Whether you have already hit the open road or are about to, that freedom takes a lot of planning. Even after shedding the “normal” day-to-day schedule and belongings, you cannot completely untether yourself from the mail. You can certainly get a lot of bills changed to online, but you still must have a mailing address for important documents and mail.
Finding the right mail solution may seem complicated at first, but once you evaluate your needs, the decisions tend to become much clearer. RVing full-time compared to traveling seasonally, for example, can be the difference between needing a residential address or just a mailing address.
Did you just break out into a cold sweat? Have no fear! We will walk you through some common considerations to help you choose what’s right for you.
Part-timers or Seasonal
If you travel in your RV on a part-time or seasonal basis, you will only need a temporary solution for your mail since you probably still have a residential address for your mail. The United States Postal Service offers simple, straightforward options you can consider:
- USPS Hold Mail Service – USPS will hold your mail at your local post office for up to 30 days. For adventures lasting more than 30 days, you will want to consider a mail forwarding service.
- You may also be eligible for Informed Delivery which will allow you to hold your mail as well as see previews of incoming letter-sized mail and the delivery status of packages.
- USPS Premium Forwarding Services – Offering both premium Residential and Commercial services, your mail is packed up at your local Post Office and forwarded weekly by Priority Mail. For the residential service, keep in mind that it’s:
- Delivered Weekly
- There is a one-time enrollment fee plus weekly shipment fee(s)
- Shipped Priority Mail
If you reside in your RV full-time and now live by the motto “Home is where you park it”, then you need a more long-term solution. You might also need a residential/domicile address for things like identification or other important documents that will not allow you to use a mailbox address.
In our day-to-day lives, we may use some of these terms interchangeably, but when it comes to the mail there are differences when discussing residential, domicile, and mailing addresses.
- Domicile and Residential – While there are similarities, a domicile address and a residential address are not necessarily the same. For example, you can have a residence in more than one state, but only one of them can be your domicile and “tax home”. Think of it this way: a “Residence” can be temporary while a “Domicile” is your permanent home and what ties you to a specific state. You’ll want to consider your options carefully when choosing a domicile state because it will impact things like taxes, insurance, vehicle registration, voting, and even divorce if that RV starts feeling smaller by the day.
- Mailing – Mail services provide a mailbox number (e.g. 123 Main street, Box 555). This is an address where either a person or business may choose to receive mail, but it can be different from the address they work or live at.
The best way to start figuring this out is to make a list of all your important documents, bills, and various obligations. Then, go through the list and determine whether each requires a residential, domicile, or mailing address.
Picking the right mail service
After thinking through your travel plan and address requirements you will need to find a mail service that works best for you. Here are a couple of examples of paid mail services with considerations to keep in mind.
- Traditional Mailbox Store — Something like this is generally a “mailing” address at a UPS Store or similar service. You can have packages and mail delivered to your box, but when you want your mail you would have to call them, and ask them to collect your mail and/or packages and send them to you. With this type of setup, you will pay fees each time they ship it to you in addition to the monthly or annual fee for the mailbox itself.
- RV Mail/Mail Forwarding services — There are a few choices out there to be sure, so you will want to compare features and fees. Keep your needs, travel style, and budget in mind when reviewing all the mail services out there to help you make a selection. (Of course, we hope you’ll consider using Kamper Mail for your mail forwarding needs!)
You’re all set up. Now, what?
Once you have your mail service figured out and set up, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind on the road:
- Most RV parks include instructions in their guest packets on how to get your mail while you are there. If you’re allowed to receive mail at the RV park, it will usually go to their main office at the campground. Be sure to include your space number so that they know you’re a guest and where you are located. Do not assume, however, that you’re allowed to get mail there. If there is not any information provided to you when you check in, always double-check with the office staff.
- Receiving mail and receiving packages are not the same. A campground or RV park may let you get Amazon purchases delivered but they might not allow forwarded envelopes. You should always confirm what they allow before having anything sent.
Whether you are planning out your future adventure or you’re already on the road and refining your process, we hope this helped clear up some confusion and stress. Safe travels, and here’s to hoping the mail you do receive is nothing but good news!
Our guest blogger is from KamperMail, a modern mail service founded by former full-time RVers who understand the needs of nomads of all types. Their service offers no hidden fees and lower costs without the need to have postal balances. Brought to you by the same folks who run KamperJobs, these services rely on modern technology to make life on the road easier. Visit their website for more mailing tips or you can contact them at email@example.com or call with questions to 575-800-5524.