Major shipping companies offer tools for your PDA or smartphone that can help you keep track of packages, find a drop off location or calculate shipping rates.
When you're expecting a package from DHL, for example, you can ask the company to send you a text message every step of the way, or only at a certain milestone, such as when it's on the truck for delivery to your door.
Simply enter the DHL We site at www.dhl.com and enter your package's tracking number in the Track It box. Click Track and then on the next screen, click "Get Notified." You'll be prompted to enter your mobile number (or email address) and when you want to be notified.
UPS has a specific service for wireless device users. It requires registering with My UPS, but then allows you to track packages, calculate shipping rates, estimate arrival dates, and find a drop-off location by entering a zip code.
FedEx also has a wireless-tracking capability: If you set yourself up with a login at www.fedex.com, you can receive notification if there are delays or unsuccessful delivery attempts, for example.
Not only that, FedEx allows you to create shipping label, check rates, and find the nearest FedEx Kinko's from your mobile device as well.
Tracking on the Web is a great tool for watching delivery, but taking that ability onto the handheld means you're no longer stuck at your desk on the day you're expecting a package. A text message or a quick refresh will let you know when the truck is approaching so you can scoot back if you've ducked out for a mid-day pick-me-up.
This article was first published on PDAStreet.com.