Getting Mail on the Road

Quick Tip | How to Get Mail When You Travel or Live on the Road

You can still receive mail while living on the road and it doesn’t cost you extra. You just need to use the “General Delivery” method at the local post office. Here’s how:

  • Determine the Main Post Office for the city of choice. It is important to find the one that is listed as the main hub because this is where the package will come in and be held for you to pick up. This is not an issue in small towns with one post office but was an issue for us when we tried it in a larger city. We didn’t realize that we couldn’t send it to just any post office of our choice and spent two days going back and forth between Post offices trying to locate our package, which happened to be the one housing my new passport – kind of important! We did retrieve it but could have saved some stress had we known.
  • Use the proper mailing address layout. The post office is pretty specific about this layout. It should be written as your name on the first line, followed by capitalized “GENERAL DELIVERY” on the address line, and then the city, state, zip (of that post office) on the last line. So, it would look something like this:
  • PORTLAND, OR 63833
  • Finally, you can track the packages progress using the website or app. When it arrives, simply show up to that Main Post Office with and ID and request the package.

We’ve used this method several times with little problems. Like I mentioned before, we just had that one mishap is a bigger city because we didn’t know about the rule of only using the Main Post Office center. We’d previously only done this in small towns, so the issue never presented itself.

We don’t need to receive a lot of mail on the road, so this isn’t something we need to do often. Sometimes, it helps to have someone you know intercept and important package and then send it to you. This is especially useful if you don’t want to hassle with the original sender over specific instructions (like in the case of my passport) or if you are unsure when you’ll be at a spot long enough to receive a package. So, you can have them hold it and send it once you’re ready.

Keep in mind: If you can instruct the sender to send your General Delivery mail via the Post Office, do so. UPS & FedEx do not handle General Delivery. This is a USPS thing only. It is likely your package will be returned to sender if it ends up with UPS or FedEx.