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MaineDon
We are about to head-out for 3 months in the South. Although we have traveled for 4-6 weeks at a time before, this will be the longest we've ever been gone. Suddenly we are thinking, "How do we get the mail....make sure the bills are paid?"

We'd appreciate any suggestions on how this is best handled. I spoke with our local U.S. Postmaster and he suggested that we find "a neighbor" to collect our mail, box it up, and Fed-Ex it to us at a designated location. Is this what everyone does when on the road for extended periods? The Post Office said they would return everything to senders after 30 days of On-Hold delivery. Yikes!!
Beastdriver
MaineDon:

First off, open a checking account with a financial institution that offers on-line banking and bill payment, funds transfers, etc, by computer, and have all your bills sent to you via e-mail. Then, have the post office forward all your mail to you at the address of a friend or relative (they will do it for six months and, if you are gone longer, you can renew for another six months (or whatever) by computer. Then, instruct your friend to throw away all the junk mail, the credit card offers, the insurance offers, and all the other crap we receive by the ton. If you should get something extremely important, have your friend call you and fax it to you wherever you are. On occasion (about every three months or so), have your friend send you a FedEx or UPS package with your accumulated mail. We're on the road seven or eight months out of the year and this works well for us. I would recommend this approach.
jperera
We belong to FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) and we have used their free service to have our mail forwarded. It does require a bit of planning ahead. There are a couple of forms to fill out and it needs to be done a month or so ahead of time I think. Then once a week on an assigned day you call them and tell them where to send your mail. If you are in one place for a period of time, they will send mail there once a week. You can also tell them to hold it until you say differently. You can have them dump all magazines, catalogs, etc. We always called the campground we were going to stay in to make sure they accepted mail and find the exact mailing address. It worked well for us.

We also did our banking by phone or online so we didn't have to worry about missing a payment.

A local mail service store (like AIM or the UPS Store) said they would provide the same service. I'm sure we would have had to pay for it however.
Big Ben
Being you are doing this for a relatively short time, Can't you set up some thing with your post office? I know several people that done that. That way you don't have to change your address. The way it work is you put up so much for postage and they had a 800 number to call when you wanted it forwarded to where ever you are at.
RLM
MaineDon> There are several different methods to get your mail while on the road. Some of them have been suggested in reply posts. The following is food for thought.

The Post Office has some unusual rules about forwarding and/or holding mail. I would strongly suggest that you talk to the postmaster to get those. I say..postmaster.. because the counter reps will give you half dozen conflicting responses. Secondly, if you find that while on the road that you might need an exception, the postmaster is the authority to do that.

If you decide to forward it to another address, be advised that some of your creditors will automatically change your account to that new, but temporary address. Then you have to get it changed back upon your return. I have gotten several explanations as to why that happens, but Iíve come to the conclusion that itís just plain stupidity!!

What I have done that works is to rent a post office box for six months at the same PO that services my mail. I have everything forwarded to that box number then enlist a relative to pick it up once a week and send it to me. I provide them with enough money to cover all expenses and a little extra for their trouble. They can send a package to General Delivery at any PO where you are close to. It works well. You may not need the entire six months, but who cares. A box for six months in my area is only $39.

In no circumstance, would I leave mail in the box at my residence for someone to pick-up at their convenience. That is a major security issue.

Having computer access to your accounts is certainly hi-tech, but I can tell you that calling a creditor works just as well. Almost every one of them has a toll free number that you can use to check on statement, payment, and balance info. Make a list that includes account number, phone number, and approximate time that a payment is due. Check it on a regular basis and you won't have a problem. You don't need a statement to pay the monthly amount due. Before I started doing it the ďhi-techĒ way, I used that system for almost a year. Never missed a bill.

Enjoy the Palmetto State.

Rick
Sid
We use the Premium Forwarding Service from the Post Office. Used it last year and again this year. Arrange with your postmaster ahead of time that you will call from where you need it sent to you. You do get everything that's been sent to your address. This year we got a PO box and that has also worked out well. It costs $10 to set up, and is then $10.40 a week. This service also forwards any packages that have been mailed to me as well. As for bill paying, try your bank to see if they do online billpay. We've been doing online bill pay for quite awhile and have found it to be the most convenient way to pay bills. Or pay everything ahead of time for three months. Yes, they'll have the use of your money, but you won't have to worry something will get shut off while you're gone. Have fun.
MaineDon
Thanks, Beast, jper, Sid, Ben and Rlm. Sorry to be sort of slow in offering appreciation for your comments, help, and advice. I am back in the mountains of very rural western Maine (where I have excellent internet access) after a week at our house on the "populated" coast of Maine (where my internet access stinks!). Although I have been able to read all your comments over the past 5 days or so, for some reason my dial-up system on the coast won't allow me to send a REPLY. So anyway (belatedly)...thanks so much for your help.

We have arranged for on-line banking and fund transfer. Since we are starting so late, we will have a neighbor collect and Fed-Ex mail once or twice while we are out. When we return, we'll start to research the various clubs/organizations that offer this service. Once again, discussions with our local Post Master have been anything but fruitful....he seems to think that there is no reason that anyone should ever leave Maine (even during bug season), so he views us with great suspicion.

Now if the snow would just stop falling here so we could get out.....thanks so much to all of you.
rangiebob
QUOTE(Sid @ Apr 12 2007, 12:03 PM) *

We use the Premium Forwarding Service from the Post Office. Used it last year and again this year. Arrange with your postmaster ahead of time that you will call from where you need it sent to you. You do get everything that's been sent to your address. This year we got a PO box and that has also worked out well. It costs $10 to set up, and is then $10.40 a week. This service also forwards any packages that have been mailed to me as well. As for bill paying, try your bank to see if they do online billpay. We've been doing online bill pay for quite awhile and have found it to be the most convenient way to pay bills.



This is what we have been doing for over a year and it's worked well for the most part. It's expensive compared to some of the forwarding services we've heard about (Escapees, etc.). But because we run our business while and live in our motor home full-time, we need to keep using the same mailing address we had when we still lived in our house, and our p.o. box from our original town is the one!
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