Postcrossing Around the World
Hello readers! Today, I want to share one of my favorite hobbies: postcrossing. Postcrossing is "an online project that allows its members to send and receive postcards from all over the world." Aside from the web platform that coined the term, I also participate in postcard swaps on Instagram or with friends who live far away! I've amassed several binders full of interesting postcards over the years from all over the world. Interested in how to get started? Read on to learn more!
After about two years of swapping postcards on both of these platforms, my collection consists of over 500 postcards. They range in size, shape, and country, but I love flipping through my albums and marveling over them! I enjoy looking at the variety of stamps, postmarks, and messages. And to be honest, I don't mind if they get worn and torn during travel- there's a certain curiosity to possessing something that traveled the world to get to you.
As I mentioned earlier, I use primarily two platforms to swap postcards. Now, you'll most likely be interacting with total strangers and giving them your address, so turn back now if that makes you uncomfortable. The way I get around that discomfort is by excluding my last name or some other unnecessary piece of information (for example, my apartment number, since the mailman knows my name).
Postcrossing is a great website and ensures fairness in how users receive incoming postcards. As a new user, you can request addresses to send postcards to, which the site will randomly select and email to you. Once these users receive their postcards from you, you will then be eligible to receive a postcard from another random user in return. Each postcard you send will have a unique ID that that user will input to register your card. You build your way up to receiving more postcards at a time by becoming a reliable sender yourself!
Users are not very picky on Postcrossing, and it can also be a great opportunity to surprise and delight someone if you see that they particularly like cats and you just happened to have that postcard of cats laying around! I've received little goodies with my postcards as well, like stickers or ephemera. To date, I've sent 119 postcards and received 113 postcards from this website after about a year of use!
If you check the hashtag #postcardswap or #postcardexchange on Instagram, you'll find tons of accounts dedicated to swapping postcards via Instagram. This method of postcrossing is a little more direct and transactional. Rather than the surprise of receiving a card in your mailbox from a random user, you and the other Instagrammer will select your cards of choice to swap and hold each other accountable for its delivery.
If you see a postcard you like and it's available swap, you can comment on the Instagram post or message the user directly (swappers have different preferences). Then, that user will likely go on your account and look for a card from your available swaps that they'd like in return. There's a lot more direct interaction here. Luckily, I've never encountered anyone terribly rude.
However, beware of scammers! Instagram doesn't have community rules around these swaps, so if you get scammed, you'll have to cut your losses. If you're unsure about the legitimacy of an account, check its "tagged" posts section. See if they have a record of taking photos of incoming/outgoing mail, or if anyone else has tagged them in their own incoming postcards photo.
Do you like mailing and receiving postcards? I'd love to swap with you! Leave me a message and let's get postcrossing!