How To Address a Package? | Label The Right Way

Addressing a package sounds like a simple enough task –  however, shipping a package is a hassle, imagine just because of a minor mistake in the address causing the package to be lost or delayed! 

If the address is illegible or incomplete, the shipping carrier may not be able to deliver your package or in the worst case scenario, they might return it to you.

On top of that, you now have to pay extra fees because of your incorrect addressing mistake. 

There is also a slight chance if your package gets lost or damaged because of an incorrect address, you may not be able to even get a refund or replacement. Outrageous. Isn’t it?

This is frustrating, we know.

To solve all the headaches down the road, today’s ultimate guide will help you understand how to address a shipment package correctly, and even provide several address examples.

How To Address a Package

How To Address a Package

Don’t get confused, labeling & writing the address is the same. Yes, shipping carriers provide you labels with all the details section which you paste on the box. But similarly, you can even write on the box too.

Labels are self explanatory, you just need to fill it up. But addressing the info by hand requires a little guidance.

Essential things include: 

  • Recipient’s full name
  • the delivery address
  • city, state (when shipping within the U.S.)
  • zip code

Now, formatting and destination type is dynamically changed. It would depend, on whether you’re sending it to a business address, to an apartment address, etc. 

Also Check: Where Can I Drop off a Prepaid UPS Package

Addressing a box for shipping:

First, write the name of the business or person. Then, write “C/O” or “ATTN” and the recipient’s name on the next line. Finish the rest of the address as usual.

Now, coming back to formatting based on the address type. There are 4 main types you need to know:

  1. Domestic House Address
  2. Business Address
  3. International Address
  4. Apartment Address

Domestic Addressing:

Ms. Jess Tim

2119 S Jackson St.

Chicago, IL 60609

The above 3 lines of formatting are standard that you need to use. Another pro tip would be to always include a directional with the street address when applicable.

Business Addressing:

Creative Agency NY

ATTN Mr. Tucker Jones

1271 Sixth Ave.

New York, NY 10020

When addressing a package this is how you are supposed to write for a business address. If possible, write your receiver’s name, and their department alongside.

International Addressing:

Ms. Susan James

4 Princeton

Little Whinging

Surrey KT18 5DA


Note: International address formats vary from country to country, so do a quick Google search to know the exact formatting for the country of your package’s destination. 

But as a rule of thumb, the destination country is always written on the last line of the address. And make sure you write it in capital letters.

Apartment Addressing:

Ms. Jones Gellar

904 Bedford St Apt 22

New York NY  10014

Note: Again, you might need to do a Google search to figure out how to write an apartment address following the unit number.

The above sample is US standard with the addition of a unit number. If you’re tight on space, you can place an apartment number next to the street address. 

Also Read: What Does It Mean When a Package Is In Transit

Tips on “how to address a box for shipping” 

Once you know how to address the box for shipping, follow these tips to help ensure your package’s quick delivery:

  • Don’t only rely on a handwritten package address, also print a shipping label when possible. Carriers have an easier time with printed labels than handwritten ones, which helps speed up the process. 
  • Use correct placement. Always write a handwritten address or shipping label on the largest side. However, the written return address should be in the upper left corner. AVOID placing it over a seam or flap
  • Write with a permanent waterproof pen. A black Sharpie is an excellent option if you’re writing directly on a package but use a pen when filling out a label. DO NOT use a pencil as it easily fades in transit.
  • Don’t punctuate thinking it is common knowledge. Punctuation isn’t always recognized by scanners. Avoid periods, commas, and symbols.
  • Avoid writing in cursive writing style, each word should be easily readable.
  • Always write your return address. 
  • Use the correct abbreviations, like ST for Street, BLVD for Boulevard, RD for Road, APT for Apartment, N for North, E for East, S for South, W for West, etc.
  • Print labels on sticker paper, or use a laser printer if possible. Make sure the label has durable polyester sticker paper with strong adhesive.
  • To be sure, put an additional label inside the package box. The extra label will ensure that the package will reach its destination.
  • Check each word TWICE. Once out to ship it won’t come back that easily, write everything legible and properly formatted.
How to Address a Package Like a Pro in 30 Seconds

How to label a box for shipping, by hand:

Couriers have slight differences in information requirements, but all shipping labels contain the same information, such as:

  1. Service type: The shipping method (e.g., Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express)
  2. Sender name and address: Your name and address
  3. Recipient name and address: The recipient’s name and address
  4. Tracking number: The number that can be used to track the package online
  5. Package weight: The weight of the package
  6. Postal barcode: The scannable zip code for the package that you have to print

Conclusion On How To Write An Address On a Package

Apart from well packaged items for shipping, you should also properly label and address to ensure delivery without a glitch.

But what happens when a shipping address is formatted incorrectly?

If you ship a package with incorrect information, in most cases, you may be able to fix it if you act quickly. 

  • You must contact the shipping carrier and ask about updating the address. If the package is already in the delivery process, sadly, it’s already too late then. 
  • Upon failed delivery, your item should return via the return address you’ve written on your label or the return address written by you on the box.

And you already know the consequence, we’ve talked about it in the beginning. So be vigilant on your first try!