The best RVs for full-time living have most of the comforts of home except a permanent address. Before living in your RV full-time, your to-do list should include figuring out how to get your mail while traveling in your RV.
How to get mail if you live in an RV
Corporate shipping companies
Big shipping chains and corporate shipping companies — like UPS, USPS, and FedEx — are a good choice for RV mail. They let you track your packages and have convenient locations almost everywhere.
Each UPS store has slightly different pick-up fees and ways they would like you to address your mail. Before shipping to a UPS store, call ahead and inquire about any fees and rules the individual store may have. Fees for pickup are generally low but depend on the size and weight of the package. Many UPS stores will hold your packages for up to 30 days, which makes UPS a good choice if you’re boondocking in your RV and aren’t in town very often. UPS stores will accept packages from other shipping carriers like USPS, FedEx, and Amazon.
If you’re staying in one location for longer, UPS offers personal mailbox services that can give you a street address to use for RV mail and package delivery. Services like these can be a good option for people new to RV life and want a transitional period before hitting the road full-time. It can also be a good solution if you mostly stay in one area or plan to store your RV and don’t want to change your address while you take a break from travel.
Here’s an example of how to address your mail when shipping to UPS:
- The UPS Store
- Your Name
- Address of UPS Store
- City, State, ZIP code
USPS or general delivery
The United States Postal Service offers a service known as general delivery. General delivery is available for several reasons, including to serve transients and those without a permanent address. You don’t need to complete an application to use the general delivery service, but you will need to speak with the postmaster at the post office where you want to send your mail. The local postmaster will determine any restrictions on the use of the general delivery service — including time limits — so depending on your location, this may or may not be a convenient option for getting mail if you live in an RV.
In addition to issuing restrictions, the local postmaster can answer any questions or concerns you have about shipping mail to a post office. In all cases, general delivery will not hold mail for longer than 30 days. The USPS website has more info and restrictions about using general delivery. Speak to the postmaster at the USPS location to which you would like to ship your mail before mailing.
Here’s an example of how to address your mail when shipping to USPS using general delivery:
- Your Name
- General Delivery
- City, State, Zip Code
Shipping to a FedEx store is like using a UPS store. You’ll choose a local FedEx store in your area. Next, call ahead to confirm how to address your package and ask if there will be any pick-up fees. FedEx has a much shorter time frame for when the package needs to be picked up.
They’ll only hold a package for five days, so it’s best suited to situations where you’re parked in or near town and can pick up your RV mail easily. FedEx typically only accepts packages originally shipped by FedEx. Call each FedEx store you want to ship to and confirm how they would like you to address for pick-up.
Here’s an example of how to address your mail when shipping to FedEx:
- Your Name
- Address of FedEx store
- City, State, Zip Code
Shipping lockers are relatively new, but they’ve become more prevalent all over the U.S. (mostly in big cities or heavily populated areas). The most common shipping lockers you’ll see while traveling are Amazon Lockers. Other shipping companies — including UPS — are beginning to offer them too. Details will vary by company and location, so if you’re using something besides Amazon Lockers, call ahead to find out how to use the service.
Amazon Lockers are secure, self-service kiosks where you can pick up Amazon packages. Just select the Amazon Locker option when completing your order online. You’ll be prompted to insert the ZIP code for your delivery. If there are no Amazon Lockers in your desired location, it will let you know. If there is a locker in your location, add that locker to your Amazon address book and use it as your shipping address.
There is no fee to use an Amazon Locker. However, you’ll only have three days to pick up your package before it’s returned to the sender. Also, you can only send Amazon orders — not letters or other kinds of packages — to an Amazon locker.
Other options for getting mail while traveling in your RV
Post office box
This option for receiving RV mail is often overlooked, but a P.O. box is a great option if you’ll be in one area for a month or longer. You can choose the smallest P.O. box size your local USPS offers (smaller means cheaper) and start sending your mail there. Even if you choose the smallest size, the post office will hold your larger packages behind the counter free of charge.
RV parks and campgrounds
For those who move a bit more slowly, RV parks and campgrounds are a great option for getting your mail while traveling in your RV. If you plan on staying in one place for an extended period, it may be easiest to book a site at a campground. Your camp host can explain how they handle incoming mail. There usually isn’t any additional fee to get your mail this way.
Mail forwarding subscriptions
If you’re looking for a way to receive all your paper mail on the road without a permanent address, the answer may be monthly or annual mail forwarding subscriptions. These mailing services give you a mailing address and can sort and forward your mail to you.
You’ll still need to arrange a place to pick up the forwarded mail — such as a shipping company storefront or USPS office — but this option makes it easier for friends, family, and business contacts to send you mail without having to update your address constantly.
Escapees mail service
This annual membership provides many benefits for full-time RVers. One of the biggest perks of joining the Escapees community is their mail forwarding service. You’ll pay a low annual membership fee to be part of the RV club and an additional annual fee to have them handle your mail. There are several tiers of mail service to choose from. An RV mail scanning option lets you view your new mail online without having to wait for it to arrive physically.
Fortunately, getting mail on the road isn’t difficult, and you have plenty of options for receiving mail on the move. You can even shop online and ship packages to yourself without using a permanent address. Solutions for how to get mail if you live in an RV include familiar shipping companies as well as RV-specific options like forwarding mail to a campground. Learn more about living in your RV full-time and full-time RV insurance. If you are new to RVing, check out our RV tips for beginners.