Scratch the Travel Itch With Postcard Swaps
Like many people, I’ve started to go a bit stir crazy during the restrictions of the pandemic. However, I’ve found the secret sauce; the way to give that itch to travel a good scratch from the comfort of your home…
It’s postcard swaps!
Postcard swapping is a great way to learn about other places, share your own experiences, create lasting friendships, and have fun. By the end of this article, you’ll be a postcard swap expert and can get started too!
Why Postcard Swap?
Why get started with postcard swapping as a hobby? Well, three solid reasons: it’s cheap, it’s fun, and it connects you with people around the globe.
It’s Relatively Cheap
Postcard swapping is as expensive as you make it. You can go super cheap and buy a package of postcards of your state or country. I’m from Florida, and I personally love the “Greetings from Florida” cards, which currently run on Amazon 20 for $8.98 (less than a dollar per card).
Of course, you can find really great postcard deals through other methods, like your local Facebook marketplace, eBay, or even in second-hand stores.
In addition to that, I like to decorate the backs of my postcard with washi tapes and stickers, but that’s a personal preference. Decorations are not required and the most important part is the message anyway!
The most expensive part of the hobby is the stamps.
For USA residents, if you do global exchanges, then you will need to play for global postage, which will cost you $1.20 per stamp.
However, if you’re exchanging with military bases around the world or people within the United States, you can use a postcard stamp, which runs at 36 cents a stamp right now.
It’s Super Fun
Postcard swapping is fun. When you agree to exchange postcards with someone else, not only do you get to send off a cool postcard, but you receive one. Within a week or two, you’ll open your mailbox, and next to the bills will be a message from a distant land. How cool is that?
It’s nice to get some mail other than bills, and even cooler when people take the time to write a fun fact about where they live or tell you a funny story about the picture on the postcard. Most people take the time to write a nice message for those they swap with and that has the power to brighten anyone’s day.
Writing postcards lets you be the storyteller for a second too. You can get nerdy and tell them some cool things about where you live or where the image on the postcard was taken. Or you can write a more personal story relating to the postcard. Either way, the recipient will no doubt find joy in getting the postcard from you.
It’ll Create Connections
Swapping postcards lets you connect with people around the globe. It lets you share experiences. It lets you share knowledge. It basically lets you travel without traveling.
For a moment, when you pull a postcard fresh from the mailbox and read it, you’re there with the person who sent it. You can look at the moody goat on the front and connect with the sender as they tell you a story about how once one such grumpy goat ate their favorite hat!
It’s magical. It’s powerful. It connects you to others, even for a moment.
So, how can you get in on the fun too? Glad you asked.
Where to Postcard Swap
There are lots of ways to find people to postcard swap with. Here are two of the ways that have worked best for me.
Postcrossing is by far the most popular way to swap postcards with strangers. Basically, it sets up the swaps for you. You create an account, a profile, and then voila! Get ready for some happy mail.
When you send a postcard, the website gives you the recipient’s address, profile, and a code. You write the code on the postcard (along with your message of course) and when they get it, they register it on the website using that code.
In return, Postcrossing gives your information to someone else and they send you a postcard!
Postcrossing keeps track of where you’ve sent postcards to, how many, and all kinds of other cool stats including how far your postcards have traveled collectively. It shows you exactly the reach of your mail in the world.
Postcrossing is cool, but a little slow. It only lets you send out so many postcards at once, which limits how many you receive. So, my favorite way to swap is through Facebook groups!
My favorite Facebook group for swaps is Sundays, Coffee, Friends, and Postcards, however, many others operate in similar ways.
How it works is each week a new thread opens up and people can agree to swap with each other. In private messages, you exchange addresses and then eventually proof (a photo of their address on a stamped postcard) that you upheld your end of the swap. You can swap as many or few as you want each week.
I’ve had some wonderful swaps and even made some new friends as a result.
Facebook group swaps are nice because you can specify if you only want to swap within your country or if you’re open to global swaps. I’ve swapped with people from my own state, Florida, all the way to Korea!
Postcard swapping is an unexpected hobby that has definitely made my life better in so many ways. So, maybe join a group and give it a try. You can make it an event, sit down, take some quiet time, and write some beautiful messages to strangers around the world.
You’ll scratch that travel itch, yes, but you’ll also spread happiness across the world! What can be better than that?