I ship a lot within USA and to Canada.
No matter what, it's expensive to ship more than a couple states away, but it doesn't have to kill you.
1. UPS Store (and other shipping stores) are very expensive compared to do it yourself. You can drop your PREPAID UPS shipment off there tho.
2. Best thing is to set up Online shipping thru Ebay
, thru Paypal. Establish a UPS account and then integrate it with Paypal. Automatic 25% off retail. Also establish a USPS account both thru Paypal and a separate account Online for the non-Paypal shipments - 5% off and carrier pickup. Need a credit card for these options. FedX is also a very good way to ship Saddles, but I haven't used them in a few years since the drop off is too far away for me.
3. Become familiar with USPS's box size up charges and the same for UPS. There is a certain point where the dimensions get really expensive. But basically DON'T use SQUARE boxes. Like coincidently the UPS store sells.
Rectangular is better.
My favorite box for shipping western saddles is the U-Haul DishPak - about $6 to purchase and because it's not square it ships cheap (comparatively speaking
) plus it's very sturdy and even 18" full skirt saddles fit in there.
If in doubt tho, can bring saddle into U-Haul and test er out.
4. NEVER, and I mean NEVER use UPS or FedX or any other shipper than USPS to ship to Canada. Unless you hate the recipient. Yes, USPS is expensive but except for customs duty, there are no other brokerage fees.
5. Like many of the other posters said - the smaller the box the better - you can cut down boxes. Just be sure the structural integrity is still there.
Think of the old Samsonite commercial when you pack (the one with the gorillas at the airport tossing around luggage). Imagine if that were to happen - your box falling off something or people tossing the box. Will your packing job hold up to that? Sure you can buy insurance, but insurance doesn't cover inadequate packing jobs or lack of tape or bad box.
ADDED - Check the online calculator again - sometimes the other options don't drop down (like Parcel Post) which is a very good way to ship saddles that aren't going very far (couple states over).