Full time RVers still receive their mail all throughout the year despite constantly moving across the country. It’s not that hard to do.
How Can I Receive Mail When Boondocking Full Time
Boondockers still maintain a “home base” even though they don’t physically live there. It’s just a place that is officially associated with them for purposes of declaring residency to satisfy requirements for taxes, auto registration, voter registration, health insurance, and other.
- Pick a place where you want to be officially associated with as a resident. Think about which states have no state income taxes, lower vehicle registration fees, and no state sales taxes.
- Find a person or service willing to retrieve your mail (see below)…
Finding a Person or Service Willing to Retrieve Your Mail
There are a couple of ways to do this…
- Hire a Family Member – A lot of full time RVers and boondockers hire a family member to do this. They maintain residency in the state where they have a family member. Then, they establish a mailbox at a post office or other business that rents out mailboxes. That family member retrieves your mail on a regular basis, throws out the junk mail, and forwards the rest to you at a FedEx, UPS, or Post Office near you.
- Mail Forwarding Services – There are many mail forwarding services designed specifically for RVers. These services all give you a mailbox where you can have mail delivered to, they throw out the junk mail, and then create photographic scans which you can view online. Then you decide which pieces to have forwarded to you, and which to throw out. MyRVmail.com, Escapees, Good Sam, St. Brendan’s Isle, all offer these services. There are many others too.
- If you plan to boondock in the same general area for several months, get a PO Box at the closest U.S. Post Office. PO Boxes are very cheap, and they now have a mobile app that let’s you monitor your box. Even with a small PO Box, you can have large packages delivered at no extra cost.
Using Post Office General Delivery
All U.S. Post Offices offer “general delivery”, which is a way for travelers to receive to mail. Mail is addressed to you in the following format…
CITY STATE ZIP
You pick up the mail at the post office for that Zip Code.
- General Delivery is free to receive mail, and you do not need to apply. Just have the sender send it to you using the format above.
- General Delivery is meant to be temporary (usually one or two mailings), not an address for you to use for any length of time. If you need to receive mail for an extended period, you must rent a P.O. Box (which are very cheap)
- To retrieve mail that was sent to you, you must show Identification. Hence, make sure the person sending you mail uses the same name that appears on your Identification.
- Mail is held at the Post Office for about 10 days. After which, it is returned to sender.
Receiving Mail at FedEx or UPS Stores
All FedEx and UPS Stores will accept mail addressed to you. Most accept it free of charge, but a handful will charge a small fee, of about $5.00 to hold mail and packages.
To have mail sent to you, simply have the sender send it to that store’s address with your name on it. You will be asked to show Identification to prove who you are, so make sure sender uses the same name that’s on your Identification.
Warning About Buying Products Online
When buying products online, make sure to review the retailer’s shipping policies first. Many will use only one shipper, FedEx, UPS, or USPS, and not anything else. For example, UPS will not deliver to PO Boxes, nor will they deliver to FedEx offices. FedEx does not deliver to UPS offices, but will deliver to Post Offices.
When buying from Amazon.com, particular when an item is sold by a third-party, make sure to review the third-party’s shipping policies for the same reasons above.
Advantages of Buying Online from Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart.com offers some unique advantages for RVers that Amazon.com does not offer. When buying online from Wal-Mart…
- You can have Wal-Mart deliver the items to a Wal-Mart store close to you.
- Wal-Mart does not charge you shipping if delivered to a Wal-Mart store.
- At the time of picking up your package, they allow you to inspect it, and refuse it with no additional fee, if it’s damaged or not what you ordered.
- If you accept the package, but later on decide to return it, you can take it to any Wal-Mart, and they will accept it, repackage it, and return it, without cost to you. Most of the time you don’t even need the receipt.
- Wal-Mart.com has thousands of third-party retailers, which means just about anything you find on Amazon you will also find on Wal-Mart.
Buying from Wal-Mart.com has some disadvantages…
- Shipping to a Wal-Mart generally takes a few days longer than Amazon Prime.
- Wal-Mart shipping often gets delayed. Hence, an item that was supposed to arrive at a Wal-Mart store near you in 5 days, often will extend another 2 or 3 days.
- Wal-Mart’s online prices are often higher than Amazon’s.