Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Funny You Should Ask 2: Questions Asked in Search Terms on Getting Mail in Germany & Cake in a Jar

funnyyoushouldaskToday is the 300th post on Embracing Adventure! For post 100 and post 200, I shared some of the interesting search terms that have brought people to this blog. This time, I thought I’d mark the occasion by sharing answers to some of the questions I’ve gotten (often multiple times) in the search terms. Today the Q&A focuses on getting mail in Germany, particularly with an APO box, and on making and sending Cake in a Jar. If you’re interested in those topics, read on.

In the past, I have also done a post answering questions about unaccompanied baggage, household goods, and luggage; driving, auto insurance, and car shipment; and no-fee and tourist passports. Want to know about something not covered here? Be sure to let me know in the comments. Keep in mind, all answers are based on my own research, opinion, and/or experience and are not official answers from an official source. Others experiences may differ. 

Getting Mail in Germany

What is an APO box?

APO stands for Army Post Office box and is a box that military members and, if applicable to the area, their dependents, can use to receive mail through the USPS rather than international mail. Similarly, the Navy has Fleet Post Office (FPO) boxes.

Can military [members] obtain an APO [address] in Germany?

Yes. You can read more about receiving mail in Germany with an APO box here.

USPS APO/FPO flat rate box via USPSHow much to send big box to APO in Germany?

It depends on where you’re sending it from and how much it weighs. If you’re going to send something heavy but less than 70lbs you may want to use a flat rate box. The USPS has a special APO/FPO flat rate box which is free to order and ships for $15.90, which is $2 less than the regular flat rate box.

How long does it take for a box or letter to go to Germany?/How long does it take USPS to deliver mail to an APO [address] in Germany?

How long it takes for a letter or package to get to Germany really depends on where it’s being sent from, if it’s sent to a home address or APO box, and what service it’s sent with. With the exception of proof of insurance being sent from USAA’s UK office to my home address (which was mailed express and took about a week), I haven’t had things mailed to my home address, so I can only speak for sending mail to an APO address. Usually people send things to me with the USPS’s priority mail. Mail from individuals tends to take a month, but it can sometimes take two or more. From Amazon, things usually take a few days to a week but have taken as much as a month at times.

Can I ship a Kindle to an APO?

If you’d asked this several months ago, the answer would have been that you can have it shipped to someone else and have them ship it to your APO but Amazon wouldn’t ship it directly. They have since updated their practices, and now you can have a Kindle shipped to your APO address since the lithium battery is installed inside the device.

Will Beachbody mail to an APO address?

Yes they will. I have ordered from Beachbody several times and it was no problem to get things mailed to an APO address.

Does Etsy send to APO addresses?

I believe that individual sellers can decide whether to ship to APO, but I have bought things from Etsy sellers and had them shipped to my APO address before.

Which online shopping site ships to APO?

There are several sites that ship to APO or that have individual sellers, some of whom may ship to APO. You can find a list of the ones I’ve used here.

Can boxes be shipped to a PO box then forwarded overseas?/How can I forward mail to my APO box?

If you want to get something sent to your APO box but the seller won’t ship it to APO, assuming it’s not a restricted item that can’t be sent to APO, you can look into either having the mail sent to someone else and having them send it to you or using a mail forwarding service. I’ve had a few things sent to my parents’ house and had them send them to me. Although I haven’t used one myself, I have heard that some people use services like ShipitAPO which gives you a street address that you can put in and then they send your package on to you. Such services may cost you per package or per year.

What is the APO address for Germany?

There isn’t one set APO address for Germany. The address starts with a set of letters, dependent on where the box is. We used to have a CMR (Community Mail Room) address and now have a PSC (Postal Service Center) one. Other options are UMR (Unit Mail Room), RPO (Regional Post Office), APO (Army Post Office) and OMDC (Official Mail Distribution Center). Then there is a box number. On the next line, APO, which stands for Army Post Office, is listed in the place of the city for Army and Air Force. The Navy uses FPO (Fleet Post Office). In Germany, the state will be AE, which stands for Armed Forces Europe, and there are several different zip codes depending on where the actual box is located. When sending mail, the full address will look like this. If you’re using an online shopping site, sometimes AE isn’t an option. AE mail gets routed to NY, so you can also use that if you need to.

[Recipient Name]
APO, AE [Zip code]

Cake in a Jar

FAQ about making and sending cake in a jar for care packages [Image by Susy Morris chiotsrun via Flickr creative commons; text added by Amanda Papenfus]Can you mail cake in a jar?

Yes you can. If you want to learn how to make it and how I mailed it, check this post.

What are the best shipping boxes to use for cake jars?

I don’t know what the best shipping box is for cake in a jar, but I used a flat rate box and wrapped each jar in bubble wrap.

How long does cake in a jar stay fresh?

I think this is the most-asked question I’ve gotten about cake in a jar in several variations. I don’t have an exact answer, but I do know mine stayed fresh long enough to get from Ohio to Iraq and were still good when they arrived. According to the person who posted the original recipe, if you don’t use the sealing process on the jars and are just keeping them for home, they should last in the fridge up to two weeks. If you want them to last for awhile un-refridgerated, you need to do the sealing process.

Can you put frosting (or icing) on a cake in a jar?/Can I frost a cake and seal it in the jar?

No, I would not recommend putting frosting or icing on the actual cake because frosting generally has to be refrigerated once it has been opened. However what you can do would be to include a sealed jar or packet of frosting in your package so the recipient can frost the cake when he or she is ready. You may also want to put the jar inside a Ziplock bag in case it should end up opening somehow in transit. Don’t forget to include a plastic knife or spoon to spread it and forks to eat the cake with.

Should I let cake cool before placing [the] lid on [the] mason jar?

No. You can put the lid on right after you take them out of the oven, which is what I did. I imagine you could also let them cool and it would still work as long as your lids and rings were still hot when you did it.

Do you need to sterilize cake in a mason jar?

I think the intended question may have been “Do you need to sterilize the jars for cake in a mason jar?” In that case, the answer is: yes. You must boil the jars to sterilize them. You may also want to sterilize the lids and rings the same way.


Find an answer you were looking for? Looking for an answer you didn’t find? Let me know in the comments.

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2 Thoughts on “Funny You Should Ask 2: Questions Asked in Search Terms on Getting Mail in Germany & Cake in a Jar

  1. I’ve never heard of cake in a jar, but what a wonderful idea! I think care packages are all the better if you can include little personal/homemade things like that…obviously ANY care package would be awesome, but one with homemade cake would be super-awesome. 🙂
    Martha recently posted…Company to check out: the Healthy Home CompanyMy Profile

    • They are pretty good. Even if you don’t have a care package to send, if you like cake but aren’t going to eat a whole one within a few days, it can be a good way to make it last longer.

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