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How To Stop Mail For Vacation

So you have had a busy last quarter and are ready to go off the grid for a while to some exotic vacation place…great! Maybe the Maldives, or the Seychelles, or perhaps the Bahamas? Or are you more of a jungle holiday goer? Or a year-long volunteer kind of affair? Wherever you go, you’re going to have loads of fun. But it isn’t quite that simple, is it? There is still that one question playing on your mind.

 

What happens with your USPS mail while you are away?

 

Well, we have good news for you because in this blog we will be showing you how to complete a mail hold with the post office.

 

Make some notes, read carefully and, at the end of the day, have a wonderful vacation!

 

Mailbox is overflowed with mail

How To Hold Your Mail in 3 Simple Steps:

 

    1. Head over to the Postal Service website and click on “Hold Mail” under “Track & Manage”
    2. Enter your mailing address
    3. Confirm whether “hold mail” is available for your location

     

    See, the good news is, the USPS has predicted that you won’t be at home 24/7 all days of the year. And even though you can get a pretty nice and large mailbox these days, the capacity is not exactly unlimited. There is nothing that screams more “I am away” than an overflowed mailbox. That in return will set you up for some unexpected visitors that are curious why you haven’t picked up your mail in such a long time.

     

    Once you have completed all necessary steps on the Postal Service website and receive confirmation of the eligibility of your location, you will want to enter the travel dates and select from one of two options:

     

    • Get mail delivered when you return home
    • Pick it up at the Post Office

     

    After that step is completed, you will receive a confirmation number that will be e-mailed to you within a few seconds. You will be given the option to edit your travel information and delivery options as well. That is where that confirmation number comes in handy.

 

Post office clerk handling mail from customer

In Person USPS Hold Request

 

If you are more traditional and find that completing a mail hold online is too complicated, don’t sweat it; there is an option of completing a hold request in person or over the phone.

 

To complete a hold request in person, you will want to visit your local post office branch and complete a 8076 form that will Authorize the Postal Service to hold your mail. That form will ask you similar information that the online form would ask (e.g address, calendar days you will be away, and an option to get mail delivered once you are back home, or an option to pick it up from the branch location).

 

Business person looking at this watch

USPS Hold Request by Phone

 

If you did not already know, the United States Postal Service has a toll-free customer service number. Along with ringing them for problems, queries, and requests, you can also start your hold mail delivery option from here too.

 

All you have to do is call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) and you will be connected with their customer service team. Do bear in mind that their opening hours are 8 in the morning to half 8 at night during the working week, and Saturday from 8 am until 6 in the evening. To be honest, we think this is amazing.

How Long Does It Take?

 

This is an excellent question, and depending on how far ahead you thought of this, the answer could delight you!

 

Once you have confirmed eligibility and are able to complete a hold mail request for your location, the post office can start the hold process within a day. Having said that, we would recommend all “to- be” travelers to complete a mail hold order at least 7 days prior to the day you leave. If you do happen to remember it last minute, then we would recommend you visit in person the local post office branch that is responsible for mail delivery to your address. This will ensure that you fill out the paper form properly and there are no mistakes that could delay your mail hold.

 

The inside of a post office building

How Long Will The Post Office Hold Mail?

 

The Post Office will hold your mail for up to 30 days. It is important to keep in mind that hold mail is not done for an infinite number of days, and if you exceed the 30 day period, they will forward your mail to a temporary address you listed when completing the form.

 

Depending on where you will be travelling to and how long you plan on being there, you can always select the option of receiving your mail at your new location. Of course there will be an additional fee associated with that, but it may be a good alternative if you need access to that mail urgently.

 

Virtual mailbox on a desktop & smart phone device

Stopping Mail Delivery: When Does It Resume?

 

You will be given the resume date (30 days from stopping your mail) when you apply for the US mail stop service so we can’t really give you a set in stone date or anything here. However, we do have some tips that will help you avoid any upsets on the day your post will continue.

 

The main thing is to be at home on this date. Don’t be at work or just arriving back after the holiday of a lifetime. Why? In all honesty, it is simply courteous to the mailman since your packet is probably far too large to fit inside your mailbox.

 

Depending on the area you live (be it an apartment block or the like) you would probably rather pick your held mail up in person. Well, we would suggest you do that anyway. This ensures you get your hands on all of it before someone else does.

 

If you do decide to pick it up yourself, make sure to bring a government approved identification document. You can take your driver’s license, non-driver’s ID card, federal or state-recognized tribal card, citizenship or naturalization certificate, armed forces card, uniformed services ID card, or permanent resident card.

 

What If You Want Your Mail Vacation Hold for More Than 30 Days?

 

Annoyingly, the post office will not hold your mail for more than 30 days. We understand this though as it would be quite challenging (not to mention a huge burden). But you do have an option here.

 

Instead of requesting the stop mail services, you can opt into the premium forwarding feature. With this, you get your mail sent to your temporary address every week. Of course, it comes with a price. Plus, it is more complicated than simply asking to cancel mail delivery but we will walk you through everything you need to know right now.

 

So, How Does It Work? And What Does It Actually Cost?

 

Step One: You need to make a United States Postal Service account. If you were thinking of using the hold US mail delivery service then you probably already have one of these.

 

Step Two: Enroll in the premium forwarding service using the USPS website. The form is easy and quick to fill out.

 

Step Three: If you are enrolling online like we are here, you will pay a fee of $17.10. However, the retail price is $18.65.

 

Step Four: You will pay $18.65 every week then to receive your mail.

 

Although that is the bare bones of it the service, there are some more details you need to know. Take a look below:

 

  • Your mail is packed up each Wednesday. You should receive your package within one to three business days thanks to the priority mail shipping you acquire as part of this service. However, it does depend on the distance.
  • Any priority mail express items will be automatically rerouted to your temporary address.
  • Priority mail items are either sent straight to you or are included in your weekly packet. It depends on which option will arrive sooner.
  • Any first class mail letters, packages, or parcels that don’t fit inside your packet each work will be sent separately. Thankfully, they don’t charge you any extra for this!

 

As you can tell, it is pretty useful if you are willing to pay the initial (and then recurring) fee.

 

How to Stop Mail: A Summary

 

Since we have been chatting now for quite a while, let us summarize everything we have discussed so it’s as easy as possible for you to put your mail delivery on hold.

 

In Person

 

  1. Go to your local post office branch.
  2. Ask for the form that will suspend mail delivery.
  3. Fill it in correctly. You can always ask if you need help or you’re unsure of what to write.
  4. Hand it into the employee behind the desk.
  5. Et voila! You’re all done and dusted.

 

Online

 

  1. Visit the United States Postal Service’s website (make sure it is the official one).
  2. Click “hold mail”.
  3. Fill in the form.
  4. And away you go!

 

By Phone

 

  1. Ring 1-800-ASK-USPS.
  2. Say that you need to file a request to “stop my mail”.
  3. And you are done!

 

And there you have it! You no longer have to scream “how do I stop my mail” into your mirror every morning before your vacation starts! Perfect.

 

Or is it? When you really think about it, there seem to be a lot of problems with this whole holding mail thing, doesn’t there? In fact, people have publicly announced their troubles with this surface. We’ve heard of everything going wrong including mailmen still delivering mail every day when the request was put in. This just isn’t on. Especially if you are on holiday for more than a long weekend!

 

So, is there another solution? Yup! Check it out.

A Better Alternative: The Virtual Mailbox

 

Time constraints and geographic limitations are not avoided when you complete a hold mail request with the USPS. Sometimes, you may find yourself needing to extend your overseas visit, or happen to travel to a place that is too far to consider direct mail forwarding from the US. In other cases, you may need access to important documents, while you are away.

 

The use of a Virtual Mailbox can come in handy in cases like this. You get to view all of your snail mail online, and even select from within your account one of the following options:

 

 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch! We are always happy to resolve any concerns, queries or requests.

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10 Things To Consider Before Choosing a Mail Forwarding Service

In this article, we are going to talk about mail forwarding.
Are you going to be a full-time RVer, moving to another country or embarking on an extended vacation? If that’s the case, getting your mail at your destination is important as you get your taxes, IRS notices, W2’s etc in the mail.
 
Choosing a professional mail forwarding company to handle your mail is a smart idea. Because it will help you get your mail on time and give you peace of mind. But given the many options out there, how do you choose a company that’s right for you?

There’s a lot that goes into making this kind of decision.

 

After all, the mail forwarding service you choose to take advantage of is going to be responsible for handling all of your mail from here on out. Important bills, important packages and parcels, sensitive documents and information – all of the things that the USPS would have handled for you are now going to be going through a separate organization.

 

This isn’t a decision you can make willy-nilly or on-the-fly.

 

But that’s why we have put together this in-depth guide.

 

Below we breakdown a couple of very important things to consider before choosing a mail forwarding service. You’re going to be inundated with options, all of them promising the moon and the stars when it comes to services, results, and benefits.

 

The only way to effectively break down those choices and find the one perfect for you is to think about the 10 elements highlighted in-depth below.

 

Ready to get right in to it?

 
Here’s a list of 10 questions we encourage everyone to ask when making that decision:

How to choose a mail forwarding company

1. How much does mail forwarding cost?

 

While the cost of a mail forwarding service should never be the primary reason you choose it over another, it is going to be a hugely influential part of your decision.

 

After all, taking advantage of the USPS services may not cost you anything (upfront, anyway). Plenty of folks have nothing more than the mailbox at the end of their driveway or attached to their front door, and are still able to send and receive mail without headache or hassle.

 

Making a jump from that “free” service provided by the USPS to one that charges a premium fee – sometimes as high as a few hundred dollars a month – can be jarring. Especially if that service you’re now taking advantage of doesn’t provide all the benefits and options you were expecting.

 

Definitely look into the price of mail forwarding options to better compare your choices, too.

 

Look into at least five different services and see how their monthly fees stack up against one another. See which services provide more value for the monthly charge, see which services come up woefully short, and compare these options in as much of an “apples to apples” kind of way as you can.

 

      • How much are you willing to spend for this service? Figure out your budget for the month.
      • Be aware of hidden fees or extra charges from different services.
      • Be realistic. Research the costs for these services: Membership fees, shipping costs, customers charges, fuel surcharges …  Depending on your needs and services, your budget can vary from $20/month to $100+/month.
      • Mail forwarding services can make it challenging for a precise price comparison. But here’s the price comparison table for your reference.

 

2. Can I forward my mail for free? Does it cost money to forward my mail?

 

There may even be mail forwarding solutions that offer free services you can take advantage of.

 

Before you jump on board, though, you’ll want to dig beneath the surface of these freebie offers.

 

You’ll need to make sure that these services are legitimate, these services are trustworthy, and that these services aren’t just an effort to sell you on premium options later down the line.

 

      • Is low cost the most important factor? Or are you willing to pay a little bit more for a faster turnaround and reliability?
      • Do you just want your mail automatically shipped on a regular basis? Would you prefer to hold the mail until you want to ship?  Would you prefer to have your individual letters scanned to read so you don’t have to pay for shipping?
      • Take time to think about the MANY services forwarding companies offer and figure out what applies to you.

 

3. Is the company reliable?

 

Company reputation is everything in this industry.

 

We highlighted this a moment ago, but you are going to be trusting your new mail forwarding service with some pretty sensitive information. Everything sent through the mail is personal and private and you have to be 100% certain that your new mail forwarding operation respects that across the board.

 

Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of operations in this space are reputable and reliable. Even still, you want to do your research and due diligence to confirm this to be the case before you sign on the dotted line.

 

Looking to the reputation that these companies have with other customers and clients but also look into the reputation they have throughout the industry. A little bit of research online goes a long way.

 

      • Believe me. You don’t want to miss your next tax notice or check. That’s why when it comes to mail forwarding, most people seek the best bang for their buck, rather than the cheapest service. Reliability matters.
      • Read up on the various companies. Google their name as many ways as you can think of. Examples of what you would search include: Company customer reviews, company customer service reviews, company security, company complaints, company hidden fees, company facebook etc. Research is your best friend when making decisions like these.
      • Here are some trusted review platforms in the industry: TrustPilot, Google, and BBB. Be sure to read the company’s responses to reviews as well.

Green check mark

 

4. What can and cannot be sent internationally?

 

Paying for special mail forwarding services won’t be worth that much if you’re not able to send or receive packages and parcels to destinations all over the world the way you might have with the USPS, UPS, FedEx, or a similar service.

 

All mail forwarding organizations will have different rules and regulations governing what they are able or willing to send to their clients internationally. It’s not a bad idea to have a look at this list before you sign up.

 

Nobody wants to find out that their new premium mail forwarding service isn’t able to accommodate their needs when they are overseas. This is especially important for those expatriates or international travelers that want to get their mail while hopping from one global destination to another.

 

      • Moving to another country? Then find out what can’t be shipped internationally. It’s so easy to go ahead and purchase products that you were used to, back home. However, what is deemed “normal” where you’re from, may not even be allowed to the new country you call home. It would be a pity to pay for shipping and declarations only to have to abandon the package or pay again to have it returned!
      • Different countries can have different regulations. Read about your country here.

 

5. What is the exchange rate?

 

Whenever possible you want to make the most of the US dollar, the “universal standard” of currency pretty much everywhere on the planet.

 

If possible, you want to find global destinations that help you stretch your buying power just by capitalizing on the exchange rate in that particular part of the world.

 

There are mobile applications and plenty of websites out there to help you keep on top of this critical information. You might even be able to plan your international itinerary around maximizing your money, saving a pile of cash while enjoying life in the lap of luxury at the same time!

 

      • If you are moving internationally, you may find that your dollar goes a lot further where you are now, freeing up some room in your budget. That means, you will have more options for the company you want to work with.

 

Currency exchange from Euro to Pound

 

6. What will you be forwarding?

 

The packages, parcels, envelopes, and boxes you expect to be forwarding on a regular basis will inform your decision to choose one mail forwarding service over another.

 

If all you need to do are periodic “mail drops” of cards, letters, and envelopes of a more personal nature every now and again security and handling of sensitive information may not be paramount. It’ll always be important, but it might not be the number one factor you have to consider.

 

If, on the other hand, you expect to run your business internationally with the help of this mail forwarding service the exact opposite is true. You’ll need to pick a company that is secure, safe, and speedy – not to mention reliable – to get you your mail when you need it.

 

      • Does the thought of sending sensitive tax documents overseas make you a bit uneasy? Understandable. Do you receive checks through the mail? What about credit cards?
      • Back to the research; how successful is the company’s delivery rate? Are they trustworthy? Do they have any hidden fees that will pop up at time of shipping? Could you trust the company to NOT tamper with items of that nature? These are all important questions to ask yourself.

 

7. Will the service allow you to use their address for billing?

 

Some of the best mail forwarding services provide access to “street addresses” you can use as a billing address domestically as well as overseas.

 

The ability to avoid using a PO Box address while still enjoying the anonymity and security that these kinds of street addresses provide is a big reason people moved to these kinds of services to begin with.

 

If your company does offer a street address you can use be sure that you are taking advantage of it.

 

      • Though you may be moving, your bills still need to be sent to a US address. Does the forwarding company provide PO boxes or real street addresses? It’s important to understand, that you can only have your bills sent to a street address, not a PO box. Is receiving bills via mail important to you?

 

8. How is their customer service?

 

No mail forwarding service is perfect in the odds are you’ll probably have to contact customer service at some point in time.

 

Make sure that those conversations will be smooth and easy to navigate by choosing a mail forwarding company that as a top-tier customer service department you know you can trust!

 

      • If an issue arises, will it be resolved immediately, in a timely manner, or at the company’s leisure? If you send an email, will it be answered? If you need immediate assistance, do they offer live chat, and is it with a person or a robot?
      • Research! Check the company’s website, test out their email and chat services. See how quickly you get a response.

 

Customer service representative on the phone

 

9. What does the service require from me?

 

      • Find out what documents you need to submit. Then ask yourself; what is the purpose of the requirements? Why isn’t a simple change of address through USPS enough? If you need all of this information from me, how do I know my identity is private and secured in your system?
      • Ask as many questions as you can think of. All the why’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, what if’s, and maybe’s! Ultimately this is a very important decision to be made, don’t make it in haste!

 

10. Why is a 1583 form necessary for a mail forwarding company?

 

      • Essentially the 1583 form is for your protection. Because, legally, a mail forwarding company cannot release your mail without the form. Therefore, USPS will NOT allow them to if they don’t have your “permission”.
      • The form must be notarized as well. That is another security measure that protects your identity. Think about it; your mail could be sent anywhere!!! However, not just ANYBODY can pick it up. Which means, it’s one less potential headache being avoided.

Sample of a 1583 form

When researching a mail forwarding company, don’t hesitate to voice your questions and concerns. What works for one person might not work for you. What one company offers as part of their package pricing may not apply to you. There are so many options out there for mail forwarding services. Choosing which one is the right one for you won’t be an easy task. Compare and contrast the companies and figure out which one suits you best!

 

Our top recommended service that our readers absolutely love, can help you in choosing the best plan for you!

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Hottest Monthly Subscription Boxes That Ship Internationally!

Are you looking for one-of-a kind gift, bespoke items that are available only to those in the know? Want to throw a Tapas party with everything imported from Spain? Or delight your geek kiddo with a hands on science kit that is not found in regular stores?

Look no further. We have a solution for you: Subscription Boxes from the US. If you are wondering what a subscription box is- it is a recurring box that comes on a scheduled basis (weekly, monthly, every 3 months etc.) filled with items specifically catered to the subscription or to your tastes. There’s a box for everyone: kids, teens, adults, parents, nerds, beauty gurus, fur babies the list goes on! Here’s a look at a few of our favorites!