There are a myriad of questions that plague someone getting ready to live life everywhere. We had millions of them. Some of those questions were regarding mail. I’m not an expert, but I’m happy to share our experience.
If we are roaming all over the United States, what is our legal address?
This is one of the questions we had from the beginning of our full-time journey. It’s not a difficult process, but it is one of those “loose ends” needing a bit of time before hitting the road. It is necessary to have a permanent legal address for the IRS, drivers licenses, vehicle registrations, jury duty, voter registration, insurance purposes, etc. We lived in Florida in our sticks and bricks and already had drivers licenses and vehicle registrations in the sunshine state. Florida does not have state taxes, which was an added bonus.
There are many choices for RVers for mail forwarding, one of the most popular being the Escapees RV Club out of Livingston, Texas, and many RVers use this service. There are other mail forwarding companies out there, so I recommend doing some research in finding the company that suits individual needs (budget, services, proximity). Reading reviews and comments from other customers can give you an idea of satisfaction with these companies.
We use Saint Brendan’s Isle mail forwarding service out of Green Cove Springs, Florida. Their customer service has been impeccable, and they send our mail promptly when we request a mail-out. They explained to us step-by-step what we needed to accomplish to use their service for our legal address and had the forms available to start the process. This included establishing a domicile with the county seat, changing addresses on drivers licenses and vehicle registrations, and registering to vote. We use this address for taxes, banking, and legal purposes.
When St. Brendan’s Isle receives our personal mail, they scan the envelope and send via e-mail. We then decide if they should hold it, mail it, toss it, or open and fax it. The website is user-friendly and they are prompt with whatever action we instruct.
When we are on the road, where do we receive our mail packets, UPS and USPS packages, and Federal Express?
Our first-year goal is to visit family in different states. We have arranged for our mail and packages to be sent to family and friends for us to pick up. If we are staying in a location where no family or friends reside, arrangements can be made with the RV Park or campgrounds where we stay. Some RVers use general delivery to the local post office near their campground or boondocking site. We have not gone that route, but other RVers have done so with success (search of YouTube videos and RV blogs will glean a wealth of information).
Preparation is the key. Not taking care of the mail issue can delay the start date if not planned ahead. I recommend preparing for the mail change at least 30 days before date of departure. This will give plenty of time to file domicile and do necessary address changes through the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state of origin. Some of the paperwork has to be handled in person, and the rest can usually be done on line.
It’s one of those things on the checklist before getting started. Believe me, driving that first stretch of road on departure date is a liberating feeling, and all the stress of the preparation is one hundred percent worth it.
Comments on alternate experiences with mail forwarding are welcome. We all learn from the wisdom of experience.
With love, Dawn