Most of us take mail for granted, especially if we live in sticks-and-bricks homes. Incoming parcels are delivered right to our doorstep, or we just have to raise the flag on our mailbox for someone to pick up our mail.
Taking a vacation is no problem because we can always ask a family member to help us or work something out with USPS to put our mail on hold. But what happens if you are a full-time RV’er? How do you get your mail, and what are your options? Let’s find out!
Mail services for RVers
The best part of RVing is exploring the world. You can go wherever you want, without staying in one place for too long. In other words, RVing offers plenty of freedom. With that being said, no one wants to be pinned down waiting for another mail to come in.
Therefore, it’s necessary to find a hassle-free and flexible option, especially if you are a full-time RV’er. You want to choose a provider that is responsible, organized, and someone that you are confident will provide you with the level of service you need.
A virtual mailbox gives you a physical address if you need one. It means you get a real street address to which your mail is sent, in case you don’t have a home address or it’s unavailable. Usually, there is a real person there who receives and can sign for packages.
Every time you get new mail, a virtual mailbox service will notify you upon its arrival by scanning the envelope and emailing it to you. Then you can decide what to do with the mail. Most of the time, you have the following options:
- You can ask them to open the letter, scan the content, and email it to you
- Forward the letter to your current address
- Shred or recycle the letter
Most virtual mailbox services provide forwarding services which are particularly beneficial when you receive important government correspondence, a new credit card, or a package. Many virtual mailbox services are available, so it’s best to choose a company based in your region or country.
Why should you use a virtual RV mailbox?
Being a full-time RV’er means traveling a lot and having a semi-permanent place of residence. You could always ask a friend to give you a hand and pick up your mail or forward important documents. But if you don’t want to burden them with your chores, you can always use the virtual mailbox services.
Also, mail theft is one of the easiest ways for someone to steal your identity. Simply by going through your mail, a thief can collect phone numbers, name and address, bank account and credit card information, and social security numbers, to name a few.
This information enables them to run up credit card bills and commit fraud in your name. Nowadays, it’s really important to secure your mail, and there is no better way than switching to a virtual mailbox.
How to choose the best virtual mailbox service?
Choosing the best virtual mailbox depends on a couple of factors because what works for one person might not work for another. That’s why we’ve put a list of criteria to help you narrow down your options.
P.O Box vs. permanent address
Some virtual mailbox services will offer owners a P.O. Box to receive their mail, while others provide a permanent mailing address. As we mentioned, your virtual mailbox is linked to a physical address, just like you would use any brick-and-mortar location.
On the other hand, a P.O. Box can be handy for collecting mailpieces, but not so good for receiving packages because some couriers won’t deliver them. Also, when opening a banking account, most banks require you to have a physical address.
If you decide to get a virtual mailbox, it doesn’t have to be only a virtual mailbox. Some services better target the needs of individuals and particular groups and offer features like mail forwarding and package collecting.
On the other hand, some services may offer micro-logistics. They will unbox and ship items separately. Also, don’t forget that registered agent service can be beneficial, especially when you need someone to receive legal documents on your behalf.
Services with multiple physical locations are more convenient and make it easier to find a virtual mailbox near you. For example, if you live in Arizona, it makes more sense to have a physical address in Arizona than in some neighboring state. Or, your physical address can be a campground of a state you are always returning to.
How long will the virtual mailbox service keep your mail? How many pieces will they keep? These conditions usually vary and depend on the service. Some will store 40 pieces for 30 days, while others offer an unlimited storage plan of 180+ days.
What actions does the virtual mailbox service allow you to take?
Before choosing the service, ask to see a demonstration of a product, to fully understand the scope of functionalities available to you. If that’s not an option, make sure to find out the following:
- In what format will they send you mail?
- How do they treat checks and packages?
- How can you organize your information?
- Is it possible to search documents within the platform?
How quickly can you access your information?
One of the major benefits of using a virtual mailbox is quick access to information in useful formats. Therefore, when choosing a service provider, make sure to find out how long it will take them to email you the content from the moment you request them to scan an item. How long does mail forwarding take, and can you access your mail through a smartphone device?
Where can you pick up your mail?
So far, we have covered many topics, but where do you actually forward your mail if you are a full-time RV’er?
Many hotels will let you forward mail and packages to them if you book a room. Occasionally, you could make a reservation and indulge yourself with a bit of luxury, where you will have a king-size bed and a decent bathroom. The only problem you may encounter is the timing. That’s why it’s important to know how fast a service provider can ship your mail and what’s the delivery time.
Local post office
Some post offices in different states will allow you to forward your mail to them, and later you can pick it up.
DHL, UPS, FedEx
There is also an option to send your mail to the local office of these shipping companies and collect the mail when you arrive. Of course, you will have to use their particular service for shipping. It’s best to call them and let them know what you plan to do and ask how long they can hold your mail.
Since you are a full-time RV’er, you will have to park your RV somewhere when you take a break, right? RV sites and campgrounds are the most common areas where people go and park their RVs. If this parking lot has an address, you could stick around for a few days and ask your virtual mailbox service provider to ship your packages and mail there.
Can you reduce your mail volume?
Regardless of which virtual mailbox provider or forwarding method you choose, reducing unwanted mail is an important part of this process. Lowering your mail volume will not only save you money on postage fees but reduce the number of times your mail needs to be forwarded.
You might think my RV mail volume is not that big. However, we don’t usually pay attention to mail when we have a physical address, but when on the road, our mail starts accumulating suddenly.
That’s why you should avoid giving your address to anyone unnecessarily. Reconsider your magazine subscriptions and switch to online copies. Consider moving your transactions online and use paperless options.
On the other hand, items like credit cards, passports, driver’s licenses, packages, and important legal documents need to be sent to your physical address.
After going through different aspects of the RV lifestyle, we can conclude that everyone needs an address. However, it’s up to you to decide what type of address you will get. Is it going to be a physical or a virtual one?
We gave you a couple of options when it comes to a virtual mailbox, what it takes to get one, and what to look for when choosing a reliable service provider. With the help of a virtual mailbox, you can finally experience ultimate freedom and explore the RV travel world.