Postcard writing can be a fun way to keep up with loved ones. Here, we’ll look at everything you need to know about how to write a postcard.
Many have forgotten about the simple art of sending postcards while on vacation in today’s world, full of technology and social media. Sending simple messages such as “wish you were here!” or another handwritten message lets your loved ones and friends know that you’re thinking of them while you’re on the go, whether you love living in New York City or you’re taking a trip out to sunny California.
When selecting a postcard, it can be fun to look at all the different image options to help the person you’re sending the card to picture all the fun you’re having on your travels. If you’ve never sent a postcard before, it’s normal to have some questions about exactly how a postcard works. For example, postcard beginners may wonder where they’re supposed to place their postcard stamp, whether there’s enough space to write a lengthy message on a postcard, how to choose the right postcard design, and whether they need to sign the postcard with their full name, and more.
Here, explore what goes on the left side of the postcard, on their right-hand side, where to put your postage stamp, and more.
Before you send a postcard to a friend or family member, you’ll need to gather a few materials.
To send a postcard in the mail, you’ll need:
- Postcard stamp (a regular stamp can work too, but a postcard stamp is a little bit cheaper than a standard stamp)
- Stickers or stamps (if you’re feeling fancy)
Once you have all your materials gathered, find a quiet place to sit for a few moments while you jot down a simple and heartfelt method to a friend or family member. You might also be interested in our round-up of the best card writing apps.
Step 1: Addressing a Postcard
First, you’ll need to write the address of the person you’re sending the postcard to. If you have an address book, keep it handy–once you realize how easy it is to write a postcard, you’ll likely want to send more to friends and family to let them know that you’re thinking about them while you’re traveling.
The address of the person you’re sending the postcard to should be formatted as follows:
- John Smith
- 123 Anywhere Lane
- Anytown, PA 16102
If the person lives in an apartment or condo complex and has a suite, apartment, or condo number in addition to their street address, you’ll need to include that as well. To do this, you’ll write four address lines as follows:
- John Smith
- Apartment #1
- 123 Anywhere Lane
- Anytown, PA 16102
If you’re writing to a family instead of an individual, you can write “The Smith Family” or “John Smith and Family” instead of addressing the postcard to an individual. You can include a return address on your postcard if you’d like. This would go on the left-hand side of the postcard, above the recipient’s address. You’ll write your return address so that the left margin is near the center of the postcard.
The United States Postal Service does not require postcard senders to include a return address, so it’s up to you whether you want to include this step. For example, if you’re travelling and not spending a lot of time in one place, you may want to make your home address the return address instead of the address of your hotel. You might also be interested in our guide on how to write about yourself.
Step 2: Postcard Writing
A postcard doesn’t allow you a ton of space to get your message across, so you’ll need to keep it short and sweet to let your friends and family know that you’re thinking about them with just a few lines. Be sure to include a greeting before you begin your postcard’s message. There’s no need for this to be anything formal. A simple “Hey there!” or “Hi John!” is sufficient to greet the person receiving your postcard.
If you’re saying hello from afar, just a quick message that says something along the lines of the following may be a good fit for your written text:
- “Miss you! See you next week.”
- “Having a great time–Wish you were here!”
- “Food is delicious, the scenery is great. See you soon!”
If you want to tell them about a specific area that you’ve gotten to explore on your trip, choose a postcard that depicts that area on the front of the card. Then, in your text, explain what you loved about the area. Don’t forget to close the text of your postcard by including your name. If you want to give your postcard a little bit of extra pizzazz, spice it up by adding stickers or stamps to make your loved one smile. If you add stickers, be sure that they lay flat on your postcard so that your postcard does not get stuck in the processing machines used by the post office.
- Remember, short and sweet isn’t just ok when you’re writing a postcard–it’s expected. There’s no reason to write a novel or try to downsize your handwriting to fit your trip’s details into your message. A postcard is meant to be a short, sweet way of reaching out to someone you care about.
- Find a postcard that you love. Send it to your home address! You’ll have an easy souvenir when you get home from your trip.
- If you’re travelling without your immediate family, sending them multiple postcards while on your trip can be fun to let them know that you’re thinking about them.
- If you have kids at home, sending them individual postcards can be fun to make them feel special while you’re away.
- If you’re planning to send postcards while on vacation, be sure to bring your address book, especially if you’re in an area with poor cell phone reception where you can’t easily reach out to the people you care about getting their address.
Step 3: Sending Your Postcard
If you’ve planned and brought postcard stamps with you, there’s no need to go to the post office to send your postcard. You’ll be able to drop it in any mailbox. If you’re not near a mailbox or would prefer to keep it simple, ask the front desk at your hotel if they can slip your postcard into the mail for you. If you don’t have postcard stamps, you can buy them at a local post office.
Many grocery stores also carry stamps, so if you’re not sure where the post office is in your vacation town, heading to the local grocer can be convenient. Before you send your postcard, double-check that the address is correct. Suppose you’ve included a return address, double check that that’s correct too. Next, make sure you’ve signed your name and put the stamp on the card. Then, slip it into the mail, and you’re good to go.
FAQs About How To Write A Postcard
Where does the address go on a postcard?
The recipient’s address (the person receiving the postcard) goes on the right-hand side of the card toward the center. If you include a return address (recommended but not required), you’ll put that above the recipient’s address, aligned with the center of the postcard but still on the right-hand side. The more detail (apartment number, nine-digit zip code) you can include on the address of your postcard, the faster it will get to the recipient.
What’s The Difference Between A Postcard And A Letter?
A postcard is a quick way to let someone know you’re thinking about them. Some people send postcards as a simple way to drop a note to someone they love, while others only send postcards on vacation. Typically, the non-writing side of a postcard has an image of a place, helping the person receiving the postcard to picture the area the card is coming from.
On the other hand, a letter is longer, more formal, and sent in an envelope. Letters can take many forms, including friendly letters, business letters, and more. LIn addition, letters are often typed, while postcards are almost always handwritten.
If you still need help, our guide to grammar and syntax explains more.