How do we get our mail while traveling full-time? To many’s surprise, getting mail on the road is not as difficult as it may seem, and depending on how fast or slow you travel there are multiple options of how you can go about receiving your mail.
We’ll be discussing the many ways of receiving mail while constantly on the move, and even how you can shop online and ship packages to yourself without using a permanent address. Just because you downsized to an RV doesn’t mean you have to give up the luxuries of online shopping!
Corporate shipping companies
Let’s start with the big shipping chains and corporate shipping companies—UPS, USPS, FedEx. We tend to use these services the most because we rarely stay in one location for longer than two to three weeks at a time, so we can easily track our packages and we can find these big stores just about everywhere.
Each UPS store will have slightly varying pick-up fees and different ways they would like you to address your mail to them for pick-up, so a good rule of thumb when shipping to a UPS is to call ahead and inquire about pickup fees and rules each store may have. Fees for pickup are generally around $5 to $10 depending on the size and weight of the package. UPS is one of our favorite companies to ship our mail to because most stores will hold your packages for up to 30 days, which takes a lot of the pressure off of needing to meet the package close to its shipping date.
UPS will accept packages from other shipping carriers like USPS, FedEx, and Amazon.
Example of how to address your mail when shipping to UPS:
The UPS Store
ATTN: [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, one being to serve transients (people who travel extensively) and those without a permanent address. You do not need to put in an application to use the General Delivery Service but you will need to speak with the postmaster at the post office you would like to send your mail to.
They can answer any questions or concerns you may have about shipping mail to a post office. General Delivery will not hold mail for longer than 30 days. You can visit this website to find out more info and restrictions about using General Delivery.
USPS will accept mail from other shipping carriers like UPS, FedEx, and Amazon.
Example of how to address your mail when shipping to General Delivery:
CITY, STATE, ZIP
*Speak to the postmaster at the USPS location you would like to ship your mail to prior to mailing.
Shipping to a FedEx store is very similar to shipping to a UPS Store. You’ll want to find a local FedEx in the area you would like to ship to and call ahead to confirm how to address your package, and if there will be any pick-up fees (we have not had to pay picking up packages at FedEx, but it’s still a good idea to call and ask). FedEx has a much shorter time frame of when the package needs to be picked up. FedEx will only hold a package for 5 days.
FedEx typically only accepts packages originally shipped by FedEx.
Example of how to address your mail when shipping to a FedEx:
Attn: [Your Name]
Address of FedEx Store
City, State, Zip Code
*Call each FedEx store you want to ship to and confirm how they would like you to address for pick-up.
Shipping lockers are relatively new, and they have become more and more prevalent all over the U.S. (mostly in big cities or heavily populated areas). The most common shipping lockers we have seen while traveling are Amazon Lockers.
Amazon Lockers are secure, self-service kiosks you can pick up Amazon packages at. You’ll select the Amazon Locker option when completing your order online, and you’ll be prompted to insert the zip code you would like to pick up in. If there are no Amazon Lockers in your desired location it will let you know. If there is a locker in the location you want to ship to, you’ll add that locker to your Amazon address book.
You will then be able to select that locker address as your new shipping address. After you have completed your purchase you will receive an email with a locker number and a unique 6-digit Amazon Locker code. Once your package is delivered, you’ll head to the locker and enter the locker code to access your package.
Most items can be shipped to Amazon Lockers. There is however a size and weight limit of packages that can be delivered to these lockers.
There is no fee to use an Amazon Locker–just the normal shipping cost if you are not an Amazon Prime member. You will, however, only have 3 days to pickup your package before it is sent back to the sender.
Find more information on Amazon Lockers, visit this website.
Alternative shipping options
Now that we’ve gone over the ways you can pick up mail and packages while traveling at a faster pace, let’s go over some other more traditional ways to get your mail as a full-time RVer.
This option of receiving mail is often overlooked, but if you plan on being in one area for a month or longer this is a great option for you! You can choose the smallest P.O. box size your closest USPS offers (smaller means cheaper), and start sending your mail to your P.O. box. Although you may have selected the smallest size box, the post office will hold your larger packages behind the counter free of charge!
RV parks and campgrounds
RV parks and campgrounds are a great option for receiving mail on the road. If you travel a bit slower and plan on staying in one place for an extended period of time, it may be easiest for you to book a site at a campground. You can then talk to your camp host or the office at your campground about how to have your mail shipped to the park and how they handle incoming mail. There shouldn’t be an additional fee to get your mail, and it will feel the most similar to shipping mail to a brick-and-mortar home.
Mail forwarding subscriptions
If you’re looking for a way to receive all of your paper mail while on the road without any form of permanent address, then the answer may be monthly or annual mail forwarding subscriptions. These mailing services work by giving you a domicile address to have all your mail sent to, and then you have the option of having these companies sort and forward your mail to you.
Xscapers mail service
This annual membership provides a lot of benefits for full-time RVers. Their mail forwarding service seems to be one of their biggest perks of being a part of the community. You’ll pay a low annual membership fee of $39.95, and an additional annual fee for their mailing service. There are four tiers of mail service options to choose from on their website. This is a community service created by RVer’s so they truly understand the need for a service like this!
You can learn more about the Exscapee Mail Forwarding Service and pricing here.
So whether you’re living full-time in your RV or maybe just taking a trip, we hope these helpful tips on how to get your mail will be helpful! And as always, be sure to keep your RV protected with Progressive.