*Parcel Motel also offers a delivery service to Ireland. The service costs €6.50, €7.50 or €8.50 for a small, medium and large parcel weighing up to 10KG. I haven’t used the service yet so I cannot comment on the delivery time. However, the process to pay for and send the parcel is the same as sending to the UK*

Parcel Motel offer a competitively priced parcel delivery service to the UK. They charge based on the size of the parcel and accept parcels up to 10KG. You must print a label online and drop the parcel off at your local motel.

Prices

Small: €14.50    8 × 38 × 64 cm
Medium: €15.50    19 × 38 × 64 cm
Large: €16.50    41 × 38 × 64 cm

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Parcel Motel LogoParcel Motel is the virtual address I use by far the most often. I’ve received over 110 parcels and have never had any real issues. Looking at the thread on boards.ie you can see not everyone is as complimentary about their service as I am. In my experience, if a parcel is delivered to Parcel Motel in Northern Ireland by noon, it will be ready for collection at my Dublin Motel by 10.30PM on the same day. Combining Parcel Motel with Amazon Prime, I can get next day delivery to Dublin for €3.50 from Amazon. That ain’t bad at all.

As well as receiving Parcels with Parcel Motel you can send parcels to other Parcel Motel Users, Address in Ireland & the UK as well as returning items to retailers including Littlewoods, Collect+, My Hermes and Royal Mail. In this post I will just discuss the receiving side of Parcel Motel and will cover the sending side in future posts.

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AddressPal Logo

I have only used AddressPal once. I was looking to buy a car part from a scrapyard in the UK and they offered free shipping to Mainland UK or a £20 surcharge to Northern Ireland. As AddressPal is the only service that offers a Mainland UK address it was a perfect chance to try it out. Signing up was simple – provide your details and select a post office to pickup from. Once you have completed the sign up process they will provide you with the address and your unique AddressPal ID. A couple of days later an AddressPal card will arrive at your home which you use when picking up parcels. The unique ID is 19 characters long which seems excessive -my parcel motel one is 6. It also appears to be linked to the post office you select to receive parcels at – I’m not sure if this means every time you select a new post office they send you a new card.

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The ‘original’ virtual address from the UK to Ireland was deliverme.ie but Nightline’s Parcel Motel launched in 2012 was the first that became popular with the masses. Since its success there have been numerous other couriers jumping on the bandwagon – DPD launched Parcel Wizard, FastWay launched Parcel Connect and An Post recently launched Address Pal.

What is a UK Virtual Address?
Each of the services will provide you with a ‘virtual address’ in the UK. You can then get parcels delivered to this address and they will bring it down to Ireland and deliver it to you – either to your house or pick up point for a small fee. This allows you to purchase items from UK sites that may not deliver to or only offer expensive delivery options to Ireland. The service costs between €3.50 – €4.50 depending on the provider.

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eBay Global Shipping Program LogoeBay launched their Global Shipping Program in partnership with Pitney Bowes in 2012 and have been expanding it ever since. The program allows sellers to send the item to a domestic address where Pitney Bowes relabels the packages, processes the import charges and then dispatches the item to the buyer. The buyer pays for import charges when purchasing the item on eBay and therefore does not need to pay anything else on receiving the item. eBay is also keen to point out that due to the discount Pitney Bowes has negotiated for shipping in bulk the shipping costs are cheaper then if the seller dispatched directly to the buyer.

While in theory this sounds great, I have actively avoided using eBay Global Shipping, instead opting for sellers who will send the item directly themselves. There are several reasons for this – I have seen plenty of complaints online about the program including delayed packageslost packages and repacking the product poorly. I also find smaller, relatively low cost items often slip through the import charges net and I receive the parcel without having to pay anything. Finally, since the eBay seller first dispatches the item to a Pitney Bowes warehouse where it is processed and then dispatched to your address it can be a lot slower then the seller posting the item directly to you.

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