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Managing Mail when traveling
Old 04-21-2011, 11:44 AM   #1
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Managing Mail when traveling

Looking to those who travel to see how you manage your mail. We know that you can put mail on hold and have it delivered when you return. But we plan to be gone abpout 2 weeks, home for a week, and then gone agian for 2, repeating this pattern. Not sure the post office will accomodate all that. Anyone try mail forwarding once a week?

We pay everything online that we can- and get those bills online,but also get and pay the bills for MIL and FIL.

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:49 AM   #2
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On 2 week or less trips I just put in a hold mail card with the local PO and since my returns are, ideally, flexible I put "will pick up on return" on the card.
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:09 PM   #3
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The PO is remarkably accommodating, in my experience.
If you have "pick up on return" checked, you could pick it up, but tell them to keep holding it and resume delivery when you tell them you're ready for that.
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
On 2 week or less trips I just put in a hold mail card with the local PO and since my returns are, ideally, flexible I put "will pick up on return" on the card.
Surprisingly the post office allows you to place holds online these days, no need to go to the post office.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
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That is true, but we are lucky to have a small town PO up north - by going in Alex gave me the local PO phone # and I can just call him to restart delivery or if we end up being gone over 6 months and need to reset the forwarding to La Quinta I can just give him a call. Down here in LQ snowbird heaven it's pretty regimented - anticipate that forwarding to Oregon will not be as simple and will be more by the book. only. Think you are only allowed a 6 month hold, which can make things tricky if you split 7-5.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:04 PM   #6
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Pickup is a great idea we had not thought of! Thank you for that...
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:13 PM   #7
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I do the mail on hold and pick up when return often. Sometimes I've put the mail on hold for as long as 30 days (the max allowed on the hold mail card). But even if I show up after 30 days they still keep the mail on hold.

There is the mail forwarding option that I've tried once. You sign up and leave an address you're at, then the post office collects the mail you've accumulated and ship that priority mail to you once a week. You can choose a regular address (such as a friend or relative) or a P.O. Box. This service is not free...about $12 or so a week.

I prefer just to keep the mail on hold until I return since almost all my bills I access online anyhow.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:27 PM   #8
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I've used the on-line method many times to put mail on hold, then only need to go to the post office to pick it up on return.

For long trips ( > 4 weeks) we have our son pick up the mail periodically and check it for us. We have almost everything on-line these days but still get surprises. eg 2 weeks ago DW got a jury summons and our son called in on our behalf to explain we were out of the country. Probably nothing would have happened anyway.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:40 PM   #9
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Be aware that the effectiveness of the on-line mail hold option varies by the competency of your local Post Office. Ours doesn't appear to know what a computer is, much less be able to use it to conduct business. I came to that conclusion after doing a computer mail 'hold' for a one week vacation, only to return to find our box stuffed with mail. The PO's response when I complained: "You should have called..."
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:43 PM   #10
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When my wife and I used to travel we just had our neighbor get our mail and hold it until we got back.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:45 PM   #11
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When my wife and I used to travel we just had our neighbor get our mail and hold it until we got back.
After our less than satisfactory PO experience that's the way we decided to go as well.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:50 PM   #12
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Be aware that the effectiveness of the on-line mail hold option varies by the competency of your local Post Office. Ours doesn't appear to know what a computer is, much less be able to use it to conduct business. I came to that conclusion after doing a computer mail 'hold' for a one week vacation, only to return to find our box stuffed with mail. The PO's response when I complained: "You should have called..."
Whoa. This is good to know, thanks for the post. They've been great here locally, and I've used the online route quite a bit for business and personal travel, but I expect to move elsewhere and will remember to check this out.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:32 PM   #13
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My experience with having the PO hold and then deliver my mail has been less than positive.
A couple years ago I was gone for a week and put a hold on my mail asking that it be delivered on a specific day. I came back to no mail on the specific day and went to the PO to find out why and there were no answers. The next day a lady drove by and stopped to hand my entire weeks worth of mail to me. The PO had delivered my mail to her along with her held mail. I was pretty ticked about this.
A few months ago I put a hold on the mail for a few days and returned a day early only to find my mailbox full of mail. They apparently had not held my mail.
My trust level is pretty low here.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #14
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Looking to those who travel to see how you manage your mail. We know that you can put mail on hold and have it delivered when you return. But we plan to be gone abpout 2 weeks, home for a week, and then gone agian for 2, repeating this pattern. Not sure the post office will accomodate all that. Anyone try mail forwarding once a week?

We pay everything online that we can- and get those bills online,but also get and pay the bills for MIL and FIL.

Any suggestions?
The post office will do a 2 week off, 1 week on, 2 week off, no problem. Go online to USPS.com and look for mail hold. When I travel longer, I forward my mail to my DD and she holds it for me.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #15
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Do I just have low expectations? Given everybody getting mail six days a week it just doesn't surprise me when a request for something different than the rest of the year gets flubbed. Shoot - I'm astounded they get most of it right for $0.41 a letter and just amazed that the stuff forwarded daily from up north gets down south with a new address sticker applied - and at no extra cost!
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:45 PM   #16
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We live in a university town so the PO is pretty accustomed to dealing with forwarding and holds. That being said, I certainly encourage you make the trip in person and physically hand the card with your hold instructions to person at the desk. One time we gave the card to our carrier who apparently kept it in his truck for a week as we had mail in our box left for the first part of our trip and the rest at the PO when apparently he figured out why he could not put anymore mail in the box. :-(.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:14 PM   #17
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Be aware that the effectiveness of the on-line mail hold option varies by the competency of your local Post Office. Ours doesn't appear to know what a computer is, much less be able to use it to conduct business. I came to that conclusion after doing a computer mail 'hold' for a one week vacation, only to return to find our box stuffed with mail. The PO's response when I complained: "You should have called..."
"I am calling to tell you to check your email."
Thanks for the heads up. I live out in the sticks. I will probably stick with the fill out the card method.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:23 PM   #18
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We use the post office hold function. but we use the card method as opposed to the electronic one, so our individual postman sees it and is accouontable for it. Seems to work okay. But we also feel the need to ask a neighbor to check the box every few days. And to check the porch for packages, and to check the doors for stuffers, and to the check the driveway for newpapers, etc. Sometimes we feel a bit guilty about asking the neighbors, since they either don't travel, or don't ask us when they are gone, but we buy them a little gift from where ever we were, so we hope that satisfies the "neighborly thing to do" rule.
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