I shipped a frameset with various components to Japan only a couple months ago. Shipping via USPS was BY FAR the cheapest. It ultimately had cost only under $70 ... with delivery in 6 days.
I shipped via EXPRESS MAIL INTERNATIONAL this is one step faster than Priority mail. The requirements are (were) that the box must be under a maximum length of 64 inches. ... and the total "girth" (height plus width times two) plus the length must be under a total of 108 inches. As I recall, my cut-down bike carton measured around 24" x 8" x 42" - which looked absurdly large for the modest cost. However, I checked at the PO where they literally measured and weighed (19 lbs), and everything was entirely within their limits - to their surprise as well.
Much of the shipping of larger cartons is based on total dimensions rather than simply by weight. So the same cost would have applied for a roughly 21 x 21 x 21" box with equal total outer measurements. A carton of those dimensions would not have looked like such a huge box and thus the cost would not have "seemed" so absurdly cheap.
Check on the USPS.com website for estimates on current shipping cost and any recent changes in their size/weight regulations.
My carton was even eligible for a free scheduled carrier pick-up if I had so chosen, ... and with postage purchased online I also received an 8% discount on shipping fees... and all the correct customs forms were printed at home - right with the postage/shipping label - all on standard printer paper.
It would have cost a few hundred dollars by any other carrier. So USPS was/is a great option.
BOB HANSON, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, USA
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