When you used to go on vacation, it was easy to put a hold on your mail delivery. You just told your friendly U.S. Postal Service mail carrier that you’d be away and could they hold the mail until you return next Monday. Problem solved. Personally, we just left a cardboard box under our mailbox inside our screened-in porch, since our mail carrier walked his route, door to door. Things aren’t that simple anymore. We hardly see our mail carrier because the mailbox is located five houses away from us and is for the twenty houses on our street.
In addition, not only do you need to alert the Post Office but what about those packages you’re expecting from UPS or FedEx, or your Amazon deliveries?
Here’s a guide to walk you through how to hold or redirect deliveries for when you’re out of town.
First off, I want to mention that it’s really easy to make a free account with all of the delivery services (USPS, UPS and FedEx). Doing so will make the management of your deliveries much easier.
US Postal Service
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS or just the Post Office) makes it easy to put a hold on your mail deliveries while you’re away. I do this for any trip where we’re going to be away for more than a long weekend.
One newer change is that the Post Office now requires you to create a USPS.com account and verify your identity to put a hold on your mail. Information about the new requirements can be found on this website.
Once you do, you just need to do a few clicks to put a hold on your mail. Since I already have a verified USPS account, I’ve been known to do this the day before we leave for a trip. The Post Office warns that verifying your identity can take up to a week so if you don’t have an account, better to do it now than wait for the last minute.
Once all of the prep work is done, the only things you need to enter are the dates you want your mail held and whether you’ll pick up the mail from the post office or if they should deliver it as one large clump when you return. Imagine the stack of mail waiting when we returned from Australia and Japan!
This hold will work for all of your regular mail, including junk mail, and any USPS delivered packages received while you are away.
But not everything is delivered by the post office and you don’t always know which delivery service you might be receiving a package from while you’re away. So why not sign up for the other services as well.
United Parcel Service (UPS)
If you receive packages shipped through UPS, you should sign up for UPS My Choice.
This came in handy for us during our last trip since an item we had on backorder came back into stock and shipped the day after we left. Knowing this might be a possibility, I adjusted our settings to deliver any packages while we were away to the local UPS Store. It forwarded automatically and they held the package until we returned. This service is also provided free of charge.
Federal Express (FedEx)
In order to use any of the FedEx shipping options, you’ll need to sign up for a free FedEx account. Once you have, you can log into the FedEx Delivery Manager website.
You can log into the website and request your deliveries be suspended until you return. But what if you forgot to sign up before the package was delivered?
You can send a package to a different location or set to pick up at a FedEx store but not all of these options are free so it pays to hold your packages before you leave.
The one mind-boggling thing about shipments from Amazon.com is you’re never really sure who is going to be delivering your package. Will it come via USPS or UPS? Or will it be some random dude that drives up to your house and leaves a package by your garage? (apparently, that’s a valid delivery method in Florida)
While Amazon doesn’t allow you to hold or redirect packages once they’re shipped, there is one option available if you need to order something while you’re out of town. Amazon Lockers
Once an item is delivered to an Amazon Locker, it needs to be picked up within three days, so no long term storage. But if you need to order something for when you get home and don’t want it sitting outside waiting to be stolen, this might be a good option for you.
Since we knew we might be getting a package delivered while we were away, but didn’t know which delivery service would be shipping the item, I put a hold on our deliveries with all three services (we just didn’t order anything from Amazon while we were away).
Two days into our trip, I received a UPS notification that a package was on its way to our house. Just like was supposed to happen, the package was redirected to the UPS Store that I designated and we picked it up once we returned home. It was just that easy.
It might take a few minutes to set up each account but once you do that, putting a hold on your mail while you’re out of town might be just as easy as it used to be when all you needed to do was to tell your mail carrier.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary