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.
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.
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.
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.