Request to carry a parcel across international border

Hi Everyone, we have just had a kind of odd request from a HO to carry a parcel of documents to them from Singapore to Malaysia. We haven’t started the sit yet but have met the hosts and they seem like really nice people but we feel uneasy about the request. We initially said okay but now are thinking it might not be. Any thoughts?

All that matters is your comfort level for doing something like that. If you’ve had second thoughts, let them know ASAP.

In future, if you get unusual requests, it’s perfectly fine to say something like, I’d like some time to consider that. … Don’t let yourself be put on the spot.

Courier services is what DHL etc are for.

Thirty years ago it was a way to travel. I was located near JFK and could get free flights from New York when luggage was taken up by documents, replacement parts, etc, in bags that I never saw. So I could fly with only hand luggage to Venezuela for example (which was a nice country back then).

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As @MissChef observed in a different thread…


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Just say no, absolutely not.

@Dee if you don’t know what is in those documents and are stopped at the border and your luggage is searched or you are asked about the contents ; it will put you in a very tricky situation- possibly leading to further enquiries about the arrangement of your stay - which could also put your whole stay in jeopardy.

Hosts can ask , but sitters shouldn’t feel obligated to do anything other than the responsibilities included in the listing about pet care and care of the home .


I would 1000% not do this, especially in countries with such strict laws against trafficking, import of contraband, whatever. You could end up in a really horrible situation. Professional couriers exist for a reason!


But this is a very dubious request, a home owner should not ask this.

Even out of self-interest because they could risk that their sitter was not admitted at the border.

And how much money would they save compared to using DHL or the regular postal service?

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Never carry anything across borders for someone else. You really don’t know what you could be walking into by doing so.

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Well, in fact, I was asked to bring a package from Ireland, and did so, with no issues.

STORY TIME! I’m in a doctor’s office so I’m just waiting & killing time, skip this if you like. Also I’m using voice to text so I’m not punctuating properly. So forgiveness in advance please :pray:

My husband and I decided to stay in a Airbnb just outside of Dublin (Donnybrook! Yes, it’s where the original donnybrook happened.) In a casual conversation with the innkeeper, he asked where we were from. We said oh, about an hour south of Nashville.

He said, no kidding, my son is going to college in Tennessee! We said, oh wow, that’s wonderful. Is he going to UT?

He replied, Oh no, it’s a small college, he got a scholarship to play footy (soccer).

So we asked, do you know what city? And lo and behold, he said the name of our city.

After much back and forth of, “you must be kidding me” and “you’re pulling my leg” we finally showed him our IDs.

In the end, we discovered that the son of the innkeeper, to whom we had no connection and whose business we found just randomly on the internet, had just started attending a very small college, in our relatively small city.

We brought a little care package from his father and a new pair of cleats.

And - y’all, I just had another similar situation of someone with a connection to my little town through TH!! A story for another day…


No never carry anything when you don’t know what it is inside. Parcels are often tracked by customs from where they originate so something that looks quite innocent very often isn’t.


Do not do it!

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NO! Most definitely not


Malaysia has very strict laws against drugs. Death penalty although recently been changed to life.

@Dee I have personal experience of this as being on the other side- the one who needed documents brought over.
It worked out perfectly- here is the story…
I’d requested a name change on various documents & credit cards. They were all sent to my UK registered address (where I rarely am!) -& the banks would only send to my UK address & not abroad. So I wanted them couriered over to me in Germany where I was at the time. However every company I spoke to refused to send the bank & credit cards as they said the packages would be scanned at Heathrow and credit cards are always confiscated for security. This was during Covid when it was very tricky & costly to get in and out of UK & I needed the cards by a certain deadline. So I reached out to an FB group to connect with others heading to the same place- from UK- and asked very politely if anyone would be willing to help.
Most reacted like many commenters here- warning everyone against it, highly suspicious of my motives- was I a trafficker etc Some were even aggressive. I was pretty shocked as I knew my motives were absolutely ok but did not feel like explaining myself further on a public platform.
But one person did offer to bring them over for me. We spoke on the phone and I explained to her exactly what the documents were and why I couldn’t send them and I sent her proof of my ID and a signed cover letter. I was extremely careful to cover all bases so she could not get into trouble. She was happy with all that and I was so grateful for her trust. But I too trusted her- with all my important documents!
My UK friend sent her the docs, she took the package in her hand luggage, did not try to hide it, was not stopped or searched, nothing happened. I met her a week later to collect my things and gave her a little thank you present. It was a trusting exchange- just like here!
I do absolutely understand why many people are wary but just wanted to share my positive experience.

@Dee In your shoes I would ask exactly what the documents are and why they can’t just courier them over. Also are you bringing them TO the country of the sit? & could they meet you at the airport? If you decide it all feels OK do get them to prepare a cover letter and send you proof of ID to protect yourself.
Not everyone is a criminal! Go with your gut!


I know! When OP said Malaysia that was the first thing I thought of.

Hard pass for me…especially if you don’t know them like that. It’s one thing if they’re asking you to bring something for them from your country like candy they love or a book that can only be bought where you’re from and another to mule something that you are not allowed to thoroughly inspect or documentation for them.

But as @Maggie8K said, don’t do it if you’re not comfortable. I, personally, would probably say yes to some things but not to others and not if I were even partially unsure about it…Brokedown Palace taught us all a valuable lesson, I hope.

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Hi @Dee. Interesting to see the spectrum of responses here. I’d like to side on those who might need the docs for legitimate reasons. Maybe you can ask some questions to understand more, while also gauging the PPs reactions. Like:

  • “Just on principle, I’m worried about being stopped at the border for saying I’m carrying X (documents) and then it’s a package of more than X. How many documents are in this parcel? What else is in the parcel?”
  • “For my own piece of mind, may I open the parcel and re-seal it?”
  • “I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix films where crazy things happen while traveling with unknown packages. (cue: “The Transporter”) What can you do to put my mind at ease about carrying this parcel?”

I guess for me it’s about trying to find a win-win, but staying true to my boundaries.


Thank you everyone for your thoughts and advice. After further quizzing of the PP and seeing a photo of the documents we have decided to help them out on the proviso that we are only carrying the printed sheets of the document - no folders or packaging. The documents are in English so we can see it does not have any offensive content. We feel comfortable with this… and everyones advice really helped. Thanks again, Dee


@Dee, I see no problem at all. After all, you have accepted (entrusted) a seat hosted by a Trusted HS member, who in turn entrusted you with their pets. However, for everybody’s comfort, the parcel must not be sealed. You need to know what you’re carrying.