I am sending a postcard from a large US city to a large city in Germany via the cheapest shipping option.

How long should the letter take to arrive? I have read 5 to 10 business days in one place and 10 to 12 business days in another place. Is there a definitive answer? It is hard to find this information on the USPS website.

(Note: you can use this calculator for the reverse trip: https://www.portokalkulator.de/portokalkulator/std)

  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it does not appear to be about travel in the scope defined in the help center.
    – choster
    May 5, 2019 at 15:10
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    We can talk about this in meta, but there are quite a large number of other questions on the site relating to international shipping speeds for other destinations and the answers seem hard to find. May 5, 2019 at 15:18
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    I've edited the description to reference a postcard, which is something a traveler from Germany to the USA might want to send home. May 5, 2019 at 15:21
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    I have seen reports of items arriving by mail within 48 hours and also outside 3 months from sending, so hard to give a good answer.
    – Willeke
    May 5, 2019 at 16:27
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    Given that postcards are pretty much only sent by travellers, I'm voting to keep this open. May 5, 2019 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


Since 2007, I received 53 postcards from the US (via postcrossing). I live in Germany, so this is relevant to your question. The average travel time was 11 days, roughly 67% arrived within this time frame. The minimum was 3 days, the maximum 61.

Of course, these are not 100% exact numbers - the "send" date is the day the sender got my address, not necessarily the day he mailed the card, and the "received" date is the day I registered the card, not necessarily the day it reached my mailbox.

Still, all those numbers will always be only estimates, and every single postcard can arrive late. In 2016, I mailed three postcards from Scotland to Germany. The first card arrived after about one week, the second one after two weeks, the third one after three weeks. Since I dropped them all into the SAME mailbox at the very same time, I have no clue why the travel time differed so much...

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    yeah. Longest I've ever had mail from the US take to Europe was 9 months. It'd been addressed correctly, but the mail sorting people in the US had misplaced it into a bag for the wrong country, and from there it traveled through like 20 countries before getting to me (the collection of postmarks and writing redirecting it was interesting).
    – jwenting
    May 6, 2019 at 4:15
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    @jwenting There's this image of a parcel meant for Australia that's first been sent to Austria 5 times. i.redd.it/o761lf0fk7021.jpg Apparently it happens so often that the Austrian postal service has a special stamp for the occasion.
    – Nzall
    May 6, 2019 at 7:59
  • @Nzall I don’t think this stamp is especially for parcels that should go to Australia and end up in Austria...
    – idmean
    May 6, 2019 at 12:10
  • I'm impressed and amazed that you kept track of the delivery time!
    – FreeMan
    May 6, 2019 at 14:02

Of the 20 postcards I have sent through post crossing to Germany, on average it takes 19 days for them to get there. Of the 5 postcards I have received from Germany it has taken, on average, 53 days. I don't know why there is such a big difference.

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