At the end of October, we signed up for Aramex’s international shipping service Shop & Ship. For a one time fee, the service gives you 15 physical forwarding addresses around the world from where a package can then be sent to you at your home (you pay shipping on each individual package delivery). Although I’d heard mixed reviews, it seemed like the best option out there for us to receive packages/important mail since the mail system here in the UAE is unreliable.
A few weeks ago I made some online purchases at American stores (I’m having trouble finding places that have inexpensive pants in long lengths here!). I had the items sent to my sister’s place so that she could repackage everything in to one package (and so that we could FaceTime and I could see the clothes before shipping them all the way to Abu Dhabi).
The Shop & Ship service charges you for delivery on each package you receive based off weight and the country or origin/delivery. For example, items coming from the US are charged with the first kilo costing 43 AED ($11.71 USD) and each additional half kilo costing 34 AED ($9.26 USD) more. Aramex’s online payment option will give you the total shipping cost, plus the cost of any customs if necessary. For the UAE, items valued over $250 will require customs payment.
Julie repackaged my items and shipped them from Cincinnati to our New York forwarding address on a Friday afternoon. The package made it to New York the following Wednesday. On Sunday, I received my first email from Aramex letting me know the package weight and that it was on its way. Later that day, I received the email with the tracking information and link to pay ahead for shipping costs. The package arrived at the Duabi shipping center on Monday, and was at my door a little after noon on Tuesday.
Overall my first experience with Shop & Ship is a positive one. Of course, the shipping costs are steep, but if I’d purchased similar clothes here in the UAE, I would have more than made up of the cost of shipping (clothes are much more expensive here than in the US). Beyond the cost, I have no complaints about the service. Plus, having forwarding addresses from around the world means that I can shop online throughout Europe and Asia and have items delivered to me here in Abu Dhabi.
I don’t think that we’ll do a ton of online shopping, but it’s a nice option to have, and a great one to look in to for expats living abroad.