you used when you first started sending care packages.

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