If you are traveling for any length of time, you’ll need to prepare your home for your absence. One of the important things you’ll need to do is to stop mail for vacation. Even if you aren’t necessarily expecting anything, it’s a good idea to do this for many reasons. You may get something in the mail that you weren’t anticipating, so there’s always the risk of getting a package or a larger piece of mail.
Mail piled up outside your home will make it look vacant and could be an invitation for home robbery. In addition, you run the risk of packages and sensitive mail being stolen from your front steps or your mailbox. Having your mail held during your vacation will help prevent this.
There are several different places that you’ll need to worry about when it comes to stopping mail for vacation. The most obvious is the USPS, but you may also need to be concerned about FedEx, UPS, and Amazon packages. Several of these offer a temporary hold on eligible packages which can be a convenient way to handle vacation mail.
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How to Stop Mail for Vacation and Other Purposes
USPS Vacation Hold
In most cases, you’ll be able to place a USPS hold mail request online and won’t have to go to one of their retail locations. You can place a hold request for up to 30 days and can do it up to 30 days in advance. I try to do it as early as possible so that I don’t forget when I’m busy packing and getting ready for vacation.
With the United States Postal Service hold mail service, you’ll either be able to have all of your held mail delivered on the next delivery day upon your return, or you can pick up your mail at your local post office. I find it easier to get it delivered, but if you work outside the home, you may not want all that mail sitting outside during the day while you are out.
I will make sure my mail is stopped on the day I leave, even if I plan to leave later in the day. That’s because there are some times when my mail is delivered later than the usual schedule. I’d rather have it safely held at the post office.
If you are moving permanently or temporarily, however, the process is different. In this case, you’ll need to sign up for the mail forwarding service and provide a permanent or temporary address. This is also free, although there is also now a premium forwarding service for an additional charge.
FedEx Vacation Hold
Even if you aren’t sure that you are getting a package from FedEx during your trip, you may want to place a FedEx Vacation Hold. It’s free to do, and your packages will be kept for you in a secure location while you are traveling.
To do this, visit the Free Vacation Hold request page on the FedEx website. You’ll need to have the FedEx Delivery Manager service first. This is also free, and I recommend it because it’s an easy way to track your packages even when you are home.
Once you are logged into your Delivery Manager account, you can select vacation hold as an option. This free service only works for FedEx deliveries with either FedEx Express or FedEx Ground service.
It can be used to hold packages for up to 14 days. Once your hold end date arrives, your packages will be delivered directly to your home by FedEx at the end of the business day.
UPS Vacation Hold
Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as easy to hold packages with UPS because they don’t have a vacation hold policy. You can’t place a general vacation hold, so you need to be more aware of what is being shipped. You’ll also need a UPS My Choice account, which is free, as well as the specific package tracking number.
UPS packages can be held at different locations, which include a UPS Access Point (ours is at a nearby CVS), a UPS Store, or a customer center. You’ll need to pick it up upon your return from vacation.
There is also an option within the My Choice free account to deliver to a neighbor or to change the delivery date. However, these options aren’t free, so you won’t want to do them too often. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your My Choice account so you’ll be able to anticipate the package delivery. This can be especially tricky around the holiday season when you may have to track multiple packages.
UPS does have an annual service called My Choice Premium. It’s currently $19.99 per year, and lets you change your delivery date and the location at no additional cost. You can also upgrade UPS Surepost packages to regular UPS delivery.
Amazon Vacation Hold
You may not think about Amazon as a shipping company, but often packages purchased from Amazon are delivered directly by them. It’s not always easy to know which carrier will deliver the item until after it ships.
Amazon mail delivered by them can’t be held on a vacation hold, so it’s best not to order anything to be delivered while you are away. If you have an Amazon subscribe and save monthly shipment, check to see when items will arrive. I usually prefer to change the date to something weeks away, because subscribe and save items aren’t always delivered on the exact expected date.
Even if I don’t expect any mail, I’ll usually alert a neighbor that we are traveling. That way, if anything is unexpectedly delivered, they’ll be able to safely store it for us until we return.
I find it especially helpful to have our Blink security camera on. That way, I’m able to see if something is sitting at our front door, and can text a neighbor to check on it. Of course, that’s also good for security while you are away.
Another nice option is a package delivery box by your front door. While this doesn’t solve all of the problems, it does provide a place for your packages safe from wind and rain. While not every one of our deliverers uses the box, most do.