getting mail when on the road
I have quit my job and gave my notice at my apartment and think I will just travel a year or so. I'm wondering the best thing to do about mail. There are some things I physically need to receive in the mail and I'm wondering, if you dont know where you are going or when you are going to get there, how do you keep track of your mail from place to place?
I realize you can forward mail, but if I'm receiving mail in town A and then leave and camp/travel and then find town B to stay in....will the post office open up my po box in town A and send it to me in the next place?
7+ Years of Forwarding mail
There are three basic ways of dealing with this situation. The least reliable (in most cases) is to have a friend/family member receive all of your mail and send to wherever you plan to be. It is far better send it to a specific location in advance of your arrival and then wait for it.
You can also send mail thru the USPS using
Town, State, Zip Code.
The mail will be held for you for weeks-months(?)
By far the most reliable is to use a commercial service, like Postnet, who will hold your mail and send to wherever you designate.
If you rent a PO Box, no one can open your box (including the postal service) and forward the mail on Unless you request the service in writing and in person.
Thanks for that info, I've had the run around with the Post Office and started getting confused. The fact that I dont have a clue where I am going to go or when I'm going to be there is what has made it seem difficult.
I'll check out that postnet place.
There are some other choices for mail forwarding also.
Escapees RV Club (http://www.escapees.com/website/) provides mail forwarding for their members as does the Family Motor Coach Assoc.
In at least some of the states where there is no income tax (Texas, Nevada, South Dakota), many of the private postal box companies also provide a forwarding service. The reason for that is that many full-timers elect to change their legal residence so they are not subject to state income tax. There are four states other than the ones mentioned in this category but these three are the ones I am aware of that have such forwarding service.
As our Editor mentioned, there are a number of commercial forwarding services that usually advertise in the back pages of RV oriented magazines. If you live in a samll town, you might also check to see if a local secretarial office would provide the service for you at a reasonable cost.
I am not a CPA or other tax professional but it is my understanding that your mailing address has no impact on your legal residence for tax or voting purposes. If you chose, you could change your permanent mailing address to wherever you selected a mail forwarder without it effecting your legal domicile.
I don't quite know if I would/could/should do that RV Club or motor coach...its just me and my mazda. So far I have been able to get most everything taken care of using online billing. I've decided its probably best to have someone here in Az. just receive my mail and if anything looks important have it fwded via the postmaster general thing. Nice to know about those few states, the problem is tho, all the OTHER states. If I plan to live/work/visit different towns and cities for a week or a month at a time and move on, that is alot of mail fwding to keep track of. Maybe if I stay somewhere for a month I would set up a po box there and isnt is ok to just have only the mail I WANT to get fwded to me? Like if I'm working and they want to mail me a check...or if a friend mails me something? I dont have to let everyone know the po address right?
I wondered about the resident thing. I hate that its so expensive in AZ to have auto tags/emissions/registration but assume I should keep it here instead of hopping around with all that.
I think you are over-thinking this "problem". As I understand it, you have a friend willing to accept all of your mail. He or she can place as much or as little of your mail as you want sent in an envelope/box and send it directly to you (anywhere in the world...). Forget the concept of forwarding. It is a concept -- not a requirement.
On the receiving side, you can either elect to have the box of mail sent to "General Delivery, Anytown, AnyState, AnyZipCode" or to wherever you are during the time you will be there. For instance, if you are going to stay in a motel/hotel/campground/friend's house/hostel/etc. for one or more days and you know when you will arrive - have your friend address the package to you C/O (care of) the name of the motel and write on the package: "HOLD FOR GUEST ARRIVAL". It is that simple. We have been receiving mail on the road that way since 1994.
I wouldn't get a PO box unless you plan to be there for several weeks or months.
If you find a spot where the grass is greener than Arizona. You can decide to become a resident there. This is more obvious once you are on the road. It is not complicated and there is no reason to make it so.
I guess I am making this complicated. Maybe its because out of all my friends she is the ONLY one who isn't always moving and totally irresponsible but I wouldn't want her to do this for more than a year or so...
Thanks for getting specific with me on that general delivery...I'll relax....:)
You have gotten good advice on this matter. Just one more helpful hint: I have often heard from full-time RV travelers that it is best to choose a small town, the smaller the better, when you have your mail forwarded to you General Delivery. It is easy for your mail to get lost in a larger city. And larger cities also usually have several post offices and it can be difficult to find out which one actually has your mail. So choose a small town with only one post office for this. It can be a small town on the outskirts of a bigger city if that's where you will be.
I appreciate that extra info. I suppose if I weren't expecting some very important things in the mail I wouldn't be to uptight about this. I think that is excellent advice about the smaller towns outside of the bigger cities. I can see how that could get lost if there are more than a few branches!
Ok, time to pay attention to the other things now! :)