|How to pack secure and send bottles internationally when you swap?|
Many have had numerous sad and expensive experiences regarding careless packing and accidental labelling of packages containing bottles.
Once I was the careless one sending 14 bottles in a package to Australia. The bottles were only wrapped loose in a small layer of bubble wrap, and the box was topped with crumpled newspaper. 2 bottles were broken when my mate Wayne Harris received his package. And I guess he thought his words about me!! What is even worse is that Wayne actually had described, very carefully, to me before how I should make a secure packing. Now I have learned my lesson and here is what my mate advised me to do when I pack bottles:
Packing is extremely important. Get some bubble-wrap plastic sheeting (any shop which sells delicate things such as glassware, computers, electrical goods, etc should be able to give you some as that sort of stuff is often packaged in it). Each bottle must be wrapped in 2 or 3 layers of the bubble-wrap. I start at a point of the wrap & fold the ends over the bottle as I go, thus covering the top & bottom as you go. Tape the end when wrapped, and then wrap again, the same way, in 4 sheets of newspaper. I find that gives a solid outer protection. Get a stout carton, which has at least a couple of inches gap, each side of the top & bottom of the tallest packed bottle. This allows adequate padding around the bottle.
Put an inch or so of solid polystyrene foam or crushed up newspaper on the bottom of the box. Lay say 2 of the wrapped bottles on the padding & put similar padding between them & every part of the carton, so there is padding at every point. Also put padding between the bottles. If you get the 3 in a row, that's fine (lie them so the top of one is beside the base of another, especially for the tapered ones, as they fit better & it distributes the weight better), otherwise put a layer of padding over the ones on the bottom row & put the remaining bottle/s on top of that, packed as for the bottom layer. Make the packing quite firm to immobilise them securely. Loose packing is no good. Finish by putting a layer of padding on top of the upper bottle/s. I like at least 3 or 4cm of packing at every point between bottle & carton, & bottle - bottle. The parcels get some rough treatment in transit, so you have to allow for that. Skimping on packing is false economy.
The final thing is to clearly address the box & tape it securely so it doesn't come adrift in transit. You can put strong twine around it, too, if you wish.
Happy international swapping!!