Sending mail abroad can be a stressful endeavour if you’ve never done it before.
With tracking, class, signed-for options, weights, and possibly even insurance to consider, it can feel overwhelming pretty quickly, especially if you don’t have a post office nearby with staff that can help you figure things out.
Even if you’re only trying to send a simple card to Germany, it can end up being a right faff unless you know exactly what you’re doing, so to save you the headaches, we’re going to take things back to basics and discuss how many stamps you’ll need.
How Do You Figure Out How Many Stamps You’ll Need To Send A Letter?
When you’re figuring out how many stamps you need to use, the first bit of information you need is the price of postage.
What Determines The Price Of The Postal Service?
- Post Weight — Heavier mail imposes more of a burden on vehicles, meaning it takes more fuel to transport. It also makes handling and delivering the mail more of a challenge for postal workers. Thus, the heavier the post is, the more it costs to send.
- Post Dimensions — It’s not just the heavy post that makes delivery more difficult, but expansive dimensions too. Even if a letter or parcel is incredibly light, if it’s quite large, it’s harder to store and transport, as it takes up so much room.
- Destination — Needless to say, the further away you’re sending your correspondence or package, the more fuel and manpower it will take to get it there, leading to, you’ve guessed it… a higher price tag.
Sometimes there will be a few other factors to bear in mind too.
For instance, should you want your post tracked, you’ll be charged an additional fee, but let’s not worry about that.
We’ll just focus on using stamps to cover primary costs in this post.
Thankfully, you don’t have to do any calculations yourself to figure out how the three variables above combine to give you the total cost of sending a card to Germany, as the postal service provides it for you.
Once you’ve got the price of postage, all you need to know is how much each stamp is worth.
How Much Are Stamps Worth?
Much like any other product or service in the UK, the value of stamps is subject to inflation, so it’s a good idea to keep track of current prices, so you’re never caught out with too few when trying to send a letter.
At the time of writing, stamps in the UK are priced at…
- 1st Class: 95 pence
- 2nd Class: 68 pence
Now you know what your stamps are worth, all you have to do is stick enough to your envelope to cover the costs of postage.
You won’t always be able to get the price dead on, which is why many people prefer to go to a post office to send their letters, as the fees are more precise.
So, how much is it exactly to send a card to Germany from the UK? Let’s find out!
How Much Does It Cost To Send A Card To Germany From The UK?
You’re permitted to send three different forms of mail to Germany via The Royal Mail:
- Large Letters
Now, being that you’re only trying to send a card, let’s disregard that last option for now and focus on the first two.
If you have a standard-sized card to send, then your mail will fall into the cheapest of these categories, which is, of course, letters.
The parameters of the ‘letters’ category are as follows:
- Max Weight: 100 g
- Max Dimensions: 24 cm (L) x 16 cm (W) x 0.5 cm (D)
To send mail that falls into the letters class to Germany, it currently costs £1.85, so, remembering our stamp values from earlier, let’s figure out how many we’d need to cover the cost of sending our card.
- 1st Class: 1st class stamps have a value of 95 pence, meaning we’d need two stamps to cover the cost of postage. However, this would mean we’re paying £1.90 for a service that only costs £1.85. Unfortunately though, as mentioned earlier, this is unavoidable unless you can get to a post office.
- 2nd Class: 2nd class stamps are currently valued at 68 pence. Placing two on our envelope will cover postage costs up to £1.36, which isn’t enough, so we’ll need to add a third, giving us a total postal value of £2.04. We’ll be paying 14 pence over the odds, but our card will make it to Germany.
So, as you can see, in this instance, it’s best to use two 1st class stamps and limit overpayment to 5 pence.
But what if you’re sending a GIANT card? Let’s figure it out!
The parameters of the ‘large letters’ category are as follows:
- Max Weight: 750 g
- Max Dimensions: 35.3 cm (L) x 25 cm (W) x 2.5 cm (D)
Sending mail to Germany that falls into the larger letters class costs £3.25, so how many stamps will we need?
- 1st Class: Worth 95 pence a pop, we’d need four 1st class stamps to send our card to Germany, with a pretty steep overpayment of 55 pence.
- 2nd Class: Worth 68 pence a pop, we’d need five 2nd class stamps, amounting to an overpayment of 15 pence — Not bad! But would there be a more cost-effective way to send our card by combining 1st and 2nd class stamps?
- Combo: Two 1st class stamps bring us to a total value of £1.90. If we then stick two 2nd class stamps on the envelope, adding £1.36 to the pot, we have a total value of £3.26 and a negligible overpayment of only 1 pence — Hooray!
What If My Card Exceeds The Maximum Parameters Of The Large Letter Class?
In the unlikely event that the card you’re trying to send to Germany is made of pure osmium and exceeds the weight limit of the large letter class, or perhaps it’s so clownishly large that it exceeds the dimension limits of the class, you’ll have to send it as a parcel.
The parameters of the parcel category are as follows:
- Max Weight: 2 kg
- Max Dimensions: 60 cm (L) — L + W + D must add up to 90 cm or below
The ‘parcel’ class carries a base-level fee of £5.85.
- 1st Class: We would need seven 95 pence 1st class stamps to send our card assuming an overpayment of 80 pence.
- 2nd Class: We would need nine 68 pence 2nd class stamps to send our card to Germany, assuming an overpayment of 27 pence.
- Combo: Combining six 2nd class stamps with two 1st class stamps would give us a postal value of £5.98, a mere overpayment of 13 pence. However, if your card is really this cumbersome, you may not be able to fit it into a post box, and a visit to a post office may be your only option.
There you have it! — The number of stamps you’ll need to send a card to Germany depends on a number of factors, including the size and weight of the card and which stamps you have available.
Typically, using a combination of both 1st and 2nd class stamps will give you the best value if you’re sending from a post box, but heading to a post office if you can will be even more cost-effective.