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How To HOld Mail While On Vacation

How to Hold Mail While On Vacation (USPS Delivery Options and Advice)
Every time I am about to take an extended trip, I stop to consider what to do about our mail while away from home. With email and paperless (electronic) billing so common, I certainly receive less snail mail of a critical basis than in years past. However with charity requests, catalogs, sale circulars, and other bulk (junk) mail received almost daily, my mailbox tended to fill up in a matter of days. So do I…

Put the mail on hold at the US Post Office (local branch)
Let it pile up in the (never quite large enough) mailbox
Ask a family member or trusted neighbor to pick it up regularly
Why I’ve Put My Mail on Vacation Hold
House Mailbox – Vacation Hold?
As someone who prefers not to inconvenience others, in the past I have usually put our mail on hold with the post office. It seemed like the most secure and convenient option and costs nothing. Unfortunately my success rate while living in at several addresses in Pennsylvania (house and townhouse) and California (apartment and condo) has been mixed. Therefore I have gone back and forth among these three options to ensure that our mail does not overflow the box. The last thing I want to return home from vacation to is missing or lost mail.

I take lots of vacations and for the majority of situations, holding my mail worked. Twice my mail was never held as requested, but somehow it all fit (was shoved) in our mailbox while on a 10-day trip. Once our accumulated mail was not delivered to our home as of the return date (the date I picked for the mail service to resume). Therefore I had to make a special trip to the post office during business hours which was not fun.

So if you have decided to put your mail on hold for your next vacation, now comes the easy part. Do you want to go to the post office in person, use the website, or call them? Here is a summary of your three options.

In Person
You can visit your local post office branch in person if you prefer the experience of filling out the paper form. My advice is to avoid the lunch hour unless you want to wait in a long line to hand the paper form to a postal employee. With this option you can have the satisfaction of making sure your hold mail form is completed without any mistakes.

Online
Putting your mail on vacation hold using the USPS.com website is my favorite way. Since I develop websites I prefer the tech way of getting things done, so the online form is how I have put my own mail on hold.

By Phone
Would you believe the U.S. Post Office has a toll-free 800 customer service number? They handle mail issues, questions, and requests nationwide and can put you in touch with you local branch carrier if necessary. You can give them a call to ask questions about putting your mail on hold while away and submit your hold mail request in just a few minutes.

Since the online option is the fastest, most convenient, and perhaps most reliable way to put your mail on hold, I’ll take you through the quick and easy steps.

Step 1 – Visit the Official U.S. Post Office Website
No you are not looking at the USPS website now, but thanks for visiting my VacationCounts blog and supporting my effort to help people take the best time off work and life. Here is the link to the USPS Hold Mail page which opens in a new browser window. You’ll be following the step-by-step instructions which I’ll help you with, so keep both browser tabs open so you can refer back.

Step 2 – Name and Address Entry Check
You will need to accurately enter your home mailing address so the postal database can look you up and verify that it can put in a request to your local post office to hold your mail. Enter your name and official home address in the “What’s your address” box. Your phone number and email address are also required fields and of course your zip code is critical.

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How To Stop Mail Delivery For Vacation

Going on a vacation requires more than just making transportation and accommodation reservations or packing for the upcoming trip. The last thing you need to worry about during your time off is whether your mail is safe or not. Putting your mail on hold with the United States Postal Service ensures all of the mail addressed to you is securely held at your local post office until you have returned. You can put a hold on your mail either online or in person.
Online Mail Hold Request
STEP 1
Notify the post office to hold your mail using the USPS website (see Resources). Enter your zip code in the box provided to see if your area offers this online service.
STEP 2
Fill in the required details as directed. The information needed includes your name, address, date to stop mail delivery and date to resume delivery. Click on the “Continue” button.
STEP 3
Verify your address. Select “Edit Information” to change the details provided or “Continue” to move on to the next step.
STEP 4
Choose the “Begin Date” and then a “Resume Date” using the drop-down arrow. Pick either “Post Office delivers accumulated mail” or “I will pick up accumulated mail.” This means you can have all of your held mail delivered on the date you decide to resume or you can go to the post office to pick it up.
STEP 5
Add any special instructions or details you want to make the post office aware of in the box provided and click “Continue.” Check to make sure all of the details are correct.
STEP 6
Select “No” to make changes or “Yes” to finish the mail hold request. Make note of the confirmation number provided to ensure the process is complete and to allow you to make changes to the order if needed.
In-Person Mail Hold Requests
STEP 1
Go to your local post office to place your mail on a vacation hold. Ask the mail clerk for a PS Form 8076 or simply explain to them that you need to place a hold on your mail.
STEP 2
Fill in the required information on the form. Submit the form to the mail clerk to stop your mail delivery during your vacation.
STEP 3
Contact your local mail carrier before you leave to be sure he has received the hold order. You can also request the mail hold form from your mail carrier and return it to them, instead of going to the post office.

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