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PostPosted: February 17th, 2017, 5:46 pm 
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Joined: July 14th, 2015, 6:40 pm
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Location: Upstate South Carolina
I plan to sell my house and once it's closed I hope to spend about three months on the road, but I haven't figured out what to do about my mail. The USPS will hold my mail for only thirty days. So that's out. No relatives nearby to use their address. I will probably return to this area and purchase a residence once the adventure is completed.
What do you do?
Thanks.


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PostPosted: February 17th, 2017, 7:32 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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I have done a variety of things over the years. Way back in the day, I had family take care of it. Then for awhile I had a post office box in my town (which I had already had even when I lived there), and I gave a friend the key and he periodically picked up my mail. I left him with a stack of pre-paid Priority Mail envelopes to send things along.

Then for awhile, the post office would do similar; but then they made rules so that was no longer an option. I think they did then institute a fee service that was similar(?). But at that time I went with a "real" mail forwarding service, SBI (aka St. Brendan's Isle) in Florida. I was still a resident of my home state (which was not Florida) but used the mail forwarder as a mailing address. They have provided mail service for long distance cruisers (boaters) for years, and now also handle expats, traveling nurses, RV-ers, and etc. Great service, and as an option they will scan the envelopes of your mail and you can look at them online and click a box for hold, send, or shred. If you want to, on any given envelope, you can then have them scan the contents. Very slick, they take security seriously, and... no complaints!

For a while in the middle I went with a different mail service (for reasons to boring to elaborate on) and it worked just okay, but was not as slick as SBI, and their ideas of security.... well, they didn't mesh with mine. Now I'm back with SBI (ahhhh).

I have a friend who has used a UPS store (they are really just a mail box type place, not "just" a UPS place as the name sort of implies). They have franchises all over, and I'm sure some have friendlier staff than others, but his store is great. And when I say great, not only does he travel all over the US, but he's also a UK resident and has stuff sent overseas. Nothing like mail scanning slickness, but there is the advantage that there is probably one in your home area. They hold his mail and packages until he lets them know he wants them, and where/how to send.

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PostPosted: February 18th, 2017, 8:33 am 
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Joined: February 17th, 2015, 1:57 pm
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Location: Marysville, WA
We had our home mail forwarded to our PO Box (where all our bills went anyway) and then mailed by a friend to a UPS store about once every 4-5 weeks.

Many UPS stores actually provide mail boxes like a PO Box (at least in my area) which gives you a street address rather than a PO Box. I believe they will also forward to another UPS Store but I would check with them to confirm.

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PostPosted: February 18th, 2017, 10:00 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Xatlatc wrote:
I will probably return to this area and purchase a residence once the adventure is completed.


Unless the road steals your heart :D

Actually, I think having a home base and also taking long periods of time for traveling would be the ultimate. Best of both worlds! Lots of fun traveling, no need to bring it all along, and then landing at the home base to do the type of thing the road doesn't lend itself to (workshop projects, just running from large room to large room, knowing everything about the area, seeing old friends, etc.). I can only swing one or the other, so I'm traveling now (but who knows what the future will bring). But I think I would really enjoy both traveling AND having a home base.

Sman,
Yes, I think most (maybe all) UPS stores function as "mailbox" type places. I have a UK friend who has used one for years (in the US, as he periodically lives in Cali); and another traveling friend uses one now (a different location). If I were going to do that I'd kind of feel out the staff first, as some are more enjoyable to do business with than others (all depends on the staff). They send things on to wherever you'd like them to (or you can pick up there). I think there are advantages to a dedicated mail forwarder, but the big bonus of the UPS store option is that they are in many locations and states, so there is likely to be one near anywhere (vs. dedicated mail forwarders aren't just on every corner). This could be handy if wanting to keep a presence in a certain locale.

I still do use UPS stores sometimes now, if I want to receive something like an Amazon package directly wherever I am. It's not my first choice (because other choices are free), but they are handy when you don't know how something will be shipping (Amazon, I'm looking at YOU here). I usually call first, as since they are individual franchises, cost per box varies ($2 at one store I've used, $5 at many, and $15 (!) at a store that was near the Canadian border). I've also since realized that renting a UPS store box for a month can be cheaper if you are going to be receiving a lot of packages (Amazon can manage to send 8 items in 10 boxes sometimes, it seems :lol: ).

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PostPosted: February 19th, 2017, 3:55 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
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Location: Santa Cruz
I once asked myself, "why collect mail at all?" Hopefully I don't sound glib in response. All my bills are paid online. Tax documents and DMV stuff are the only things that I've found to be a slight nuisance, but with a little effort, those can be handled without paper, too. I've run into a few situations where someone was requiring a physical address, and each time I just pointed at the Chinook with a semi-sarcastic grin. I didn't get many laughs, especially in rural Ohio when I was shopping for a pistol. But as long as you're responsible-ish, I feel that mail is not an essential reality anymore. Plus, no more junkmail.

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PostPosted: February 20th, 2017, 8:24 am 
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Location: Marysville, WA
After having a couple of online "incidents" I'm fine with mail. I do have recurring payments (like mortgage) set up as autopay. After having our mail stolen long ago we have had a PO Box for over 30 years. I have health issues that require monthly blood draws which has proved a bit more challenging on the road. My Dad spent many years in his 55 passenger converted school bus and would usually have mail sent general delivery in whatever town he was near. He had PO boxes in Quartzite, Jerome, Apache Jct, and a few other places over the years as well. (He loved Arizona and the desert southwest) He also used my address In Washington for certain things and would have me forward mail to whatever town as needed. There is always a way... ;)

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Last edited by SMan on February 20th, 2017, 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: February 20th, 2017, 12:27 pm 
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We've tried to set up as much as possible online. Unfortunately this cannot yet be done for everything.

When we are on the road for several months at a time we have USPS temporarily forward our mail to our daughter. We guess at how long our trip will last when making the initial forwarding instruction, but if our timetable changes we just log into USPS and apply a change instruction. Our daughter sends us a scanned image of anything important. The rest gets trashed or just gets bundled up and sent to us when we return from our trip.

While on the road we usually use USPS General Delivery for any packages that we order online.

Amazon can be 'tricked' into using USPS as the carrier (USPS General Delivery will not receive from other carriers) by including 'PO Box' in the general delivery address, for example:
Name
PO BOX General Delivery
City, State
Zip-9999

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PostPosted: February 20th, 2017, 4:16 pm 
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I read the question as what to do with one's "home" mail, so neglected to go much into strategies for receiving said mail along the way. Some of this has already been mentioned, but I do various things:

1) Have my mail sent from my forwarder via UPSP to a General Delivery location (post office) along the way. Tracking is not as good as UPS and that type of carrier, but it's cheaper. I try to choose a small town with just one post office and easy parking (can look on Google maps Satellite if not sure). Larger towns with many post offices will typically have only one that all General Delivery mail goes to, and it may not be the convenient one. You can always call and ask, but a single small town post office is obvious.

2) If I'm ordering something and I get the chance to specify the shipping method, then that helps. If there is a UPS Customer Center (aka "hub") (NOT a UPS store), then I can use UPS and not pay an extra charge to pick it up (like you do at a UPS store or other mailing outfit). Likewise if there is a FedEx customer hub (although Fedex can be a bit more confusing as they can have separate addresses for Ground, Express, "Home Delivery," etc.). Or there is good old USPS, but I dislike their tracking. Oftentimes a campground (if you are at one) will accept something (bonus in that you don't necessarily have to know in advance what shipping method will be used). Last choice, a UPS store or other mailbox type place. But there will be a charge, and some of them take everything but post office, or other quirks. Having stuff sent to a friend's house you will be visiting is great, of course.

3) If I'm ordering and *can't* specify (or even SEE) what shipper will be used (cough: AMAZON), then I have a choice to make. Risk the UPS hub (since they *usually* ship UPS, especially when you don't specify overnight). Or the UPS store (not hub) or other commercial mailbox place where they will accept from any shipper. Or force it to go PO as Andrew shows above (and then live with the inevitable slower shipping and poor tracking) (as in "Thanks for letting me know I received the package yesterday, that's helpful :? .")

4) If I'm going to be someplace for awhile (month or so) then pay for a box at a UPS store or similar mailbox place - especially if maybe I'm doing a project and will be making several orders.

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PostPosted: September 26th, 2017, 5:29 pm 
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Joined: July 14th, 2015, 6:40 pm
Posts: 136
Location: Upstate South Carolina
Scott,
I agree with you on the question of 'Why even have mail", but my biggest problem is with the South Carolina DMV. The law here states that a citizen shall notify DMV within ten days of moving from your residence to your new residence. They must have a physical building address where you dwell, if not, you must turn over your drivers license. My issue is that I don't want to lie about my home address once I sell my home and hit the road with intentions to return to this area. I have my state senator, representative and the governors hotline trying to find an answer to the situation. South Carolina laws/statutes have put me into a position that I may have to become a Florida citizen ( which allows using certain business addresses as my domicile/dwelling via a Declaration of Domicile plus I plan to use SBI mail forwarding service located in Green Cove Springs, Fl. ) thus the state of South Carolina will lose all future taxes from me just because I chose to go for a ride for a couple of months. I even asked for a 'pardon' from the governor that I could show to law enforcement if needed. They didn't see the humor in the request.
DMV has contacted me two times and both people have said it can't be done and they both asked if there was a family member or friend that I could use their address. Wow! Their telling me to lie! What a system!
All that said, I know I could probably go on a road trip and never have an issue or I could find someones address ( maybe ) to use. But I feel I shouldn't have to lie. This is such a childish problem and the elected adults at my state capital can't figure out an answer. To be continued. First world problem I guess?


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PostPosted: September 27th, 2017, 11:31 am 
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Joined: July 14th, 2015, 6:40 pm
Posts: 136
Location: Upstate South Carolina
I received word today from the South Carolina DMV counsellor that by filing a new 'temporary address' with the DMV will allow me to keep my license and residency in South Carolina. I don't need to change my address on my license since this is only temporary as long as I file a new temporary mailing address with them.
Case closed, I hope.


Last edited by Xatlatc on October 1st, 2017, 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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