Seems that regional boxes are an option again! Following the steps below for the calculator should give you the cost of regional boxes again. Thanks to all who read and commented on this post!
UPDATE: 3/30/2016 - I've added a (silent) video below! :)
I'm creating this post in hopes that it might help someone else. I've discovered that sometimes it's less expensive to use USPS' relatively new Priority Mail Regional boxes. They offer the same 2-day service of Priority Mail, but sometimes for less. Here's how they work.
- Regular flat rate Priority boxes cost a flat fee no matter how much something weighs- USPS' "if it fits, it ships" slogan.
- Priority Mail Regional boxes work slightly differently; they're based on weight and how far something goes. Here's a great description. A package weighing 2 lbs going from NYC to California using the regular Priority Mail Medium flat-rate box will cost $12.35 or $11.30 (if prepared online). The same package using Regional A box will cost $9.75 or so- just a few dollars savings, but it starts to add up.
Before we go any further, let me describe what kinds of regional boxes are available. You'll probably be choosing your box based on how much your package weighs and the size of the box you need.
- USPS Regional Rate Box A: Shipments of up to 15 lbs
- USPS Regional Rate Box B: Shipments of up to 20 lbs
Regional Rate Box A2: 10-15/16" x 2-3/8" x 12-13/16" (for shipments up to 15lbs)
Regional Rate Box B1: 12" x 10-1/4" x 5" (for shipments up to 20lbs)
Regional Rate Box B2: 14-3/8" x 2-7/8" x 15-7/8" (for shipments up to 20lbs)
The second requirement to print the label online is what originally led lead me to make this post. I almost went nuts trying to figure out how to print a shipping label with regional rates. The quick and short answer is that when you get to the part when the USPS website asks whether you are using a flat-rate box, CHOOSE NO! You see, Regional boxes are kinda flat-rate boxes, but not really, so if you choose flat-rate (like I kept doing), the Regional rate will never come up as an option. But if you choose "not a flat-rate box," then the regional rate will come up.
*** Please note that I've found that the site works best if I use the full website. In other words, if you try to do this using a tablet or phone, your device might automatically pull up USPS's mobile webpage. I've always had problems with the mobile site so if you run into problems with these directions, you might want to try doing this on a desktop computer.
A video (albeit a silent one...):
Here are some enlarged images:
Step 2: Choosing packing type
Choose Package as the shipping option; do NOT choose Large Package (regional rates it will not come up if you choose Large Package).
Step 4: You'll see the rates under "Priority Mail Options"