How Long Does it Take to Mail a Letter to Another State?

Have you ever been wondering about how long does it take to mail a letter to another state?

I know we have. Often.

While much of today’s communications are done electronically, physical mail is essential for advertising, marketing, and growing your clientele. However, the mail is also essential for other stuff, like keeping in touch with your loved ones or sending reminder letters to your debtors.

So, whether you are mailing advertising materials for your business, holiday cards to family and friends, or a postcard from your latest travel destination — the mail will always be a valuable asset for maintaining that physical point of contact with your loved ones, prospects, leads, business partners, and everyone looking to receive something from you.

Keep reading to see the basics of mailing options so that you can pick the one that works best for you and your recipients.

Red mailbox with flying letters

How Long Does it Take to Deliver Mail?

Delivery times can vary depending on several factors, like the time of year. Unsurprisingly, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year for post offices. Fulfilling online orders, weather delays, and staff shortages all impact how long it takes for your mail to arrive in its intended mailbox.

While some shipping delays can’t be helped (like the ongoing pandemic, which has caused delays worldwide), the shipping option that you choose will be a significant factor in the delivery time of your mail. 

USPS Mail Service Options

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is arguably the most reliable option for sending your mail across state lines. They have a wide variety of options to suit practically everyone’s needs.

Standard Post

Standard Post stamps are the cheapest option and the most popular. Delivery depends on where you mail it from (or to) and the package size. For example, mailing a piece of furniture cross-country will take much longer than mailing a postcard. Standard Post delivery typically takes 1 to 5 days.

First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail is most commonly used for letters and even some lightweight packages. First-Class letters are estimated to arrive in 1 to 5 business days, while packages only take 1 to 3 business days. The First-Class service works best for those mailing small care packages or gifts. For packages weighing 13 ounces or less, prices begin at $4.50.

Priority Mail

Priority shipments arrive in 1 to 3 business days, and the fee includes a box or envelope, insurance, and tracking. If you need something delivered quickly, but not overnight, this is the best option. The Priority Mail service has a flat rate beginning at $8.70 for packages that weigh less than 70 pounds. 

Priority Mail Express

Priority Mail Express is the fastest option, perfect for those in a time crunch. This service guarantees next-day or 2-day delivery by 6 PM and operates seven days a week. Shipping for packages weighing less than 70 pounds has a flat rate starting at $26.95.

Media Mail

Media Mail is perfect for books, films, and other forms of media. While it can take anywhere from 2 to 8 business days to arrive, it is a cheaper option than Priority or First-Class. Prices for Media Mail begin at just $3.19, but packages must be under 70 pounds like the other services listed above. Media Mail is ideal for interlibrary loans at universities but not suited for quick deliveries. 

USPS Retail Ground

Retail Ground is not the fastest shipping option, as it takes 2 to 8 days for packages to arrive at their destination. USPS Retail Ground shipping also has a weight restriction of 70 pounds. It is ideal for packages that are too large and awkward for their other shipping services. Prices begin at $8.50 and include tracking information.

Red mailbox receives flying letters

FedEx Mail Service Options: How Long Does it Take to Mail a letter to Another State?

FedEx is another notable shipping service. They offer faster shipping times and even package pickup. An important thing to note is that their pricing scale is different from that of USPS; they charge according to weight and distance. Because of this, every package will be priced differently. 

However, they do have a pricing calculator so you can determine shipping prices before you even step foot in their building.

FedEx Ground

For anything that needs to be shipped to a business or above 70 pounds, FedEx Ground is a great choice – deliveries arrive within one day (or the same day). Mail weighing 1 pound or less starts at $9.36 within a 150-mile range. Their weight limit is 150 pounds, and those packages delivered within a 150-mile radius cost upwards of $100.

FedEx Home Delivery

FedEx Home Delivery is essentially the same as Ground, but for residences only. These packages get delivered between 9 AM and 8 PM on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Their rates are the same as Ground but with an additional residential surcharge of $4.75 per package.

FedEx First Overnight

FedEx First Overnight shipping arrives on the next business day following the shipping date. For example, if your package ships Friday, it will not reach its destination until Monday. Rates for the 150-mile radius with an 8-ounce envelope begins at $59.04. Packages under 1 pound start at $65.14, and the 150-pound maximum package rate starts at $427.50. 

FedEx Priority Overnight

FedEx Priority Overnight shipping arrives on the next business day following the shipping date. Priority Overnight has a two-hour difference from First Overnight but is considerably cheaper than some of the other options. If your package ventures outside the 150-mile range, your delivery time could potentially be later.

FedEx Standard Overnight

FedEx Standard Overnight shipping arrives on the next business day at 3 pm or earlier. That said, any packages delivered outside the 150-mile radius may experience shipping delays or later delivery times (i e., your package may arrive at 5 pm instead of 3 pm). The rates for this option are slightly less than Priority Overnight shipping. 

FedEx 2Day AM

FedEx 2Day AM shipping delivers in 2 business days by 10:30 AM. The 2Day rates are cheaper than any overnight options, but still considerably more than FedEx Ground or Home Delivery. Remember that if an item ships on a Friday, the package will not be delivered until Tuesday. Your best bet is to ship the package mid-week.

FedEx 2Day

FedEx 2Day shipping delivers in 2 business days by 4:30 PM or 8:00 PM at the latest. This delivery option differs from the AM service only because delivery times are in the afternoon or evening. This is a perfect choice for mailing non-urgent but timely packages.

Red mailbox on a green background

Regular Mail Delivery From State to State

While there can sometimes be unforeseen circumstances that lead to delays, the standard for First-Class Mail (as seen above) is 1 to 5 business days. Also, mailing from a large city to another will produce faster results than if one of the involved post offices is located in a rural area, where it takes longer to get the mail to a processing center.

Average Delivery Times Around the Country

While you can always pay extra for two-day or overnight shipping, standard, no-frills shipping may take anywhere from 1 to 8 business days (if you include options like USPS Media Mail). Getting to the bottom of how long does it take to mail a letter to another state will need to take all these into account.

Tips for Better Timing Your Mailings

While the only way to make sure that your mail gets where it needs to go on time is through paid expedited shipping, there are things you can do that may help avoid some extra processing time. 

First, drop your mail off at the post office itself. By ensuring that it’s already at a facility, you don’t have to wait for it to be picked up at a collection box. Doing so could potentially save you a day.

You can also drop off your mail in the morning on slower collection days. By catching them at a good time (say, 9 AM on a Tuesday), your mail has a better chance of being sent out later that same day instead of sitting there overnight.

These tips will significantly reduce how long does it take to mail a letter to another state.

Six red mailboxes

So, How Long Does it Take to Mail a Letter to Another State?

There are many ways to ship something across state lines – and many deliver within a week. Some options are affordable, while others may come at a higher price but are better for those with time restrictions. Unfortunately, the faster you need a delivery, the higher shipping costs climb. 

So, how long does it take to mail a letter to another state directly depends on the shipping costs.

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