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.