cards & stationary

Card Etiquette: How to Address a Postcard Properly

Last Updated: Oct 26, 2016

Whether you’re traveling or looking for a wonderful note to express life’s joy, sending a postcard to a friend or loved one is a sweet gesture. Although social media has made it quite easy to share your adventures, you can still embrace the classic charm and warmth of sharing your whereabouts by postcard. You have two options when deciding on how to send your post card. You can buy a postcard from a local shop while on vacation or you can use your own photos from traveling to create and send out custom postcards when you return. If you’d like to share a photo of your loved ones during your travels, we suggest the second option so your postcard is unique and original.

postcard-template

Photo by Sawyoo

Step by Step: How to Address a Postcard

Sending a postcard offers your family and friends a one-of-a-kind glimpse into your trip or destination. In order to make your postcard special, you should ensure that your card is addressed properly so you can avoid any mishaps. Learn how to address a postcard with these easy steps below:

  1. Use the back of the postcard to address the recipient. Since the front of your postcard will have a photo, always refer to the back side of a post card to address your post card. Flip your post card photo side down to get started.
  2. Write the recipient’s address on the right hand side of the postcard. The back of a postcard is split into two sections, the right side being the destination for addressing the card’s recipient. Most postcards will have three lines in place for you to write the address in.
  3. Address the person you’re sending your card to on the left hand side of the postcard. Since most postcards are usually sent to a close friend or family member, you can address the recipient with affection such as “Dear Uncle John” or “My dearest friend Lisa”. Post cards should be casual and fun. However, if your relationship with the recipient is formal, use standard titles to be safe such as “Dear Mr. John Doe” or “Dear Ms. Jane Doe”.
  4. Write the date. Always add the date that you’re sending the postcard in the top right hand corner of the left side of the card. If you’re sending the postcards as holiday cards, you can write in your message when the original photo was taken so recipients know that the photo is from a prior trip.
  5. Write your handwritten message. Use the blank space on the left hand side of the postcard to write your sentiments, learnings, and anything else you want to share about your travels. It is always ideal to share your favorite memory or discovery from your trip so your message feels exclusive. The recipient will want to hear about anything special you encountered or learned during your adventure. You can write about people you met, foods that you tasted for the first time, a new activity that you tried out, or attractions you visited.
  6. Sign your postcard. Use a closing to bid your friend or loved one farewell. You can use closings such as “See you soon!”, “Wish you were here,” or “Hugs from (destination)”.
  7. Don’t forget to add a stamp. Before sending off your postcard, don’t forget to add a stamp! Your stamp goes in the upper right corner of the postcard near the recipient’s mailing address. Be sure to add the right amount of postage so your card arrives, especially if you’re using international postage.
  8. Use First Class Mail if possible. If you’re only mailing off a few postcards, you should send your postcards off using First Class Mail, which will help ensure your card arrives even if the mailing address is incorrect. If your address book isn’t up to date, this is a good way to send your postcards since the post office will forward your card to the recipient’s most recent address listed in their system.

If you’re looking for more details on stationery etiquette, you can refer to our guide on how to address a letter to perfect your writing skills.

11 Things to Write About in Your Postcard

If you’re looking for inspiration for what to write in your post card, you can reflect on your trip to make your post card more interesting. Your post card recipient will want to read about something exciting or fun that you’ve experienced. You can also include travel tips that are specific to your adventure and give the recipient exclusive insights on your trip.

  • Share what you did that day.
  • Share a local idiom or saying with a translation.
  • Share a new tradition that you’ve learned.
  • Write down a recipe and share in your card.
  • Mention the weather.
  • Draw a doodle of your travel.
  • Write down something you’ve learned.
  • Write a fun fact about the city you’re visiting.
  • Explain the story behind your post card photo.
  • Share holiday sayings if you’re sending post cards during the holiday season.
  • If you’ve moved recently, share that you have a new address in your postcard.

Do You Have to Put a Return Address on a Postcard?

Answer: A return address is not required on your postcard but if the post office cannot deliver your postcard, they won’t be able to return it to you without a return address. If you do choose to write a return address on your postcard, you should write the return address in the upper left-hand corner of your post card.

merry christmas custom postage stamp

If you want to make your postcard even more unique, especially during the holiday season, use custom postage stamps to make your mail standout. This is a great way to incorporate another photo of your trip into your postcard format without taking up additional space. Whether you’re new to this side of stationery or have been sending postcards for a while now, knowing how to address a postcard properly will save you extra time and patience.