15 June 2006

How to put your mail on vacation hold

USPS logoDid you know you can ask the post office to hang onto your mail while you're on vacation? The United States Postal Service website has a Hold Mail Service (among other things) -- let them know when you want mail service to stop and then start again, and your mail carrier will get a notice to deliver all of your accumulated mail.

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AWESOME! My family is going away for two weeks tomorrow, and so this is really timely. That is incredibly easy.

And even better -- when you *forget* to do this you can do it online from anywhere, including your vacation destination.

For safety's sake, it is better to get a friend to babysit the house. Thieves don't just look for piled up mail. They look for lighting discrepancies and the physical presence of people. Give a key to a friend and stock the fridge with their favorite snacks and beverages. It reduces the risk of burglary and gives your friend something to do.

As a minor note, the web site allows you to specify a date to start having your accumulated mail delivered. Aparently this isn't actually available through all post offices, so you may want to check with your local office before expecting to this to just work. Ours was particularly rude that we aparently didn't know that this wouldn't actually happen.

We just did this, having the post office deliver a huge pile of mail when we got back. As we live in a huge apt building, there's no where for mail to "pile up" in a tell-tale wad for thieves to notice. But I don't think the box is big enough for 2 wks worth of junk! Very pleased with this service.

I used the website service to have the post office hold our mail on a 10 day trip in May. When we returned from our trip Sunday night, the mail box was full of mail. For some reason, the post office didn't hold the mail. May want to check with the local office or your postal carrier to make sure this service works in your area.

I will be on vacation from 4/8 to 4/16. Please do not send any emails during this time.

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