Monday, December 12, 2011


I always send six postcards back to the USA when I travel. Part of my routine is that I find a nice little cafe somewhere, have a latté, and write out my postcards. It helps me focus my thoughts for possible blog posts later. With every card I actually try to write something of substance as opposed to "Greetings from where ever" and "Bye".

At times, the biggest challenge is just getting stamps. Every country is a little different. Sometimes you can buy stamps from a postcard kiosk on the street. Sometimes you buy stamps at a tobacco shop or a newsstand. Sometimes you can purchase stamps in hotel lobbies. And other times you have to go to the post office. When I arrive at a new destination, one of the first things I find out about is the post situation. Especially if I arrive someplace on a Saturday morning because you never know at what time the post office will close.

In Kosovo, the only place you can buy stamps is at the post office which, of course, is closed on Sundays. In Prishtina, I even went to the Grand Hotel to see if they possibly had stamps I could purchase. They did sell stamps. Great. However, on Sundays, the stamps are locked away upstairs and no one on duty had the key. Not so great. So my Kosovo postcards were all mailed from Albania.

I always ask for a postcard stamp to North America. Some countries charge different prices depending on where the postcard is going. For example, in Germany an international postcard stamp costs €0,75 regardless if it goes next door to Austria or all the way to Australia.

France charges €0,75 for the European Union and Switzerland but €0,89 for the rest of Europe or the USA.

Italy is expensive. There it's €0,75 for Europe, €1,60 for the USA and €2 for Australia.

In the Czech Republic, it's 20 Kč for Europe and 21 Kč (~$1.10) for the USA. I just budget in $20 for stamps and postcards on every trip I take and I'm covered.

There are normally mail boxes at airports and train stations. Most hotels will also mail things off for you, if you don't have time to find a box or the actual post office. In Albania, there are no mail boxes. The only mail boxes in the entire capital are in front of the post office so you have to go to the post office to mail anything.

My niece has a map of the world on her bedroom wall and she tacks up all of the post cards I send her. Someone else has a special album filled with the cards I've sent. My mom had the most creative idea. She pastes recipes on the back side of any postcard she receives and then puts them in an actual post card rack. Pretty clever.

Update:  2014 - Czech Post raised the price of a postcard to the USA to 30 Kč ($1.50).

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful uncle you are! Think of all the dreams she's dreaming of lands faraway because you are doing that.