If you’re going RVing for a season (or a year or longer) and living without a permanent address, the US Postal Service is a great travel buddy. Through rain, sleet and snow, the post office provides “General Delivery” mail for RVers and other transients without a fixed address. As you’ll learn here, it’s really easy to use this service.
General Delivery mail for RVers is easier in small towns.
The Basics of General Delivery Mail for RVers
Here’s a fancy word for you: “Poste restante.” All it really means is “General Delivery” in English and postal services around the world use it as a courtesy for people on the move. From homeless residents to cross-country hikers to full-time RVers, general delivery mail is a way to catch up with parcels and letters while roaming from place to place. Using this system is easy.
First, find a post office on your route that accepts general delivery mail.
Not all locations accept general delivery mail for RVers, so call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) and ask for a rep who can tell you which post offices on your route accept general delivery. An Internet search for regional post offices may reveal phone numbers that enable you to get confirmation straight from the source.
Always have your mail sent to a small town station. Sending general delivery mail for RVers to larger cities with multiple zip codes is a great way to get your mail lost in the system.
Next, make sure your mail packages and letters are addressed with the general delivery format:
ANYTOWN, ST 12345-9999
A “General Delivery” on the package serves as your street address while the “9999” ZIP-4 address lets automated postal systems know that it’s a general delivery package. Even online retailers who don’t ship to PO Boxes will be able to use this address format.
Here’s how it would look if John Doe wants mail sent to Moab, Utah:
MOAB, UT 84532-9999
Allow an extra day or two beyond normal shipping times, as we’ve noticed that general delivery mail takes longer to arrive than the usual methods.
Finally, pick up your mail. Some post offices in popular snowbird areas like Quartzsite, Arizona, have specific times when you can pick up general delivery mail, so find out the pickup hours before you make the trip. Don’t wait too long though; the post office will only hold your mail for 30 days, then it gets sent back to the sender.
A general delivery location isn’t accepted as a personal legal address so you won’t be able to use it when applying for a driver’s license or other official document, but overall general delivery mail for RVers is a handy service when you’re on the go.