Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Getting Mail on the Road

Any traveler away from their home base for an extended period of time has several issues which must be resolved for the time they are away. One of those issues is mail. For travelers away for only a month or two, they may have the post office hold their mail or perhaps have a neighbor, friend, or relative collect it for them. For those travelers away for longer periods of time might consider other options. We have known people who spend 6 months away from their home and have their mail forwarded by their home post office to a PO Box in the community where they vacation each year. Some post offices accept mail for General Delivery and will hold that mail for short periods of time.

Mail for the full time traveler is a big issue, but one that has several options for solving. There are mail forwarding services such as UPS Stores, Escapees RV Club, Good Sam Club, and others. These services will collect your mail and send it to you upon request. The draw back with using one of these services is that you must change you mailing address on any mail you want them to receive. If you still own a home and go back there periodically, you might not want to change your mailing address. Many of these companies have very good reputations and offer more services than just mail forwarding.

For full time travelers who no longer have real estate, and thus no mailing address, the problem of mail looms large. Many full timers use mail forwarding services, but they go one step further. They change their state of residency to the state in which the mail forwarding service is located. For example, Escapees RV Club is located in Texas so those full timers using Escapees change their state of residency to Texas. They get Texas drivers licenses, car tags, and register to vote in Texas.

Some full time travelers use family or friends to take care of their mail. They change their residency to the home of a son or daughter, for example.

For us, since Gene is still employed, we have changed our residency to his office address. Every couple of weeks, he calls the office and has a conversation that sounds like this, “send that...trash that....send that if there is room”. He has supplied the office with a number of prepaid, flat rate mailing envelopes. This works great for all of our mail. However, we have experienced a snag. His office has a non-residential address. This is not allowed for voter registration. We have to have a different address for that. When we tried to get one of those coupons for the digital television converter box the government was giving away, we were denied because we did not have a residential mailing address.

When travelers want their mail, they simply have the mail forwarding services, family, friends, or office forward their mail to the campground where they are located. We have been in many campgrounds and have found that most accept incoming mail for campers. One campground we were in even brought it to our Montana when it arrived. Can’t beat that and it is always exciting when the mail comes.

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