These days, thanks to modern technology, most correspondence can be done with our mobile devices. We can pay our bills online, renew our driver's license online, talk with family and friends on our cell phones, and so much more. For the most part, the US mail service has almost become obsolete, except for those few occasions when we get letters from friends or if someone simply doesn't use the Internet. So how do full-time RVers who want and need to receive mail go about doing so while on the road? Here are some options on how to get mail while being a full-timer.
The cheapest way to go about getting mail is to have it all sent to a friend or family member who can then forward it to wherever you happen to be at the moment. This way you can forgo the expense of a postal box or service and only pay for the postage for the forwarded mail. Have them place it all in the smallest flat-rate envelope they can find so the price of mailing it isn't determined by its weight. A downfall to this method is that it may be inconvenient for whomever has agreed to collect your mail. And if this person ends up being unreliable or is just tired of running to the post office for you, you may not get things in a timely manner.
Renting a PO Box is a great option if you don't want to rely on someone to pick up your mail and deliver it to you. PO Boxes can come in different sizes, so if you plan on waiting for a while before collecting your mail, you can rent a pretty big one. There are a few downsides to relying on a PO Box as a full-time RVer. One downfall to using a PO Box is the expense of it, especially if you rent a larger one. Also, the postal workers won’t take your mail out and forward it to you, so you have to physically go get it. This will work well if you have an area you visit often, but if you’re constantly moving to new places, it might not be a great option. PO Boxes cannot be used as a physical address either, so if you need to prove your address for some reason, a PO Box won't count for it. And if someone sends you something via UPS or FedEx, it can’t be left in your PO Box. PO Boxes aren't for everyone, but if it's a great fit for you, then use it!
A UPS box works a lot like the way a PO Box works, but with added benefits. If you want your mail forwarded to you from your UPS box, they'll do that for you. The UPS Store will package up your mail and forward it to you at your campground. Any type of mail or package can be sent to a UPS box, unlike a PO Box that only accepts US mail. You’ll get a real street address with a UPS box, which allows you to have a physical address you can use for things like loan applications and other documents. And when you're ready to go and pick your mail up, you’ll have 24-hour access to your box instead of just during post office business hours. A UPS box is just like a PO Box, but without all the pesky restrictions.
Professional Mail Forwarding Service
There are services that work somewhat like a UPS box in that they hold your mail for you until you're ready for it. With one of these services though, you can't go pick it up; they mail it to you. Places that offer services like these include Escapees RV Club
and Good Sam
. You can set up a schedule to have your mail forwarded or just call or email them when you’re ready to have it sent. A membership is required for this service, however there are many benefits of that make being away from home easier and less stressful, such as mail sorting (keep what you want, throw out what you don't) and mail review (what's waiting in the mail for you?).
The last option we’ve found is a service that will actually collect your mail, open it, scan it, and email it to you! Earth Class Mail
offers services that will even deposit checks for you, shred unwanted mail, and forward or store any mail that you want to physically keep. They also offer a virtual address, which can be a street address or PO Box in 19 different cities across the US, live support in the event you have a problem, and the option of adding family members to your account so they can check your mail for you. Before they open your mail, they’ll scan the outside of it and send it to you. Then you will decide if you want it opened or shredded, and you only pay for mail that they open. One obvious downside to this type of service is a lack of privacy, especially with identity theft cases on the rise.
There are a lot of options when it comes to getting your mail while being a full-time RVer. Evaluate the costs, benefits, and disadvantages of each method and choose which is the best for you.