How to Setup Your Mailbox While Traveling

No, we’re not talking e-mail or your office mails. We’re talking about how you can receive your physical mail (letters and bills) and other packages while being away from home for extended periods of time. Like when you are traveling or away on a long vacation.

Mail forwarding services

Did you know the US Postal Service has a mail-forwarding service? For a weekly fee, USPS will hold your mail, package it up, and reship it to you at a given address each week by Priority Mail. The Premium Forwarding Service costs $15 to enroll and is a temporary service that can be used from 15 days up to 1 year. This way, you can continue to receive your bills, and avoid incurring late fees and penalties for non-payments.

Mailbox clipart
Image Source

Did you know you can even use your local UPS or Fedex stores as a mailing address? In addition to the privacy you get in not putting your home address out there, the secondary benefit comes when packages delivered need a signature. Often times, packages are not delivered when the person to whom the parcel was specifically addressed to was not home to sign for it. This means having to physically visit the UPS store or call the delivery guy to come back to your house. Something you can do only once you have returned from your travels.

Using a UPS or Fedex store as your mailing address, which are legally authorized to offer such services, they will receive the package and even sign for it on your behalf. The downside is, once they receive the package, it remains with them until you personally go and collect it from the store. UPS will not forward the package again.

Then there’s Pak Mail, who offer mailbox rentals, mail forwarding, faxes, and even notary services.

If you are an RV owner, there are several regionspecific operators and RV clubs that offer mailbox rentals at RV parks and mail forwarding services to your next destination. They can even receive faxes on your behalf.

Receive it, Scan it, E-mail it

What if you wish to read or see the contents of you mail/letters as soon as you get them? For that there are services like Earth Class Mail. They will accept your mail, open it, scan the letter and make the contents available to you online. This is a service that comes in very handy for receiving important letters in paper format and need them scanned and e-mailed to you. For physical goods and other packages, Earth Class Mail have forwarding options where by they will then send the package to any location you desire.

Virtual Post MailVirtual Post Mail is a service where, for as little as $5 a month, users get a US-based virtual mailbox that’s secure, reliable, and easy to use. Virtual Post Mail receives the member’s mail and makes hi-res scans of its content to the member. Members can view their mail and packages in high resolution images online using only either their browser or mobile phone. Virtual Post Mail users claim they receive fewer junk mail and none of those unsolicited mails. Virtual Post Mail can even physically send all your mails and goods in bulk. If not, they will even shred all your mails on request.

As much as we love these services, GTOutcast still advice our listeners to move as many of their bills and statements to e-bills wherever possible. This way you get your bills delivered via e-mail, which can be accessed anywhere you go — and you save on trashing paper. And while you can set up many of these services even after you have left home, it’s best you do all necessary paper work and reassurances before setting off on your journey.

Episode 06 – Making money while traveling, and mail-forwarding services

Your front row seat for conversations with two computer hackers turned travel hackers – living globally, financially independent and semi-retired, both following their dreams and helping you to do the same. You can also find us on iTunes, YouTube or however you listen to podcasts, and we love getting your 5-star reviews. Follow the conversation with us on Twitter @GTFOutcast and stop into the blog often to read the latest and give us comments and feedback.

In this episode of GTFOutcast, Beau Woods and Taylor Banks chat about how one can make money selling goods bought cheap from their travels abroad. The discussion then moves on to the important topic of how travelers can ensure their mails are received securely and forwarded while away from home.

Watch GTFOutcast Episode 06:

0:54 – Taylor talks about the process of selling his house and clearing out furnishings, old electronics and computers using a combination of Craigslist, eBay and donations to locals charities. All in a bid to raise funds for the upcoming journey.

3:40 – Taylor gives us a brief tour of his 34-feet long new mobile home, nick-named the “Snuffleupagus

6:29 – Beau gets in to the topic of how a traveler can make money while on vacation, and using funds from those sales to continue paying for his/her vacation.

Colorful souvenirs
Image source

8:48 – Taylor brings up the possibility of using an online marketplace to simplify the arbitrage process of selling goods on your behalf.

11:19 – Beau talks about building relationships with distributors you meet while on your travels, where by you find a reliable local partners to ship the goods over and paying them online for doing so. Taylor brings up consignment shops and using them as agents to conduct the sale for you.

12:56 – Taylor discusses ways to set up your mail in order to receive packages while on the move

15:05 – Taylor talks about Earth Class Mail, a service that accepts your mail, opens it, scans it and makes it available online. If you are an RV  owner, there are several operators and RV clubs that offer mailbox rental and mail forwarding services.

16:54 – Beau shares how he solves his mail-forwarding problems using a service called Virtual Post Mail. A service, from his personal experience, is best set up while still in the US.

21:50 – Taylor and Beau bring up the concerns of identity theft and how to be sure third parties who receive your mail aren’t snooping around, invading your privacy, or even misusing your packages.