It takes about a week for letters and postcards to reach the United States. Remember to pay a little extra for airmail; otherwise your letters will be sent by ship. The opening hours of post offices vary—the smaller the place, the shorter the hours. Most large post offices are open weekdays 8–7. The main post office in Prague is open 22 hours, with a two-hour break after midnight. Orange post office boxes can be found around the city, usually attached to the side of a building.
At this writing, postcards and letters up to 50 grams in weight cost 27 Kč to send outside of Europe. You can buy stamps at post offices, hotels, newsstands, and shops that sell postcards.
If you don't know where you'll be staying, American Express mail service is a great convenience, available at no charge to anyone holding an American Express credit card or carrying American Express traveler's checks. There is an office in Prague. You can also have mail held poste restante (general delivery) at post offices in major towns, but the letters should be marked "Pošta 1," to designate the city's main post office; in Prague the poste restante window is at the main post office. You'll be asked for identification when you collect your mail.
American Express. Na Příkopě 19, Nové Mesto, Prague, Praha. 222–800–333; www.americanexpress.com.
Prague Main Post Office. Jindřišská ul. 14, Prague, Praha. www.ceskaposta.cz.
The Czech postal service, Česká pošta, runs an Express Mail Service (EMS). You can post your EMS parcel at any post office, and Česká pošta can supply forms for customs clearance. Delivery times vary between one and five days, though material is often delayed by American customs. You may not send currency, travel checks, precious metals, or stones through Express Mail. Not every post office offers a pickup service.
Many other private international express carriers also serve the Czech Republic.
Some major stores can make their own arrangements to ship purchases home on behalf of their customers. A number of freight and cargo services operate international delivery services, and these can generally be relied upon. An average shipping time to the United States is 21 days (four days for air cargo). There's no reason not to use the reliable Česká pošta, which delivers anything up to 30 kg.
DHL. 800–103–000; www.dhl.cz.
EMS. 800–104–410; www.ceskaposta.cz.
FedEx. 800–133–339; www.fedex.com/cz_english.
UPS. 800–181–111; www.ups.com.