Ever started on an extended trip only to be notified that item on back-order is finally in stock and will arrive after you leave? In the past I’ve had to beg friends to swing by and pick up stuff so it didn’t sit outside my door for a week or trek to the far out distribution centers upon my return. And then it occurred to me to see if you could hold package deliveries like you do mail.
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Sure enough! Both FedEx and UPS allow you to create vacation holds that will pause any incoming deliveries while you’re gone and deliver them once you’re back. This won’t help if you forgot to pause your Hello Fresh subscription, but otherwise it’s been a life saver, particularly with deliveries needing a signature.
In case you decide to bookmark this page, here’s the link to the USPS hold mail form for easy reference.
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HOW TO CREATE A UPS VACATION HOLD
UPS My Choice offers both free and paid options, but you only need a free membership to add a 7 day delivery hold. To set your hold dates, login and go to your profile page.
In the Set My Preferences box, select UPS My Choice Preferences.
Choose the relevant address and scroll to the bottom. Expand Delivery Hold Requests and click Request a Hold to enter your dates and info.
Note: UPS will only hold a package for 7 days, so it’s not ideal for longer trips but at least it’s something!
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HOW TO CREATE A FEDEX VACATION HOLD
FedEx’s Delivery Manager is a free service, but requires creating an account. Once you’ve created an account or logged in, go to the Delivery Manager page.
Select edit by the relevant address.
Choose your dates. You can place a vacation hold for up to 14 days. Note: you can only have one vacation hold at a time per address and you must resume service for 6 days before placing another hold.
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Election office in your state to update your address on your voter registration record and be assigned a new polling place if necessary.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if you’re a veteran who gets benefit payments or wants to update your records.
Letting the government and USPS know of your COA won’t solve all your future mail matters. A bit more effort is also involved.
“Mail forwarding with the USPS only goes so far. It simply forwards mail from address A to address B. The company that sent mail to your address A is actually not notified that you moved. They still don’t know about address B,” Weinerman notes.
“You need to update your address with them directly. This can involve contacting dozens of businesses one by one to inform them of your mailing address and to transfer service.”
These businesses can include:
Electric, natural gas, telephone, cellular, cable, streaming services, and other utilities
Banks, lenders, credit unions, credit cards and other financial bodies you have accounts with
Health, auto, life, homeowner’s and other insurers
Newspapers, magazines and clubs you subscribe to or have memberships with
Professionals like your doctor, dentist, attorney, and veterinarian.
Forwarding mail with a temporary address
Maybe you’ll be briefly staying somewhere else before a permanent move. In this case, ask for a temporary COA using the same USPS online form. You can request mail forwarding for as long as one year or as brief as 15 days.
Plan on being away for three to 30 days after the move? The USPS can hold your mail at your local post office until you get back. You can request that your mail be held as early as the next scheduled delivery day or up to a month ahead of time. Confirm that this service is available for your address first.
Perhaps you have urgent mail that you need to be delivered quickly after the move. If so, enroll in USPS’ Premium Forwarding Service. They’ll hold your mail, package it and ship it to you via Priority Mail every week. The fee is $18.45 to enroll online and $20.10 for each extra week you keep it active.
Forwarding mail not always 100 percent effective
Note that the USPS doesn’t forward all mail the same way.
“Be sure to read USPS policies on mail forwarding exceptions,” Weinerman says. For instance, magazines and second class mail will not be forwarded after two months. And if you received incorrectly addressed mail or mail without your actual name on it, this mail will not be forwarded.
Lastly, after the move, you may want to return to your last address to check for mail that got left behind.
“I wouldn’t suggest going back to your old home often. You don’t want to intrude,” she adds. “But you may be worth reaching out or visiting if you notice that something specific hasn’t arrived. Contact the new owner or tenant ahead of time and see if the mail arrived.”