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How full-time and extended-travel RVers get their mail

Getting mail on the road is always a concern of full-time RVers and those on extended travels. One of those people is reader Sue L., who is going on a long trip and sent us this question:

“Hello, I don’t know if this has been previously covered or not… If not, perhaps this would be a good topic for a future article. My husband and I have been RV recreational travelers since June 2020. When we leave town for a week, I simply put a hold on our mail delivery, which has proved to be an easy solution. However, this winter, we are planning an extended trip down south to escape the snow. Since we will be visiting numerous RV resorts along the way and not staying in any one place for long, what suggestions do you have for mail delivery? Please advise. Thanks.”

How do you get your mail?

“How do you get your mail?” is always the first question we get when we mention being full-time RVers. We are now half-time RVers and still need ways to get our mail when on the road.

Getting mail online

We moved everything possible to online. Banking, bills, health accounts, subscriptions, etc. A good place to start is by going through all your current mail and seeing what can be moved to email-only. That is particularly helpful if you don’t want friends, family or a mail forwarding service having sensitive documents. Don’t worry about Wi-Fi service if you don’t have router-to-firewall campground Wi-Fi. Using cell service to check your email is usually safe and works well. You can even use your phone and phone service as a hot spot for computer connection.

Enlist a trustworthy relative or friend

For the first six months of our full-time experiment, our niece opened our mail that was sent to our house once a week. She went through it while we were on the phone. We would say either “Toss it”, “Take a photo of that piece and email it to us,” or “Just hold on to it until we’re back.” Many full-timers and vacationers find that an easy short- and long-term option if they have someone close by that they trust.

Have USPS forward mail to friend or relative

Along with having someone trustworthy to sift through your mail, there is also an option to have the United States Postal Service forward mail to that relative or friend. The post office has a start and end date for temporary mail forwarding for six months or less. For more info click this USPS change of address link.

USPS forwards mail to a mail service

Another method is to have the United States Postal Service forward your mail to a mail forwarding service.

Mail forwarding services

Mail forwarding services collect and hold the mail that is sent to you until you want it sent to another address, scanned or shredded. A lot of the services now also offer virtual mailboxes where you can see online the envelopes that are sent to you. At that point, you can decide to send it, scan it or shred it. The advantage of scanning is that you may just need to see one item and not need to spend the cost of mailing everything to you. They also can forward mail to a set address monthly, two times a month or on a schedule.

Mail services can help with a number of things

There are numerous mail forwarding services. Just Google “mail forwarding” and pages of services appear! Because a mail forwarding service can provide a physical address, help with title transfers, licenses and setting up a legal domicile, the most RV friendly are usually located in the states which full-time RVers choose to use as their domicile.

We have been using Dakota Post in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for several years. They charge a flat yearly rate and do virtual mail service or ship on a schedule. We can view the mail we have, choose what to send to us, have them open and scan or shred. We choose where, what and when to send to our next stop. Some of the services are offered month to month and some require a yearly subscription.

Popular mail services with RVers

Each service has different prices, plans and services, so pick the one that is right for you. These are a few of the most popular with RVers. For traveling RVers, the best option is month-to-month. For full-timers, a yearly subscription may be more economical.

  • Americas Mailbox (RVtravel.com editor’s pick)
  • Escapees
  • Good Sam Mail Service
  • Traveling Mailbox
  • Dakota Post
  • MyRVMail.com

How to physically get the mail

There are a couple of ways to have your mail sent from a mail forwarding service:

  • Send to RV park
    • If you know your next RV park, call ahead and ask the RV park if your mail can be shipped there.
    • Check if packages can be sent, too. I once had a large-screen TV shipped from Best Buy directly to an RV park.
    • Make sure you have requested mail shipment early enough so that you are still at that park.
  • Use General Delivery. This is a method we have used extensively with great luck.
    • Almost every post office handles General Delivery mail but call the chosen post office ahead of time and confirm that they take General Delivery and what address to use.
    • Be prepared to show ID upon pickup of mail or packages.
    • Easiest to pick smaller towns with few post offices.
    • Post offices also accept packages, even Amazon.
    • Mail sent General Delivery is held for 30 days and then returned to the mail forwarding service.
  • Forward to friends and family along the way and ask them to send when necessary.

We hope this information helps you, Sue, and other full-time RVers or extended-travel RVers.

##RVT1082

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P Larson
1 month ago

USPS also has premium mail forwarding services available for both residential and commercial customers.They will forward your mail each week to the location you designate and you can manage the service online. Especially useful if you are not full time yet, but on extended travel past the one month hold mail service limit. You get to keep your home address without having to change it. In our case we use the free USPS Informed Delivery service to get a daily email from USPS showing pictures of the mail we are receiving that day. Useful to know if you have something like a jury summons you can’t ignore. We will combine the premium residential forwarding service, have it sent to a friend’s house while we are gone and then along with the Informed Delivery service we could know we got that jury summons. We could then have the friend open and .pdf it for us to see via email.
https://www.usps.com/manage/forward-premium.htm

Al LeFeusch
1 month ago

Having traveled full time for 8 years, I don’t get physical mail. I have a Po box that i use as my mailing address and, when it is full, i ask the Post office to dump it all in the trash. I never go check it or have it forward. If it’s important, they’ll call or email me.

David Needham
1 month ago

We use YBA ( Your Best Address )
Have forwarded to the park we are staying at.
Couple days turn around.
We have it sent monthly unless its tax time.
Been using this service for 4 years 👍

xctraveler
1 month ago

We have been using Escapee Mail Service since 2007. We pay to have 3rd class mail discarded before shipping. When we expect to be away from the US or places where it is easy to forward the mail we turn on scanning and the outside of envelopes are scanned and sent regularly and I have a choice of send, discard or open and scan contents. Of course every possible step has been taken to reduce mail. Bills are either autopay or online.

Neal Davis
1 month ago

We took a four-month trip to Alaska in 2019. We use your first suggestion and bank on-line. Only two of our monthly bills are sent via snail-mail, water and power, so we made those autopaid. We paused our garbage service, had our mail held, and paid our credit card bills on-line. Thankfully, our monthly bills are few so it was simple and easy for us to travel so long at one time.

Lynne Edwards
1 month ago

You didn’t mention St. Brendans’ Isle for a mail forwarding service. We’ve been using them for over 5 years now. https://www.sbimailservice.com/ Highly recommend.

Spike
1 month ago

Be very careful of having someone take a picture of mail items that contain personal information, assuming it’s done using their phone. Many people have auto-upload storage via Google or others, so now your personal info is sitting where you may not want it. Depending how that person’s terms are set, the provider may suddenly have irrevocable rights to the image.

Sally Harnish
1 month ago

We have used the Escapees mail service for over 20 years. Works great. The only mail we get is first class, have everything else shredded at the mail service. It also helps to get rid of snail mail as much as possible.

Jim Johnson
1 month ago

Be aware that mail identified as “Do not forward” will not be forwarded by the USPS but returned to the sender. This is fairly common among financial service providers. You need to contact each sender and make a temporary address change for the account. This should be either a final destination or a service that WILL forward (confirm that). Ditto for most 3rd class mail like magazine subscriptions.

Wayne
1 month ago

We have been using Dakota Post in Sioux Falls, SD for 9 years now. We chose them because they were the preferred choice of the FMCA. Excellent service. This year they completely updated and changed their website and it works great. We have everything sent there to be forwarded later to wherever we are in the country. Even refrigerated medicines—they handle it all.

Wayne
1 month ago
Reply to  Wayne

Forgot to add we use Dakota Post year round, even during the 4 months we are in our winter home. If you want to become a SD resident, they will handle/advise all the details.

Don H
1 month ago

You missed the method we’ve used for several years: We rent a PO Box at our local UPS store and changed our mailing address to that box. So ALL our mail goes there, all the time. It’s no different than having a PO Box at the Post Office, except that UPS will forward our mail to us whenever we ask. When we’re on the road, we call them whenever we get to a place that we’ll be at for more than a few days, and voila – mail appears within 48 hours.
Nothing else beats that service. We also get the benefit of never losing mail or packages to theft, which has become a much bigger issue in the rural area where we live.

Sharon Tagle
1 month ago

Good Sam Mail Service is unsatisfactory, in my opinion. We used it last year while on the road for 10 weeks. The service takes several weeks to start because the post office needs to forward the mail to the service. Then there is a delay in posting the mail because you have to indicate what mail you want opened and it must be scanned. There is a base charge for the service which increases depending on how much mail you want to view. This year we will get all our bills online and maybe get a p.o. box for junk mail. We also have USPS Informed Delivery, daily email that show all the mail you will be receiving.

Robert Champlin
1 month ago

We have been full-time since 2018. We’ve always used “Your Best Address” out of Sioux Falls, SD. Have never had a problem.

Bob p
1 month ago

This happened several years ago when my parents were full timing and postal rates much less. They forwarded all their mail to my address and the post office offered large $3 mailing envelopes, when I had enough mail collected to fill an envelope I sent it to the address they currently were at. This worked for over 6 years until the quit full timing.

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