Tips: Mail Management from the Road

Jennifer

When we travel, we often wonder what mail we’re getting back home, and if there is something important to which we must attend.

Well, listener Tom called in this great tip about a new service from the United States Postal Service – USPS Informed Delivery .

The service, he says, “will actually send you an email each day you have mail coming to your address that’s addressed to you.”

“It will send you a picture of the front of the envelope,” Tom added, noting the service currently only works with letter-sized envelopes.

The service also allows customers to track incoming mail through an online dashboard, which means you go to a website, log-in, and see mail that way.

“I think this would be great if you’re away from your address and something important comes in,” Tom said.

To sign up, head to the website.

Once there, you first enter in your zip code to see if it’s available in your area. Most of the country is included. Mike and I just signed up thanks to Tom’s tip.

Again, while the Informed Delivery product is available for most addresses, it is not available for all. A few of you may need to be patient a bit as the program is rolled out.

There are lots of commercial mail services that will also handle your mail while you are on the road for long periods of time, services like Dakota Post, MyRVmail or Traveling Mailbox.  Typically, they'll charge you a monthly fee to either forward, scan or hold it in a virtual mailbox you can check online.

For us, the best solution is to simply have our local Post Office hold our mail. They'll do so for up to 30 days. And if we return earlier than we expected, we just go to the post office and pick it up. For trips longer than 30 days, the USPS will forward your mail to another address. We'll use this, for example, if we'll be staying at our Florida condo for a couple of months, something we sometimes do when we use it as a home base to explore the south and Gulf states during the late fall and winter.

The USPS even has a premium forwarding service that will bundle all your mail and send it to you once a month via Priority Mail. They charge a pretty hefty fee for that, however, – $20 to sign up and $20 a week. The regular forwarding costs only $1 to sign up and is food for as long as six months. You can get details at https://www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm 

Have a tip or suggestion for the RV lifestyle? You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile device to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.




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