As stressful as it can be to wait for the arrival of a letter or package, one of the most daunting aspects is the uncertainty of not knowing the time of its arrival. However, the United States Postal Service provides charts and calculators on its website that make time delivery estimation simpler.
The USPS Service Standards Map
The USPS Service Standards Map calculates the estimated length of time needed for a piece of mail to travel from one destination to another within the United States. This includes options for first-class mail, package services, periodicals and standard mail. When you enter the region from which the package originates, a map of the U.S. appears that uses colors to show how long the package will take to arrive at any point in the country. However, the times given are estimates, and the actual time of arrival may vary by several days.
Priority Mail Delivery Times
Priority Mail is a USPS service for delivering mail that weighs between 13 ounces and 70 pounds, which has been marked as important by the sender, so that the carrier attempts to deliver it as quickly as possible. This generally takes between one to three days. The USPS website displays a map of the various mailing districts. When someone punches in their ZIP Code of origin, the map shows whether it would take the mail one day, two days or three days to arrive in that district. The time estimates on this map are more likely to correspond closely to the actual time of arrival than those on the Service Standards map because of the urgency with which Priority Mail is treated.
Overseas Mail Delivery
The USPS Priority Mail International program delivers mail to over 180 countries, and, for many of these countries, it can deliver within six to 10 business days. However, the actual time of arrival varies depending on the destination and other factors such as customs delays and whether or not the recipient lives in a rural area. Standard first-class delivery to an overseas location with USPS is estimated to take about 20 days.
Other Mail Delivery Service Times
USPS provides a comprehensive list of the additional mail services it offers and their respective time delivery estimates. Standard Post and Media Mail both take between two to eight business days, depending on location and the availability of transportation in hard-to-reach places. First-class mail generally takes between one to three business days. Because Priority Mail Express makes overnight deliveries, customers can expect their mail to arrive within a day after its posting.
Boze Herrington is a writer and blogger who lives in Kansas City, Mo. His work has been featured in Cracked and "The Atlantic."