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An RV Mail Service!! That is the answer to the first question we get when we talk about full timing with people. To be honest, I would be happy to never get any mail. It becomes clutter, and we already have enough of that. But, until electronic means make it obsolete, we must still deal with mail. A lot of folks we know have their adult children take care of sending their mail to them. This is fine, but they are busy and sometimes the mail is a low priority for them. It’s a hassle to package it and go to the post office, send it, and pay the postage.
When we started on the road from Florida, we used a Mailboxes, Etc., http://www.mbe.com/ for forwarding our First Class mail. This worked out fairly well, but there were problems with “junk” mail and the service was comparatively expensive. Mailboxes, Etc. has since been bought by United Parcel Service and things may be better now. Since that time, we are convinced that dedicated mail forwarding services are the best solution to getting your mail on the road. A recent Google check of “mail forwarding” yielded more than 80 actual mail forwarding services. We were in the process of changing our state of domicile to South Dakota, so we decided to use an RV mail service in that state. We ended up with a company called Alternative Resources, one of the more popular mail forwarders from South Dakota. Most of these mail services work in a similar fashion. There is a monthly or annual fee for the service, and then a deposit of fifty to a hundred dollars for postage charged to a credit card, replenished when the postage account falls to a predetermined low point. Like most of the larger services, they were quite flexible with what class of mail we wanted forwarded and what method such as First Class, or Priority Mail, or even Federal Express or United Parcel Service. They were also flexible with how many shipments we would receive. We could have it shipped weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or a one-time shipment when we were traveling.
One important thing to remember is that unless you are a seasonal resident, most campgrounds will not receive mail for you; they just don’t have the staff, nor do they want to get into difficulties with the United States Postal Service. We use the General Delivery service at local Post Offices in the area where we are camped. Be careful in this as certain Post Offices will not handle General Delivery mail. Get the zip code of the campground where you will be staying and call the Post Office. Verify that they will handle General Delivery and also the zip code and address of that Post Office. This may seem like a hassle, but so is chasing a missed delivery with time sensitive material in it.
Of all the RV mail services we have looked into, the Escapees RV Club RV mail service is a world class operation. Located in Livingston, TX, it has its own zip code. The latest news we have received states that Escapees will open a mail box address in Florida soon and perhaps even in South Dakota. You must be a member of the Escapees RV Club to use their mail service, however. Go to http://www.escapees.com/ .
Next up is Alternative Resources, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This is our choice as it is in our home state. Go to www.alternativeresources.net . Other South Dakota mail forwarders are www.mydakotaaddress.com in Madison, South Dakota and America’s Mailbox in Box Elder, South Dakota at www.americas-mailbox.com . There are others available in South Dakota; you just have to search the web for South Dakota mail forwarding.
If you want to have your official domicile in Florida, there is a service located in Crestview, Florida is http://www.myrvmail.com/. Again, there are other mail forwarding services in Florida, just look them up on the web.
Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Family Motor Coach Association runs a mail service for their members. Check out http://www.fmca.com/ .
There are mail services based in many other states, I have only highlighted the major ones in the states most frequently used by full time RVers. Spend some time searching the internet to find the ideal service to fit your needs. You should also check out RV forums such as the one on http://www.rv.net/ for plusses and minuses before settling on this important part of the full time lifestyle.