What is the proper way to address a postcard?

Updated November 21, 2016

First used in the United States in 1893, the postcard is a standardised rectangle of thin cardboard or thin cardstock that was created to be mailed without an envelope, for a reduced postage rate. Since their introduction, they have undergone many changes, including the now common picture on the front and the placing of a line down the centre, creating the "divided back." They are one of the most common gifts to send to friends when on vacation and are popular souvenirs and collectibles. Next time you're travelling and you see a colourful rack of postcards, grab a handful, take a seat and start writing.

Choose a postcard. Try to find one that has a photo that is a reflection of the local culture or that somehow symbolises the nature of your relationship with the recipient.

Turn it over. You should see a line drawn vertically down the centre of the postcard.

On the right-hand side, write the recipient's address as follows:

Name Street Address Town County Country Postcode

On the left-hand side, write your message. Begin with a local greeting followed by the recipient's name (for example: Aloha Mum!).

Take your completed postcard to the local post office. They will sell you the correct postage to attach. Affix the stamp in the upper right-hand corner, above the recipient's address.


Make sure you fill in the address first. Getting the message written and then discovering you can't remember the street name can be frustrating.


Remember these are sent without envelopes, so don't say anything you don't want to share with the whole world.

Things You'll Need

  • Address book
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About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.