Postcrossing Blog

Stories about the Postcrossing community and the postal world

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If you follow the news, you probably have heard about the Icelandic volcano that recently caused a major disruption on Europe’s air traffic. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano (don’t worry, we don’t know how to properly pronounce that either) caused huge delays on passengers hoping to fly on the days after its eruption on April 14th.

But why is this relevant here? Because not only passengers got grounded – cargo flights too, and this obviously included mail delivery services; any mail arriving or leaving the affected parts of Europe got delayed. But how much did this really affect the postal services? We couldn’t find any hard data on it, so we decided to measure it ourselves and share it with you.

Below you can see a graph of number of Postcrossing postcards received per week of 2010.

Volcano effect in mail delivery
Postcards received per week (2010)

It’s easy to spot when the Eyjafjallajökull did its thing, isn’t it? We estimate a 26% hiccup on mail delivery because of the volcano. Quite amazing how powerful nature can be.

However, the good news is: mail delivery is back again to its normal speed, judging by last week’s numbers. It’s quite possible that postcards traveling to more far away places might still be affected by this, but the worse part seems to be over, so keep posting! :)

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Ever wondered if there is a way to speed up the delivery of the mail sent to you? Well, actually there is!

It’s quite an obvious fact, but is many times overlooked: writing your address in the most complete and correct way for your country helps a good deal on the speed of the delivery. However, each country has it’s own guidelines of how to write the address so, to help with this, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) has created guides for each country describing how to correctly write the address in that country. This not only insures that the mail is always delivered to you but also that it is done as fast as possible when all the mail is sorted and distributed on the postal services.

To help you find the guide for your own country you can go to your edit address section where you’ll find a direct link to it, or go to the UPU website for all the guides.

Oh, and also very important: if your country has a postal code system (most do), make sure you have your postal code in your address and that it is complete. That will also help the postcards arrive faster to you!

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