From 2008-2015 while full-time traveling around the United States in our Airstream, we use to think that getting mail was a pain. Our options were getting mail delivered general delivery to a post office or to a friend’s house. Both of those involved waiting around for a package and crossing our fingers that it would get delivered on time. Amazon lockers began around 2011 but back then they were really only available in larger cities which aren’t usually ideal for those dragging large trailers around the country.
So at the beginning of each school year, it was a little bit of a pain to get new books and supplies delivered but it always ended working out just fine. That was our experience while traveling in our own country, ordering books in our own language with our own national school standards and curriculum.
But in 2016, we began traveling internationally and things got a little trickier. Luckily for us, the countries we traveled to internationally (Canada, Mexico and multiple countries in Europe) all had Amazon fulfillment centers. So ordering new school supplies was possible but how do we order US-based workbooks, textbooks and other curriculum from a country that doesn’t have English as their primary language?
Well surprisingly, some of the US workbooks that we depend on for schooling are available internationally and many countries carry small quantities in stock. But what about the books we needed that did not pop up during our searches? Well, we found a workaround that would give additional search results on the international Amazon sites. The secret was International Standard Book Numbers or ISBNs. So if you look on the back cover of any book, you should see a bar code. Included in the bar code are a few different numbers, one of which is the ISBN.
To start sourcing our supplies, we start off on the US Amazon site. Once we find something we want to buy, we copy the ISBN (located in the product info area) and paste it in local country Amazon site’s search bar. And viola! Most of the time the book you are hoping to buy is available.
We have used this method for the past couple years from Amazon Germany with no issues. Last year we had our supplies delivered to Amazon Lockers in Dusseldorf, Germany within days and this year we had supplies shipped from Amazon Germany to Split, Croatia.
We prefer to buy our supplies from local shops but that is not an option while traveling the way we do.
Hope this helps some of you traveling with children overseas or internationally.