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Mail Service Review

Time for a review of mail services for RVers. Having lived in an RV for 10 years now, I have a lot of experience with 4 of the different services out there and using family to forward mail. Here is my opinion on each of them as they pertain to RVers. Keep in mind, while the last two services can provide you with a legal address to become a resident of their states if you are living in your RV full-time, residency is not required and you can just use their mail services. Where you get your mail is not the only factor used to determine residency.

Family

Don’t even think about it! You can’t count on them to forward all mail in a timely manner or to let you know you have mail. If you want to mess up your credit by failing to pay bills, this is the best way to do it. While they mean well, they aren’t generally paid to handle your mail so it tends to come after most other things in their own busy lives. Handling mail is a job. It requires more attention than you think and is often inconvenient. Trust your mail only to professionals.

US Post Office

Pros

  • Found everywhere
  • Reasonably priced
  • You can get a box at their nearest office if staying in one area for awhile
  • They have package lockers for items too big to fit in mail boxes
  • General Delivery is very convenient and they will hold items for 2 weeks

Cons

  • Won’t accept UPS and FedEx packages
  • Can’t sign for mail for you as needed
  • Many online retailers will not ship to a USPS mailbox
  • General Delivery at any one Post Office is available for only 30 days then they insist you rent a box
  • General Delivery will only hold items for 2 weeks

For traveling all over the country, the US Post Office has been pretty good and handy. While they have many cons and are not suitable as your primary mail service, as a secondary mail service they are great. As needed, I have my primary mail service send me mail via General Delivery to the nearest Post Office.

UPS Stores

Pros

  • Found in many cities across the US
  • Longer hours than many Post Offices
  • Can accept all packages
  • Online retailers will ship to them
  • Can forward mail and packages
  • Have many other services including handling deposits for USAA.

Cons

  • They charge $1 a day each for packages held longer than 1 week
  • They don’t always notify you of package or mail arrival
  • They don’t have lockers to make packages available 24/7. You must call and work it out with them
  • While box rates are reasonable, their services including mailing a USPS package are extremely expensive

UPS is okay but there are cheaper services that offer more service. The $1 per package fee can really add up fast if you don’t time your package arrivals with your mail run. Expect to pay twice as much to mail any USPS packages through them.

Escapees

Pros

  • They now have 3 locations in Texas (Headquarters), Florida, and South Dakota which will forward mail anywhere
  • You can use their address in all three states to establish residency for tax purposes (no income tax), vehicle registration, etc.
  • You can call or email to find out what mail they have for you
  • Highly rated service with lots of experience
  • Online retailers will ship to them
  • Can receive all packages and forward
  • They are also an excellent RV club with discounts on camping from 15-50% and other discounts
  • They have their own RV parks with great rates
  • They provide help with absentee voting
  • Strong advocacy on behalf of RVers
  • Camaraderie and lots of hugs

Cons

  • They charge a flat fee of $1 per package to handle them
  • Notify when packages arrive but not mail
  • They can’t mail out the same day you call even if you call in the morning
  • You must belong to the Escapees RV Club for an additional fee to use their mail service
  • Residency in Texas with their local address will subject you to annual vehicle inspections for RV and tow vehicle though they will be waived when not in state

Escapees have a very good mail service and choosing residency as an RVing full-timer in any of their three states may help to avoid state income tax depending on your source of income and previous home state. Check with an accountant or lawyer. In Texas, they are currently NOT in an area requiring smog testing, just vehicle inspections. Their staff are friendly and helpful. You must belong to their RV club to use their mail services but there are many great benefits to belonging to their club such as discounts on camping and supplies, inexpensive camping at Escapees parks in wonderful places all over the country, a list they maintain of free and cheap areas to camp (extra fee), special interest groups for any interest or hobby you may have, group camping and annual shows, RV weigh ins, and lots of friendship and hugs. They love to hug! They also run a CARE center for injured or sick RVers. Even if you don’t use their mail services, you should join their RV club!

My Dakota Address

Pros

  • Very friendly and responsive staff
  • Same day mail outs
  • Email you every day you receive mail so you know exactly what is waiting for you
  • Will read or fax mail to you
  • No package handling fees
  • Can receive and forward all packages
  • Will sign for packages and certified notices on your behalf
  • Online retailers will ship to them
  • Help with South Dakota residency and vehicle registrations using their address at courthouse very close by

Cons

  • Located in an area with a wheel tax of $4 per wheel on your South Dakota registered vehicles
  • South Dakota does not have online driver license renewals so you will need to return every 5 years if you also choose to become a resident too
  • South Dakota is Homeland security compliant which means more citizenship proof needed for drivers licenses

Excellent service and friendly staff. They help you keep on top of your mail by emailing whenever mail or packages are received and they keep replying to that same email until you ask for mail to be sent so you can see a running list of what they have waiting for you. If you call anytime before they mail out, they can mail out today. Mail from them arrives in 3 days by Priority Mail anywhere you are in the country.

Summary

I hope these reviews help. There are many more services out there besides these but this is an idea of what to expect. Choosing a good, professional service to handle your mail as you travel is very important if you don’t want credit dings from paying bills late, don’t want to miss important family event invitations, etc. With a non-Post Office address, you can order all you like off Amazon and Ebay and the address can be written so as to look like an apartment number rather than a box number (#555 instead of PO Box 555). It can also help with becoming a resident in a no state income tax state or in a state that offers many discounts to residents such as Florida. Be sure to pick one that suits your life and travel desires.





2 comments to Mail Service Review

  • Great advice, Katrina! I’d add that if someone considers My Dakota Address that they also consider Dakota Post (formerly Alternative Resources). We’ve been with AR/DP for several years and have been happy enough with their services we’ve stuck with them despite a move… (yes, an address change to our mail service…). They’ve recently added a scanning service so you can see the mail you’ve received and can opt to have it forwarded right away if needed… nice option if you’re watching for something in particular. And Sioux Falls is a great town to visit for those renewals 🙂 Not too many states beat SD as a domicile state, and we’ve found the Minnehaha County employees very helpful.

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