Holding Mail for 2-month European Trip?

I'm from the U.S. and planning a 2 month trip to Europe. I thought I would just have the U.S. Postal Service hold my mail until I returned, but when I visited their website, it said that they can only hold it for a maximum 30 days [INVALID] and further, that if I needed to have my mail held longer, I had to visit my local branch. So I visited my local branch, and they said the only way to accomplish what I wanted to do was buy a PO Box for a year. It's around $25.00. Any clever ways around this? I don't want to pay this fee if I can avoid it.

Posted by Emily
Houston, TX, USA
47 posts

Another possibility is to request that your mail simply be forwarded to someone at a different address. I have done this twice for extended periods of time. It was not 100% effective either time, but it did keep the mail from piling up at an empty house. The second time we put a piece of clear tape over the mail slot. IT was not visible from the street (and announcing that the house was empty) but it did prevent substitute mail persons from leaving mail. That way, we were also able to have someone check the mail for one or two pieces of important stuff.

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1050 posts

Collecting mail once or twice a week wouldn't work for me as I have a free standing mailbox and I wouldn't want my mail sitting in the box for a couple or three days. If your mailbox is locked or the slot goes right into your house, it may be OK. I think the best way is to have a neighbor or family member pick it up for you and to give them a nice thank you gift.

Posted by Marshall
Greenville, SC, USA
263 posts

I just got back from 5 week trip. Post office only held the mail for 30 days and then began redelivery of new mail. The only solution I had, and the one that may be available to you, is to ask a friendly neighbor to collect your mail for you. You may be asking them to do other things anyway. However, when we got back, we got a $75 gift certificate to a nice restaurant to say "thanks" to our neighbors for all they did (they even put some breakfast items in our fridge for when we got back, and replaced a dead car battery).

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10845 posts

Our solution may not be available to you. The post office will hold your mail forever. They just will not accumulate more than 30 days of held mail. We had our son who lives in the area pickup all of our mail during the fourth week and reconfirmed the hold order for another 30 days. Fortunately, his driver license still has his old home address so there was no question about his authority to pickup the mail. When we returned a couple weeks late we just pickup the last batch of accumulated mail. Could you give someone the authority via a letter to pickup the accumulated mail prior to the 30 day limit? That way your neighbor or relative or someone would only have to make one or two trips to the post office instead of having someone collect your mail every day as someone else suggested.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17718 posts

Patrick, the easiest (and probably cheapest) solution would be to have a trusted relative, friend or neighbor pick up your mail on a regular basis and hold it for you. That way you wouldn't have to involve the Post Office at all. I was away for two months this year, and my Son handled the mail for me (and looking after the house and pets). Good luck!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17718 posts

Marshall, you have some incredible neighbors!

Posted by Melanie
Dundas, Minnesota, USA
103 posts

I would not recommend having the USPS hold your mail. My husband and I always disagree on this, but the last time they lost a check (for the 3rd time) - he came over to my dark side. Agree with others who say have a friend or family member or neighbor pop over a couple of times a week and collect it on your behalf. Providing them with a nice cloth sack for the mail, which can be dirt crusted or even wet and then a warm tray of cookies upon your return will surely be appreciated.

Posted by Charles
Katy, Texas, USA
204 posts

I was told by the US Postal Service that they held FIRST CLASS MAIL for 90 days but not Sedond or Third Class, ie, advertising and magazines. 2nd and 3rd Class were only held for 30 days. You might check with them just in case this longer period is correct. Maybe you indicated you wanted it ALL held.

Posted by evelyn
dallas
24 posts

It's true that the USPS will only hold mail for one month. I was considering having my mail forwarded (to another state) for two months, but my mailman said that's a big mistake using the regular forwarding option because usually the USPS keeps forwarding for a year, and if you don't stay at that address for a year, all kinds of complications arise. He told me to look into Premium Forwarding Service - http://www.usps.com/receive/premiumforwarding/welcome.htm?from=receiveyourmail&page=premiumforwarding - where the USPS forwards all your mail one week at a time and charges for it. That could be an option for you if you could have your mail forwarded to a friend or family member. It's more expensive than a P.O. Box, but at least you don't have to change your mailing address. Another option, as mentioned above, is to hold your mail for a month and have someone pick up your mail at the end of the month for you. To do this, I was told you have to write a letter granting them permission to pick up your mail and also provide a copy of your driver's license with that letter. The person picking up your mail has to show their driver's license for ID. Be sure to let the local postmaster know what you're planning to do, and keep their phone number in case there's any problem. If you'll be out of town for two months, then have another "hold" form filled out and also a letter for your friend/family member to pick up mail at the end of the second month in case you're not back the day the USPS starts returning mail to senders.

Posted by Daniel
Las Cruces, NM, United States
135 posts

Hi, I am leaving for 6 weeks in Europe on Monday. I just called my local USPS office because in the past I have had it held longer. I was told that after thirty days you can just go on line and extend it again for thirty more days. Anybody see anything wrong with this information?

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10845 posts

It is the accumulation of mail that is the problem. The post office simply doesn't have the storage space to store held mail for extended periods from dozens if not hundreds of people. Hence the 30 day limit. If someone picks up the accumulated mail then PO will glad to extend it for another 30 days. Just have to pick it up.

Posted by Daniel
Las Cruces, NM, United States
135 posts

Well, I understand, but I never had a problem getting a couple of tubs before and they don't seem to think it will an issue now...they specifically said I did not have to pick it up...

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10845 posts

Well, maybe, in a small town like LasCruces the post office will hold it for more than thirty days but it doesn't mean that all post offices will or that the San Diego will which is what the original was about. - Not Las Cruces.

Posted by Chip
Tipton, Iowa
329 posts

A deadbeat relative had his mail forwarded to my address years ago while he was out of town. I am still getting mail addressed to him, mostly junk, as well as dunning letters and phone calls.

Posted by Daniel
Las Cruces, NM, United States
135 posts

Actually, most of my experience on many trips over a month long was in little Phoenix, up through 2009...