Holding your mail (and packages) while on vacation

With the exception of groceries, nearly all of my family’s shopping is done online. It is a rare day when something isn’t being dropped off by either USPS, UPS, or (rarely) FedEx. While I generally enjoy this, it can make it difficult to enjoy a vacation if I’m worried about my stuff potentially sitting on the porch for days. Fortunately, all the major mail delivery services provide an option of holding your mail until you get back. This list is mainly for my convenience so it will be easier for me to remember to turn on mail holds before I leave town, but maybe it will be useful to you, too:


The post office’s mail hold option is by far the easiest to use, and it is completely free. They provide a simple form where you enter your name, address, and then select your hold options. You can also change your hold preferences later if your vacation is extended or shortened.


The UPS mail hold option is a little more complicated and isn’t free. UPS provides a service called My Choice at no charge. This service lets you get email or SMS notifications when packages are going to be delivered. They also let you notify them that you will be on vacation, and they let you choose to have packages delivered once you are back. This service costs $5 per package (or $40 per year if you choose to buy a premium My Choice membership). It makes more sense to avoid buying stuff before you leave. You only get charged if something is actually delivered so it is sometimes beneficial to activate the service anyway to catch any unexpected packages.


The FedEx option is the worst of them all, but at least it is free. If you know the tracking number for your package then you can pull up the tracking on their website then select “Hold at FedEx Location”. I’d prefer a blanket “hold anything that comes for me” option like USPS and UPS offer, but this is at least better than nothing.


  1. Thx you for posting this…I just got off the phone with UPS and feel wildly frustrated with their system. Very annoying and backwards thinking!

  2. Dolan Antenucci

    Note: FedEx now offers automatic Vacation Holds via their website. Navigation on FedEx and UPS is pretty confusing, so here’s how you find the Vacation Holds on both:

    For UPS, create an account, then navigate to: ups.com -> Tracking -> Access UPS My Choice; at bottom is Vacation Hold options

    For FedEx, create an account, then navigate to: fedex.com -> My Profile -> FedEx Delivery Manager; at bottom is Delivery Addresses for your account; add one if needed, and Edit for Vacation Hold options

  3. I agree UPS is so frustrating with vacation holds. I talked to two different agents. One says there isn’t a charge, the other says there is but he doesn’t know how much (he then tries to kick me off to their billing department – seriously?). The UPS My Choice doesn’t state how much either but makes you enter your credit card information first. Only on this page have I found that there MAY be a charge: http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/bussol/browse/personal/delivery_options/my_choice.html but notice how it says “Hold for Will Call” is free but Vacation Options is not?

    However, it seems that if they hold your packages at their center for pickup there might not be a charge but there is one only if it’s been rescheduled for a different date??? Wildly frustrating that even the agents don’t know and place you on hold for so long while they try to figure it out! Your blog is from 2012 and it’s now 3 years later. You’d think they’d find the time to make it more clear by now. SMH.

  4. I know this is an old post, but will USPS hold a Fedex SmartPost package when mail hold at USPS is activated? As USPS is the delivery party for SmartPost packages.

    • Normally yes, they will hold all mail including FedEx SmartPost. If your area has extra workers doing deliveries during the holidays then there is a small chance it will still get delivered even with a hold.

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