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)
- Good Sam Mail Service
- Traveling Mailbox
- Dakota Post
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.