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Deciphering Zip Codes As An Eco-Tourist From Abroad

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Eco-tourism is a booming industry these days. Of course, it has dropped a bit due to the COVID-19pandemic, but it is posed to make a huge rebound in the future. According to recent studies, eco-tourists spend between $93 and $233 billion each year in developing countries alone.

The number of eco-tourists coming to the United States is also on the upswing – or at least it was before the pandemic. It is expected to make a huge rebound after the crisis comes to an end. Many eco-tourists from abroad are already making plans to travel to the U.S. again after the pandemic is over.

However, there are a lot of things that foreign eco-tourists don’t understand about traveling to the U.S. One of the biggest sources of confusion that they face is over zip codes. They need to decipher this confusing concept while visiting the U.S.

What Do Eco-Tourists Need to Know About Zip Codes?

As an eco-tourist, you are probably going to need to know how to find cities that you plan on traveling to during your stay in the United States. You may also need to mail letters or packages before or during your trip. This means that every eco-tourist needs to understand the concept of zip codes.

So, what is a US ZIP code? This is a kind of postal code that USPS (the Postal Service of the US) uses for the purpose of a more efficient mail delivery. The abbreviation ZIP means Zone Improvement Plan. Most people know their postal codes by heart. If you want to double-check your ZIP code, feel free to use this USA zip code lookup service. 

This system was developed in 1963 to make the mail delivery more organized. Over time, it was improved multiple times. For example, they decided to add 4 more digits. They come after a dash. They make it possible for USPS to have more effective and precise mail delivery and eliminate unnecessary fuss.  

Historically, these codes were introduced to help USPS. However, now they are widely used by other delivery services and companies like FedEx, UPS, DHL, TNT, etc. These codes are very convenient when it comes to sorting various packages and identifying the cost and time of a package delivery that sometimes is called a shipping rate or delivery rate.

There are 4 main types of US postal codes:

  • Military
  • PO Box
  • Standard
  • Unique address of high volume

Eco-tourists in the United States need to understand all of them.

The Meaning Behind Digits in ZIP Code

Each code consists of 5 digits. Each digit has its own meaning. Let us explain it to you in brief here. The first digit in a code identifies a national area (a set of states). Each state has its own number or a set of numbers.

The next 2 digits represent a sectional center that is called sec center. It is a central center that is responsible for sorting and processing mail. Mail is delivered to a corresponding sec center that matches these digits for further processing. The digits are assigned starting from Eastern states and then they gradually increase in the course of progress to the Western states.

The last 2 digits stand for a Delivery Area or an Associate Post Office. This is the area of your city or town.

Additional 4 digits were introduced in 1983. Usually, you don’t need to provide your +4 code as in most cases, a 5-digit postal code is enough for successful processing of your mail. However, it facilitates a sec center sort mail. ZIP+4 code may stand for apartments, a block, or a high volume address. Usually, each PO Box has a unique 4-digit code and you can use a lookup tool if you don’t know it. It’s always better to look it up to make sure you are about to use the correct digits.

You should take into account that not all mail post addresses have these 4-digit codes. 

Places and Areas in the USA Without ZIP

It’s interesting to know that not all areas and places in the USA have postal codes. The areas without codes are rural and rather remote. They have no addresses for mail delivery. That’s why creating a mail route and sending mail there is impossible.

Zip Codes Are Important for Eco-Tourists to Understand

There are a lot of things that eco-tourists need to know about visiting the United States. You need to understand the role of zip codes, since you may need them for navigation purposes. You will definitely need to understand them if you are mailing any documents.

Freelance journalist - owner of


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