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Old 01-23-2012, 09:05 PM   #1
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How do you handle mail?

How do folks who spend long periods, up to several months, away from home traveling, with their Airstreams, handle mail?
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:08 PM   #2
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for full-timers, there are mail services such as the one from Escapees that will hold/forward/open-on-request your snailmail that you have sent to your service address.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:59 AM   #3
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We are gone up to 12 weeks at a time and have first-class mail forwarded to my son, who also keeps a watch on our house.

Everything else is held until we return.

We tried having mail forwarded to us at specific locations but, because we don't stay in one place long, it at times was difficult and not timely to get mail in places like Beulah, WY. Priority mail could take 7-10 days.


Maggie
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:42 AM   #4
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Canada Mail Forward

To forward mail with Canada Post, visit their website for all info:
Summary below.

"At least two weeks before your move, go to Canada Post & complete a Redirection of Mail Service.
Pay required fee.
If you want, you can use Change of Address cards for those few regular correspondents that you require timely service from.
If you still want your mail redirected after six months, go to a postal outlet and renew the service before the six months is up.
Two pieces of ID are required.
Mail can be redirected to any address in Canada, United States, or International."

We usually have a neighbour or family member collect our mail at the box, as we find it difficult to be gone for more than 60 days.
As most bills are prepaid, it is easy to keep current when wi-fi is available.
Dave
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
for full-timers, there are mail services such as the one from Escapees that will hold/forward/open-on-request your snailmail that you have sent to your service address.
We are fulltimers, and we use Escapees and can say that it works very well...you basically maintain an account with them with like $25 in it, and when we're in a place for a while (like a week or so) we'll either call them or go to their website and put in the forwarding address (99% of the time it's simply General Delivery to the local post office... occasionally to the campground we're staying at or friends/relatives).

I assume the other services are similar, but we don't have personal experience outside of Escapees, but I can say that we love their service (and customer service) and wouldn't dream of changing to a different provider.
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:39 PM   #6
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We have all our normal bills set up for electronic billing and paying online. The few regular bills that we can't do that with we estimate and pay ahead. A friend picks up our mail and if something looks like it needs attention we have them open it, scan it, and send it as an e mail attachment. Other than tax forms this time of year there is really little in that huge pile of paper that needs attention.
If needed we can have some one forward the mail to general delivery some where we are stopping but we haven't done that in years as the electronic stuff has made life much simpler.

One caution, Don't get your mail forwarded to Chicken Alaska if you want it in a timely manner.
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:57 PM   #7
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I thought one couldn't do General Delivery at post offices any more?? Really, you can??!!

Someone told us when we first retired in 07 that this is no longer allowed due to the post-9/11 laws, needing to verify identiites and who is actually sending/receiving mail.


Maggie
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by doug&maggie View Post
I thought one couldn't do General Delivery at post offices any more?? Really, you can??!!

Someone told us when we first retired in 07 that this is no longer allowed due to the post-9/11 laws, needing to verify identiites and who is actually sending/receiving mail.


Maggie
It probably wouldn't hurt to check the post office website www.usps.gov. I think not all offices will except it but we have used general delivery at a small post office in FL. (Umatilla) to receive medicine as recently as 2 or 3 years ago. Can't remember if any ID was required. I do remember checking the web site first for info.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doug&maggie View Post
I thought one couldn't do General Delivery at post offices any more?? Really, you can??!!

Someone told us when we first retired in 07 that this is no longer allowed due to the post-9/11 laws, needing to verify identiites and who is actually sending/receiving mail.


Maggie
not all post offices accept general delivery.. you have to check online or call ahead, but yes they still do it.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:29 PM   #10
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not all post offices accept general delivery.. you have to check online or call ahead, but yes they still do it.
Furthermore, typically it's only the "main" post office that will do it, so if you're in a small town, it's usually not an issue -- but if the place that you're staying has more than one office, then you likely will have to call around to find the one that will accept it. Also, I'm always asked for my ID when I come to pick up my mail.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:09 AM   #11
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most do, we recently picked mail at the USPO in Boulder City, NV...little places like Charleston< AR....some ask for ID....some do not....
but i generally call ahead and confirm that they do....
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:02 AM   #12
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We have a company called Mail Depot - and there are franchises including the UPS Store - that will accept and forward mail to you.

One new service OUR store provides is that with your authorization we will open and scan your mail, then e-mail it to you. It's handy for bills, birthday cards, etc., but most people just want us to hold their junk mail.

We do physically forward to many customers - but usually you'll call in on a Monday and say "Forward to General Delivery in ............ and you give us the address you'll be at on Thursday or Friday.

As for medications, etc. ASK your doctor to write you a 3 month supply on the Rx so you don't need refills as often - and check with your drugstore. If it's a regional or nationwide chain, they can probably fill a Rx at any of their outlets.

Paula
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:40 PM   #13
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Most of our full-timers in the summertime use a combination of Escapees forwarding and Internet bill-paying. The important ones are the ones that rely on the mail to send medications.

Lynn
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:30 PM   #14
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Setting up payments through a credit card or checking account solves a lot of problems when traveling to remote places. A bill payment send from northern Canada can take a week or ten days to reach the creditor and that can be a disaster of fees if it doesn't get there in time. I imagine sending a letter from Chicken isn't very fast either, but they do have a post office there.

Some bills may be hard to pay through a company system. Our landline phone co. had a system to pay by credit card. They changed the system and it didn't work anymore. After hours of trying to solve this, we requested them to send a paper bill and we'd pay it that way. At some point, we'll have to solve it. We have made copies of paper bills and brought them with us to use for the next month's bill and just change the dates and mail it.

Getting credit card statements can be done online so you can check for bad charges and find out what you owe. I can only remember two bad charges in the past decade or more. Both were when we were on trips. One seemed to be a simple mistake of a merchant punching in the wrong credit card number in southern Cal.; the other was definitely a case of someone stealing our number, probably at a lodging on Vancouver Is. It is a pain to deal with these, but the sooner you know it, the better. Credit card companies may have a fairly short time to protect a bad charge. We pay one card by telephone because we can do it easily through our small town bank ("Hi Connie, pay my credit card please; how are you? blah, blah"); the other I pay on the internet. There is about a 3 week period to pay and most people can make a connection in that amount of time.

Meds are a problem. Scripts I get through Medicare Part D mean calling someone at the insurer and explaining that I will be out of town for 2 months and I need a refill before I leave. The insurers won't usually send you the meds until several weeks before you need them lest they somehow lose a few bucks. Once you contact someone, you may have to wait for a vacation approval and get a call back. It feels like the insurer has the right to approve or disapprove your vacation. You have to think way ahead on this.

If you get meds from Canada, my experience is they will send you renewals if you ask; all they care about is they get paid. Delivery may take as much as a month because they come from far away where drug prices aren't as high.

Small town post offices are usually much easier to deal with and less bureaucratic. But we were informed a while back that after some period of time (maybe a month) they would not hold the mail, so someone had to come and pick it up. Actually that is good because you can find out if anything comes you absolutely need to know about like getting sued, a truck recall, etc.

Gene
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