If you are shipping holiday gifts to loved ones who are miles away, buying a present may be the easy part.
But making sure your holiday packages arrive at their destinations safely before Christmas shouldn't drain your bank account or be a big hassle, if you keep these tips in mind.
1. Pick the right gift: Not only do you want to buy gift that they will like, you need to buy something you can mail easily. Even with the right packing precautions, it's always safer to buy items you know can survive a bumpy trip through the mail. Apparel, shoes and most toys are a safe bet.
Also, remember some states restrict what items you can send in the mail. Pay attention to these rules, especially if you are shipping fruits and veggies. Also, certain batteries, liquids and plants may be restricted depending on the package's destination, so be sure to ask about prohibited items before you ship your gifts.
2. Pay attention to the box: Make sure to use a box that's in good condition. "Use a new, sturdy box that's a few inches larger than your gift on all sides to allow for plenty of cushioning," FedEx spokesperson Bonny Harrison said.
(Read more: What NOT to buy your boss this holiday)
In an attempt to save money, "many inexperienced shippers—people who ship one or two packages a year—often make the mistake of using the wrong size box, or an old box, which can easily result in damaged gifts," said Scott Harkins, senior vice president of global marketing at FedEx.
Using an old box can cause problems down the line. Make sure it's free of torn flaps, holes, corner dents, or water-damage. UPS said a crease can reduce a box's strength by as much as 70 percent.