When you purchase a package, no doubt you become excited and cannot wait for it to arrive. As you track it, you may see the term ‘in transit’ is used to describe your package’s journey to you. What does ‘In Transit’ mean?
Whenever you see ‘in transit’ on your package status, the courier company has picked up the package. It is working on getting it to you. In many cases, the status remains in the ‘In Transit’ status until the package is delivered to your address.
In this article, we explore what ‘in transit’ really means and some of the more popular questions you may think of when you see your packages are in transit.
How Long Does A Package Stay In Transit?
The period a package stays in transit depends on the distance it travels to reach you. The shorter the delivery distance, the more like it is to stay in transit for a short time. Other factors affecting transit time include the delivery method, customs, incomplete delivery address, and many more.
In general, how long a package stays in transit depends on the distance it has to reach you and if the package has the correct details.
The further the package has to travel to reach you, the time it will spend in transit will usually be longer. For example, say you live in Dallas, TX, and purchase something from an online seller in Fort Worth, TX. The package should not spend more than 48 hours in transit, as the distance is close.
In fact, if you opt for a faster delivery service such as Amazon’s same-day delivery, the package may spend even less time in transit.
However, say if you live in Dallas, TX, and purchased something from Mumbai, India. The package will probably have to spend a long time in transit, as the traveling processing may take much longer.
Some methods may help packages stay in transit shorter. For example, suppose you purchase from Mumbai, India, and have it delivered to you by air. In that case, the package may only spend 10 days in transit. However, if you opted for sea delivery, you may see your package in transit for over a month or more.
For small, local delivery, sometimes packages spend less time in transit if you opt for a smaller vehicle. For example, in big cities with massive traffic gridlock, opting for a motorcycle or bicycle delivery may help to drastically decrease transit time.
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If your purchase is outside the US, there is a likelihood your package will spend a long time in transit. This is because the package may take a longer time to undergo processing.
When packages arrive in the US from overseas, US Customs and Border Protection may process them. At this point, your packages may be subjected to scanning, inspection, and checks to ensure no contraband enters the country. The checking process may take longer if the packages come from countries with a history of sending contraband.
Incomplete Contact & Address
If your package does not have the correct address and contact, it will spend much more time in transit. This is because the package cannot be delivered to you, so they will likely go back to the nearest processing center until they can somehow correct it.
When errors have been discovered on your package, the status ‘in transit’ may change to its relevant status. Some couriers keep the ‘in transit status, with the additional status in brackets. For example, In Transit (Out For Delivery)
Particularly bad weather may disrupt the delivery process, causing packages to stay in transit longer. For example, when the storm is bad enough to delay the cargo planes from taking off. There may also be floods and earthquakes that cause roads to be inaccessible, affecting delivery.
Unforeseen events may also result in prolonged time for your packages. For example, public riots may result in a generally unsafe condition for delivery men to conduct delivery work. The courier workers’ union may also organize a strike, resulting in a stoppage in service.
The most recent major event that resulted in packages remaining in transit for a long time is Covid-19. As courier processing and delivery services shut down for movement control, transit time increased dramatically.
Can I Pick Up My Package If It Is In Transit?
You may not pick up your package if it is in transit. The package may be travelling to you, so the courier company cannot arrange a good pickup point for you. However, you may still try with the courier company and see if an arrangement can be made for your case.
When a package is in transit, it is often on its way to you. It could be in a semi-trailer traveling across the Midwest, in a plane flying across Mexico’s airspace, or riding in a van with a local delivery man.
This means when you want to pick up your package while it is in transit can be a bit too troublesome for the courier company.
Often the package is not in a position where they can pick it up. Courier companie may not a cargo plane just so you can pick up your package. Courier companies may also not allow you to pick up parcels by meeting with the delivery men by the roadside.
However, some courier companies may help hold a package at a certain point, so pickups can be done safely, for example, at a major processing point. At your request, the company may hold your package and stop it from further processing until you arrive to pick it up.
You may check with your courier company if such an option is available.
Does In Transit Mean The Package Will Be Delivered Today?
In most cases, no. The ‘In Transit’ status usually only indicates that the package has been picked up from the sender and is traveling to you. It does not mean you will receive it on the same day. You may often receive a notification on the day your package will be delivered.
Many people sometimes confuse ‘in transit’ with ‘delivering.’ The final delivery process (from the local courier office to you) is part of the ‘in transit’ process with many courier companies.
In fact, ‘In Transit’ may mean the package has been picked up from the sender and is in the process of reaching you. It could be days away and still be ‘In Transit.’
However, many courier companies, such as the United States Postal Service (USPS), have started giving more detailed updates on their packages’ journey. This means you may see more detailed updates. This could range from statuses such as ‘custom processing,’ ‘arrived at hub,’ or ‘out for delivery.’
When you see a status similar to ‘out for delivery,’ you know you should be receiving your package on that same day.
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How To Reduce Packages’ Transit Time?
You may reduce packages transit time by opting for air delivery over sea or land or expediting processing such as same-day delivery. You may also ensure the delivery details are correct and arrange for the sender to send your package before the afternoon.
This option may help shorten the in-transit time, particularly if you are waiting for a package from an international destination. This is because plans may travel so much faster, allowing the main journey to be dramatically shortened. For example, in-transit time for packages from China to the USA may take around 10 days with air delivery, and up to a month for sea delivery.
You may also opt for expedited processing and delivery services to reduce in-transit time. Some companies, such as Amazon, offer a same-day delivery service, where you can bet your purchase on the same day. Such options usually come at a high price but may be worth it.
Correct Delivery Details
By ensuring correct delivery details, you reduce the potential delays from the delivery man unable to deliver the package to you. This may not necessarily reduce the in-transit time, but it will help to avoid increasing it.
Send Before Afternoon
Another day to reduce in-transit time is to have the package sent or picked up by the courier company before the afternoon. The reason is that many courier companies usually start the process and move the packages in the afternoon.
Suppose we say they start processing packages at 3PM. That means if the package is picked up by the courier at 11AM, it only sits in the office for four hours before it is processed. The package then leaves the delivery office that evening itself. It travels to your location at midnight, arriving to you the next day.
Let’s say the package is picked up only at 4PM, which means it missed the cut-out time for that day. This means the package will sit in the office until 3PM the next day, which is a 23-hour wait. This will increase the package’s in-transit time.