Who's ready to be homeless?
Besides figuring out where you're going, getting rid of your place, turning off the utilities, what to do with those belongings, it turns out the mail problem is a... problem? Here's how to make sure snail mail gets sent to the right place or at least read, even if you're hopping around place to place.
There's something for everyone if you're going on a sabbatical, taking an extremely long vacation, alternating between two places, or giving up your home entirely (eek!).
Ready to leave yet?
Set up mail forwarding with USPS
Mail forwarding isn't just for moving: You can still use it while you're figuring out your next place and ask for a temporary change-of-address.
The best part is you can ask USPS to further extend mail forwarding, or change the mail forwarding address later. There are so many options for extending your mid-life crisis these days!
The minimum length for filing a temporary Change-of-Address is 15 days. The initial forwarding period for this type is restricted to 6 months but can be extended up to 1 year. (That should give you enough time to figure things out, no?)
Of course, it is possible to make it a permanent change later down the road.
Definitely opt for the online option for ease: How you set up mail forwarding will determine how you make changes later. For instance, if you request it at the post office, you will have to do it again that way for any further requests.
It doesn't get more effective than this.
Have packages held while you're on "vacation"
Nobody likes missing or stolen packages. If you're not bouncing from your place completely yet, this is an option.
Most mail delivery carriers, including FedEx, UPS, and USPS all have some type of package hold service available if you know you'll be gone.
Each carrier has their own policy and procedure, though. For more information and for the sake of brevity, check out this in-depth guide on how to do it.
Get mail and packages delivered to the hotel
This isn't a permanent solution, though if you need something in a pinch, this might be a quick and dirty way to get ahold of something with advance planning.
If you can get the timing right.
Having the hotel or the place you're staying handle it is usually not a problem in our experience, though we always suggest calling and/or emailing the hotel to let them know ahead of time, and to be on the lookout for a package.
By the way, Amazon Prime also does work overseas, though we'd allot a few days' breathing room to ensure it will be there when you need it.
Hire a virtual mail service
It turns out there are quite a few mail services out there like Earth Class Mail and Traveling Mailbox that will check snail mail, scan it online and then will handle any logistics once you're not physically present to deal with any issues.
As an added bonus, some of these places will even forward mail internationally, deposit checks (that's extra, of course) and hold physical mail for a time.
Prices ranges from free all the way up to $100 per month, so expect to pay for a decent service. On average, the price for a plan hovered around $38.53 per month the last time that we did the price comparison.
For more information, check out this piece when we compared 12(!) different types of plans from a couple of companies for the best option.