A guide on how to coordinate mail post office, UPS, and more before heading out.
By Michael Cappetta
Among the list of to-do’s before leaving for a long vacation, coordinating your mail may be the most important.
Fortunately, UPS, FedEx, and USPS have several free services to help manage their deliveries while traveling, which are frequently called “vacation holds” or “mail holds.”
So to help make pre-vacation errands a bit less stressful, Travel + Leisure has curated the best tips and advice for various services to make sure your parcels don’t take a long-term vacation of their own.
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service offers a complimentary hold service. This will hold all of your mail at a local post office for a minimum of 3 days, and a maximum of 30 days. To hold mail longer than 30 days, the Post Office recommends their mail forwarding service.
For last-minute travelers, you can schedule the service to take effect as early as the next scheduled delivery day, while travelers with a longer lead on their trips can schedule it up to 30 days in advance. When a traveler returns home, travelers can pick up their mail at the local post office, or the letter-carrier can deliver the bundle of mail at a pre-arranged end date.
Travelers may also be interested in signing up for the free “Informed Delivery” service which provides a notification and preview of what mail will be delivered the next day. For example, if you are on a quick trip, you can have an idea of what is in your mailbox before getting home.
The United Parcel Service (UPS) offers several options for travelers with their UPS MyChoice Digital Account Service.
UPS offers the ability to hold a package at their distribution center, and then deliver it once a traveler returns home, or the package can be left with a neighbor, according to their website. UPS also offers the option to reroute packages, including for pickup at alternative UPS locations, which can be helpful for needing an important package when traveling away.
FedEx offers a free vacation hold with their FedEx Delivery Manager service. The program allows for package recipients to place a temporary hold on parcels for up to 14 days.
For local deliveries and online retailers, it is helpful to see if you can schedule delivery dates for when you are in town.
Trae Bodge, of shopping site TrueTrae.com, also advised T+L to use a retailer’s in-store pickup option instead of having deliveries sent to your house, for easy pick up anytime.
Bodge also recommended using the buddy system to make sure your doorstep is clear of packages.
“I would also suggest asking a friend or family member to drive by your house a couple of times to make sure nothing fell through the cracks in your planning,” she said. “Packages left out for days can alert porch pirates and other thieves that you are out of town.”