Tips on how to Get Mail On the Street & Set up Residency as a Full-Time Van Lifer – Bearfoot Concept


Getting mail on the street may be tough – The place are you able to ship packages? How do you deal with payments? The place are you able to choose up prescriptions? If you happen to’re planning on giving up your private home base, how do you arrange a brand new dwelling deal with? These are a number of the prime questions we’re requested by van lifers making ready to hit the street.

Within the weblog put up beneath, you’ll learn to get mail on the street, plus ideas for establishing residency as a full-time van lifer.

How To Get Packages On The Street

Getting packages on the street is arguably more durable than receiving paper mail, nevertheless, there are tons of choices that make this simpler. Listed below are the most typical methods to obtain packages on the street:

Ask Associates or Household

The simplest solution to choose up packages or mail on the street is to ship it to a buddy or member of the family alongside your route. C/o stands for “care of” and ensures the package deal isn’t delayed or returned to sender. Right here is how you can deal with your packages despatched to a buddy or relative’s deal with:

[Your Name]
c/o [Their Name]
Road Deal with
Metropolis, State, Zip

USPS Basic Supply

The US Postal Service affords a free “Basic Supply” choice for these needing a short lived deal with to obtain mail and packages on the street. Even small cities normally have a Put up Workplace, so it is a nice answer once you’re not in an space with different delivery choices. Plus, selecting up Basic Supply mail is free, in contrast to different pickup areas we point out beneath. It’s essential to notice that solely USPS packages may be despatched by Basic Supply – UPS, FedEx, and different non-USPS shippers will probably be returned to the sender.

Not all Put up Workplace areas settle for Basic Supply mail, so use this USPS retailer locator to seek out the placement closest to you and test if Basic Supply is below “companies at this location”. As well as, we’d suggest calling the placement to substantiate that basic supply is accepted as a result of generally staff aren’t aware of the service. Basic Supply mail is held for as much as 30 days, but it surely varies by location, so we’d suggest calling for essentially the most correct data. When delivery one thing through USPS Basic Supply, use the deal with beneath and produce a photograph ID for pickup:

[Your Name]
Basic Supply
Metropolis, State, Zip

Be aware: You don’t write the deal with of the Put up Workplace for Basic Supply mail as a result of USPS will ship your mail to the principle put up workplace on the town.

Whereas we’ve used USPS Basic Supply a number of instances with none points, we’ve heard tales of lacking packages, shops refusing Basic Supply though it’s listed on the web site, and many others. so maintain that in thoughts in case you are delivery one thing time-sensitive or costly.

Amazon Lockers

Amazon lockers are one of many quickest and most dependable choices for receiving packages on the street. With 1000’s of areas throughout the US in handy areas – equivalent to grocery shops, comfort shops, and gasoline stations – you merely choose the closest Amazon locker location at checkout. After Amazon drops your package deal off within the locker, they’ll electronic mail you and also you’ll have 3 days to go choose up your package deal utilizing a scannable barcode or pin # that mechanically opens the locker. It’s tremendous simple and also you don’t want Amazon Prime to make use of their lockers, however the downsides are it’s solely obtainable for objects bought from Amazon, there’s a dimension restrict on packages, and it’s not widespread in smaller cities.

Amazon Lockers are a fast & dependable solution to obtain packages on the street

UPS or FedEx Shops

In case you are a receiving a UPS or FedEx shipped package deal, a few of their retail areas will obtain packages for you for a small payment (usually $5-$15 per package deal). Not all areas provide this service, so positively name forward to substantiate you’ll be able to choose up a package deal there, how a lot they cost for choose up, and the way lengthy they’ll maintain a package deal for. You can even ship to a UPS Entry Level, that are licensed package deal pickup factors like lockers, small retailers, and comfort shops.

When delivery your self packages to shops like this, the deal with format is normally essential, so be certain whoever is delivery it addresses the package deal correctly. 

UPS Entry Level lockers are a handy solution to choose up UPS packages

In-Retailer Pickup

If you happen to’re shopping for from a significant retailer and don’t need to take care of delivery charges or selecting up a package deal at one other location, see if the retailer affords in-store pickup. Many main retailers, equivalent to Walmart, Goal, REI, and Dwelling Depot, provide free in-store pickup for on-line purchases. That is additionally an enormous time-saver if you realize precisely what you want!

Campgrounds/RV Parks/Accommodations

This can be a final resort choice just because we don’t keep at campgrounds or lodges typically and it’s hit and miss which companies will settle for mail on behalf of their company. If you wish to ship one thing to a enterprise, make sure to name and ask to get the correct directions and delivery deal with. Some companies have a unique mailing deal with for visitor mail.

Some cities will even have mail service companies that settle for packages (typically licensed retailers of UPS, FedEx, and many others). I usually simply Google “delivery retailer in ….” after which name them to substantiate they’ll settle for packages and get directions.

Before you move into your van full-time, you need to set up a home address. Learn about the popular states to establish residency and how to get mail.
All the time name forward to companies to make sure you can obtain mail

Tips on how to Get Mail On the Street Via Mail Forwarding

Whereas receiving packages may be difficult, getting paper mail like letters, payments, and checks on the street is definitely fairly easy. Mail forwarding companies can help you have a everlasting mailing deal with whereas on the street while not having a buddy or member of the family to handle your mail for you.

Organising a mail forwarding deal with is just like a PO Field in that it offers you your personal deal with the place mail may be despatched, however in contrast to a PO Field the place it is advisable bodily choose up your mail, your mail is dealt with by an actual particular person, so you’ll be able to speak to them immediately and entry your mail practically any day of the week. If you obtain mail to your private mailbox (PMB), the mail forwarding service will scan the skin envelope and ship you an electronic mail/notification letting you realize you’ve acquired new mail. You’ll be able to then select to have it opened and scanned, forwarded to an deal with of your selecting, held for a later time, recycled, or shredded. Whereas mail forwarding companies are nice for paper mail, we wouldn’t select this selection for getting packages because you’d must pay to have them forwarded.

BFT Workforce Member (& full-time van lifer) Courtney has a mail forwarding deal with managed by Anytime Mailbox and it has made receiving paper mail on the street a lot simpler and extra streamlined.

Anytime Mailbox differs from different mail forwarding companies in that it additionally has an app (vs. email-only) that may ship a push notification once you obtain a brand new mail merchandise. From the app, you’ll be able to resolve what you need to be accomplished together with your mail – opened & scanned, recycled, shredded, or forwarded. Anytime Mailbox is tremendous easy to make use of and they’re fast on scan requests (usually lower than 3 hours throughout enterprise hours).

Anytime Mailbox has PMB areas all throughout the nation – Courtney selected a mailing deal with in South Dakota so she might additionally set up residency with this deal with (extra data on that beneath). Anytime Mailbox plans begin at $4.98/month and there are completely different tiers based mostly on the quantity of mail you need to have the ability to obtain. For an deal with in Spearfish, South Dakota, Courtney pays roughly $11.25/month for the smallest plan obtainable which incorporates:

  • Incoming mail: 30 items (every further $0.35)
  • Open & Scan: 5 pages (every further web page $0.50)
  • Forwarding bundle: $6
  • Recycling: limitless
  • Shredding: $.15/web page
  • Recipients (names on mail): 2

Different common mail forwarding companies embrace Postal Connections, MyRVMail, and Escapees.

Necessary Be aware: As a result of US Patriot Act, banks won’t settle for PMBs as a “actual” bodily deal with. Your account(s) may very well be frozen should you use your mail forwarding deal with for banking, so we suggest utilizing your PMB as your banking mailing deal with and a relative or shut buddy’s deal with as your banking bodily deal with.

How To Set up Residency and a Dwelling Deal with

In case you are utterly transferring out of your private home and don’t have any plans to return to your previous city, determining what to have listed as your private home deal with may be tough. Not solely does this impression your mail, but it surely additionally impacts your medical health insurance, your RV or automobile insurance coverage, and your taxes. It’s additionally essential should you plan to vote, which I clearly encourage you to do. Listed below are a number of choices:

Possibility 1: Use the deal with of an in depth buddy or member of the family

The simplest solution to take care of establishing a house residence is to listing your deal with as one belonging to an in depth and keen buddy or a member of the family residing in the identical state as you that means you aren’t altering your official residency. Whereas that is a simple choice, it does require that particular person to be your foremost level of contact for mail, so that you’ll need to be certain that particular person is keen and in a position to sustain together with your mail.

Possibility 2: Set up residency someplace new

If you happen to don’t have the choice or don’t need to use the deal with of somebody you realize, you may as well set up residency in a brand new state utilizing a mail forwarding service. Whether or not or not it’s price transferring your residency actually is determined by how lengthy you propose to be touring and the sum of money you’ll save by setting a brand new residency up.

States with no revenue tax are common amongst van lifers and RVers, together with South Dakota, Texas, and Florida. Every of those states has mail forwarding companies that can set you up with a bodily deal with that you need to use to determine residency after which they’ll ahead you your mail. South Dakota expenses the bottom automobile registration charges and doesn’t require an annual inspection. You’ll be able to even register your automobile in South Dakota with out even driving your van to the state.

BFT Workforce Member Courtney just lately went by the method to vary her residency to South Dakota, utilizing the crew at ChooseSD (which companions with Anytime Mailbox for mail). The method was extremely easy requiring the next paperwork to obtain a South Dakota driver’s license:

  • Receipt for a 1-night keep at a South Dakota campground or resort
  • Paperwork out of your mail forwarding firm verifying your new deal with
  • Present Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Social Safety card

The factor to remember is that should you set up residency in a brand new state, not solely will you pay taxes in that state, however you’ll additionally purchase your van insurance coverage and medical health insurance in that new state. You should definitely do your analysis on the most effective choices for taxes and insurance coverage earlier than switching your domicile state.

a white Ford E150 van parked next to the "Welcome to South Dakota" sign
South Dakota is without doubt one of the best states to determine residency in as a full-time van lifer

Tips on how to Choose Up Prescriptions On The Street

Getting prescription remedy on the street can pose challenges, however listed below are a number of ideas for refilling on the street:

  • Ask your physician for 90-day provides so that you don’t have to fret about getting refills as typically
  • Contact your insurance coverage firm to see should you can choose up prescriptions outdoors your residency state. Some insurance coverage corporations could not cowl the price of prescriptions picked up in different states, so make sure to name to substantiate the place you’ll be able to choose up prescriptions.
  • Fill your prescription from nationwide chains equivalent to CVS or Walgreens so you’ll be able to simply switch your prescription to a different location as you journey
  • Use an internet prescription firm like GoodRX and mail your prescriptions utilizing Basic Supply, UPS, FedEx, and many others.

Tips on how to Pay Payments On The Street

Happily in the present day, most payments may be despatched electronically and paid on-line. Earlier than you head out within the van, contact your financial institution(s) or login on-line to opt-out of paper mail and request e-statements as an alternative.

When you’ve got points, inform them that you simply’ll be touring for x-amount of time and want an choice to pay on-line or mail a test. It shouldn’t be a difficulty, however to keep away from hang-ups or late charges the primary month, it’s finest to handle this forward of time.

If you happen to aren’t frightened about overdrawing, arrange your entire payments for autopay. That means you’ll be assured to by no means miss a fee.

Additionally, notify your financial institution(s) that you simply’ll be touring commonly and don’t need a maintain positioned in your playing cards from frequent irregular areas. Typically a maintain is positioned in your card mechanically in case your financial institution notices you’re withdrawing cash in Texas after which 3 hours later you’re gassing up in New Mexico for instance. Simply allow them to know forward of time and it shouldn’t be a difficulty. 

Two people sit on the roof of a camper van at a pull out near a lake

What questions do you’ve gotten about how you can get mail on the street? Share your questions, ideas, and experiences down within the feedback, and be certain to enroll in our van life e-newsletter right here.

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