One thing that many people forget about when they are planning to go full-time is their mail. Unfortunately, this oversight can cause a lot of problems down the road.
Luckily, there are many steps you can take to ensure that you have access to your mail while out on the road.
In this post, I’ll tell you exactly how to handle mail when RVing full-time.
7 Mail Solutions For Full Time RVers
Here are some mail solutions that you can take advantage of when you’re off on your journey.
1) Get a House Sitter
Just because you’ve decided to go full-time, doesn’t mean you’ve decided to give up your house. If you’ve decided to keep your home, you can always get a house-sitter or someone else to come by to get your mail on a weekly basis.
They can take a look at your mail and notify you if they see something they think is important.
For example, tax document and vehicle registration paperwork are easily recognizable without the need to open the letter. If your house sitter sees something like this they can forward it to your current location for you.
Another option, that is similar to that of a house sitter is to rent out your house. Knock some money off of the rent and in return, the tenant can keep track of your mail for you. In this situation, you’ll make money and your mail will be well taken care of.
2) Put a Hold At The Post Office
Are you about to head out on the road? Did you forget to figure out what to do about your mail before heading out? If so, you can place a temporary hold on your mail.
To do this, just stop by the post office and tell them that you are going away for a little while and you would like them to hold your mail at the post office. Typically you can have your mail held for a week or two at a time.
This will give you some additional time to figure out the best solution for you.
If you run out of time before you’ve found a permanent solution, stop by and pick up your mail and ask for a renewal of the hold you had on place.
This will buy you an additional week or two and you’ll be able to access the mail you’ve gotten over the last few weeks.
3) Get a Box at The Post Office
The post office doesn’t have to send all of your mail to your house. Instead, rent a post office box from the post office and they’ll deliver everything into a secure box.
Rental a P.O. box does not cost much money and it ensures that you’ll have a safe place to store your mail while you’re away.
You’ll still have to come back to the post office periodically to check the box but you’ll have more time than if you had put a temporary hold on your mail.
Also, this gives nomads a viable place to send mail while they’re out full-timing. This is important as you’ll need an address to get a driver’s license, to file taxes, and to fill out other necessary governmental paperwork.
4) Send it to Your Campground
Do you need to receive packages and other forms of mail while you’re traveling? If so, why not send it to the campground that you’re staying in?
Not all campgrounds will accept mail on your behalf but many will.
Ask the campground first and they’ll tell you whether or not it is OK to send mail to them.
Typically, campgrounds that offer long-term stays are much more likely to have mail options when compared to campgrounds that only offer short-term stays. After all, why would an office be set up to collect mail for residents when all of them leave after only a few nights?
5) Send it to A Pickup Location
Some companies such as Amazon and UPS have pickup locations where you can have packages delivered. This is great for people who just need a temporary location that will accept packages for them.
These pickup locations can usually be accessed free-of-charge, but you may have to access them during business hours. Just keep this in mind before mailing out perishables and medication as businesses can close early and a holiday weekend could leave you without your medicine for several days.
6) Send it to Your (Old) Workplace
Will you continue to work at your job while full-timing? Some people full-time in and around a job-site. Others go full-time but keep their jobs by telecommuting.
Either way, you can ask your employer to receive any mail you have. This way, you’ll have a trusted place to collect your mail and you’ll know that you can go back and access it when needed.
7) Send it to Friends or Family Members
Many full-time RVers like to establish a home base at one of their friends or family members houses. This is great because it gives them some stability and a place to operate out of.
Also, a family member is much more likely to contact you in the event that you receive an important letter.
Remember mail theft can lead to identity theft so it is important that you have someone trustworthy to watch over your mail.
Tips for Making Things Easier
Just because you’ve found someone to collect your mail, doesn’t mean you can’t make things easier.
Follow the steps below to learn how to reduce the difficulty of getting mail while out on the road.
Reducing the number of letters you get is the best way to reduce the strain that excessive mail can cause on a P.O. box or a relatives mail box. It is also a great way to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive each year.
Do this by opting out of many of the mailings you currently receive. One of the most prolific sources of junk mail is from credit card companies.
The FTC has made it easy to opt out of these offers. You can do so online or by calling a toll free number.
The website to visit for either of these options can be found here.
To opt-out of other sources of junk mail, you may have to contact the company or organization directly. For example, you can stop receiving emails from your old college by giving them a call and asking to be taken off of their mailing list.
9) Plan a Better Route
Another way to reduce the mail that is getting stored is to simply pick it up more often. Plan routes that criss-cross back and forth and you’ll find yourself making frequent stops to get your mail.
This is great because it reduces the amount of mail your friends and family members have to store for you. It’s also great because it increases the number of times you see your family throughout the year.
If you have a P.O. box that is storing your mail instead, being able to empty it out often reduces the size of the box that you need to rent. This will save you money each month and give you more money to use on your trip.
10) Do Longer Stays
If you’d like to simply have your address travel with you, plan on prolonging your stays. For example, you could spend six months at each location you travel to.
This way, you’ll simply be able to change your address every six months.
You may not get to see as many places but you’ll be able to fully explore each area you visit and you’ll get to lay down some roots along the way.
This is a great strategy for collecting both your mail and some new friends while full-timing.
11) Go Paperless
Another way to reduce the amount of mail you need to deal with while traveling is to go paperless.
This is great because you still get to access your mail online and you no longer have to worry about how to access the files you need while you’re away.
Also, going paperless reduces your carbon footprint. On top of this, it may also save you money as some companies will reward you for going paperless. For example, my bank waives its monthly fee when you switch to paperless and my cell phone company drops the bill by $10.00 a month when you go paperless. These saving can quickly add up and you may wonder why you didn’t make the switch a long time ago.
There are many steps you can take to help you get your mail while full-time RVing.
The step you take is a personal one and it will depend on the lifestyle you choose, the willingness of friends and family members to collect your mail, and your ability to balance everything.
My best advice is to be respectful of the people you entrust with your mail and do the best you can to reduce their burden. Also, remember that they are doing you a favor and be sure to reward them for doing so.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.