It can be extremely difficult for the partners of those in the Armed Forces when their career takes them overseas. This might be for a few weeks for a training exercise or for several years to engage in combat. Whatever the length of time, it can be difficult to deal with the knowledge that they’re so far away in a potentially dangerous situation. That’s why it’s nice to do everything you can to stay in touch.
Unfortunately, internet access is rare for soldiers, and phone calls are limited. Much of a soldier’s correspondence will take place through mail. You may exchange letters and cards frequently to let them know that you’re thinking of them. However, it may be the case that an anniversary or birthday is approaching and you want to do something a little more special.
If you decide to send a parcel, there are a few key things to remember. Firstly, check what you can and can’t send. Any items which aren’t allowed will probably be destroyed, or at the very least, will never reach your partner. If this is the case and it has to be removed from the package, the package may no longer be in a fit state to be sent, so be careful about what you send.
Secondly, think about the practicalities of sending certain items. This is particularly the case with food items. Food perishes faster in heat, so anything which might not be edible by the time it arrives is a no-go. Anything that melts or will be affected by heat should also be avoided. Instead, long-lasting food items which provide energy can be a better idea. Cereal and protein bars will provide them with much-needed energy without spoiling.
Toiletries such as toothbrushes and shower products will also be gratefully received. When it comes to sending a package to a soldier, practicality should be at the forefront of your mind. It can be expensive if you send too many unnecessary items, so think about what they’ll need.
Anything too precious should also be avoided. They will feel better knowing that their special items are being looked after at home. You might mean well by sending their special letters, jewellery or gifts from their children over, but it will be another thing for them to worry about. These items can’t be replaced if they’re lost in transit or misplaced during battle or training, so keep it practical and replaceable.
Sending parcels overseas to soldiers is one of the best ways to show that you care, and will be a much-appreciated surprise on the day it gets there. It can be morale-boosting for a soldier to know that the people back at home are thinking about them, so feel free to drop them a gift from time to time.
Caitlin Spencer is an air force wife who’s always looking for new ways to keep in touch with her beloved husband