Travel Tip: Hold Your Mail

mail boxes in snow

mail boxes in snow

This is one of the travel tips that’s worth repeating with some regularity.  Especially, perhaps, during the holiday season when so many people are traveling away from home.  And there are folks among us, more unscrupulous than most of us, who are watching closely to see just which ones of us are away and leaving our homes vacant.  Because a vacant home can be easy pickings for a criminal mind.

A vacant home can be a magnet for burglars. Whether it’s to ransack your home and steal your stuff or to find information to steal your identity, you need to take steps to protect yourself while you’re traveling.

One easy way to do that is to have the postal service hold your mail while you’re traveling.  If it’s just a day or two, this probably isn’t a big deal, but if you’ll be away from home longer than that you don’t want mail stacking up and waving a flag telling people you’re not around.  This is critical if your mail is delivered to your home and either left in an unsecure mail box or slipped through a mails lot on your door, but it’s still important if your mail is delivered to a locked mailbox.

Your mail can usually be held for as few as three days and for as long as 30.  A form is available through your local post office, or use the online hold service.  The online service is not available in all locations, but it works works where I live and I use it all the time.

How about you?  Do you stop your mail?

Photo credit:  SXC

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

2 Responses to “Travel Tip: Hold Your Mail”

  1. December 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    We always hold our mail with the post office.

    I also take it a step further and I give an authorized letter to the Post Office that allows my mom to collect our mail in an emergency situation or if our trip will be longer than 30 days (she also has a copy)

    In addition to that, we pay a teenage neighbor to keep our porch and driveway clear.

    Karen

    • December 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

      @OurPassportStamps-Karen,

      That’s an excellent idea. I never thought about setting up a designee to claim mail in the event of an emergency. Great tip!

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