Monday, August 5, 2013

International Addresses!

Over the past several weeks we've been created hundreds of document wallets to be sent out to soon-to-be passengers on a cruise coming up in August. This particular company has a fairly wide network with document wallets being sent literally all across the globe. Having lived in the States my entire life, the US address system makes sense to me. It seems pretty organized and to the point. Address, City, State, Zip. At it's most complicated, the address might have multiple parts, such as an apartment or unit number. But that's really about it. In my mind that seems pretty straight forward.

Since the first time I traveled internationally to when I first had friends leave the country for several years at a time, it came to my notice that addresses internationally can be very very different. Somewhere hidden in the different format, the same general information is still probably there, but...maybe not. In this most recent batch of international shipments we had addresses that appeared to be all specific description and no general. No zip or postal codes. Or region after region after region. I suppose if American addresses included counties that layers of regions might make more sense.

Anyway, in the mix of all of these variations, the one thing that stood out to me is the postal code system for UK. When I've mailed to the UK and had thing mailed to me in the UK, the addresses have always boggled me a little. There just seems to be a lot of variation in a good portion of the address. I swear with my Cardiff addresses there were lines to the addresses. However, while not a particularly bright idea, it seems possible that you could leave all of that off and just put the name of the individual you're shipping it to with the postal code and call it good. Why? Because the postal codes are almost GPS coordinates. Seriously. Take any UK postal code and google it (along with "UK" and it will take you to almost the exact location that is attached to the code. I'm not talking about when you google "Chicago, IL" or "97336" and it pulls up with a dot in the middle of a city. I'm saying you google that exact code and it will take you to the exact location that makes up the rest of the address description. It's cool. :)

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