How many times has this happened to you? You’re off on an adventurous trip that your family’s been planning for months. The weather is perfect, the kids are getting along, and you’re getting more social media post traction than you’ve ever had in your life.
Then you return home.
In all your excitement, you forgot to make a mail plan!
Now, instead of coming home to a welcoming porch, you’re faced with one of two letdowns:
Your mail is stuffed every which way into your mailbox with sensitive bills crumpled beyond repair.
Your mail is gone—you’ve become another all-too-common victim of mail theft.
Luckily, you never have to end a trip like that again. Here are four ways to keep your mail safe the next time you head out on your travels:
1. Hold Your Mail
Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with the tried and true! The USPS motto reads: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” It turns out, we can now add “vacationing citizens” to that list of surmountable challenges.
If you live near a local Post Officeand you’re headed out of town, you can sign up to use the USPS Hold Mail® service. This practical service keeps your mail in a secure storage location in the post office for up to 30 days. When you return from your glamorous travels, you can simply swing by and load up your trunk with a month’s worth of packages and letters.
Not worried about standard mail, but concerned about specific packages? No problem. You can also register for a holding period and then tell your loved ones to send packages marked as “hold for pickup.” That way, your standard mail will be delivered to your mailbox as normal, but any highly anticipated items or valuables will stay safe and sound at the Post Office until your return.
The one downside to the holding method? Not every address lives in the radius of a Post Office large enough to host a holding program—so best to check your options before the last minute!
2. Ask A Neighbor
If you’re lucky enough to live in a tight community and have a good relationship with your neighbors, they’re a great resource for keeping your mail safe. Not only will your mail remain within walking distance in a trusted house, but your neighbors can also act as security. People in a community generally recognize familiar faces, which makes them perfect candidates for sussing out potential mail thieves.
New to your area? That’s okay! Not everyone makes friends right away. Instead, you can try asking a nearby friend or family member to house sit. Your mail gets handled and your loved one gets a staycation away from home—it’s a win-win! Worst case scenario, if no one’s available and your trip is short, you can always use your loved one’s address for mail forwarding. Just be sure to check with them first—holiday meals might get a little awkward if your brother accidentally tosses $2,000-worth of 4-terabyte memory cards you were eagerly anticipating.
If using friends, family, or neighbors, just be sure to emphasize that they take good care of your keys—and your mailbox key in particular. If you live in an apartment, many of the building mailbox keys are specialty keys that you can’t easily copy at a locksmith. So before handing your keys over to someone, it’s smart to create a backup!
3. Rent A Post Office Box
Thanks to blockbuster films, most people imagine PO Boxes as top-secret locations for anonymous drop-offs or police run-arounds. Disappointingly—but luckily—they’re actually very commonplace tools for mail handling.
In general, PO Boxes simply serve as mailboxes without an address. Some people or businesses use them long-term for organization, but the average Joe can also rent one for a quick vacation, business trip, or…secret mission.
Regardless of your purpose, the process of renting a PO BoxTM is very straightforward. All you’ll need to do is hop on over to the USPS PO Box site, apply online, pick up the keys, and go on your merry way. They even offer different sizes depending on what you’re expecting to receive while you’re gone. Like their mail-holding service, however, not all sizes are available at all USPS locations. Plus, some locations may have all PO Boxes rented out already, so always research with plenty of time to make an alternative plan!
4. Use A Virtual Mailbox or Mail Forwarding Service
Modern travelers deserve modern mail solutions! Whether you’re a traveler, an RVer, an expat, or a business, the most secure way to keep your mail safe is through a virtual mailbox or mail-forwarding service.
Using Traveling Mailbox is like taking your home mailbox along in your suitcase. Every day, we’ll scan each and every piece of your mail and send you pictures. From there, you have full control. You can send instructions to our team to toss junk mail, open time-sensitive bills, and even deposit checks on your behalf. We’ll also hold on to any packages or letters you want and keep them safe for when you return.
Need your mail now? No problem at all. We also offer mail-forwarding services to anywhere your adventures take you. You can forward all of your mail or just the essentials. It’s all about putting you in control of your mailbox so that you can enjoy a stress-free trip.
With mail theft on the rise and travel more expensive than ever, you don’t need anything else to worry about when planning your vacations. Try Traveling Mailbox today and experience how reliable mail security can make that beach-side piña colada taste even sweeter.