As a travelling family, we are often away from home for long periods of time, leaving everything on pause at home - except the mail. After returning from long tips I’m inundated with piles of mail, only to find that I missed an important letter or bill. Luckily, most businesses have gone green making online bill payments and communication easy. However, not everything can be done over the Internet and hard material still needs to be shipped and received. For those who travel or move often, changing your physical address constantly is a hassle.
If only I could find a simple, flexible mail forwarding service to collect and forward my mail. And sure enough, my curiosity lead me to PO BOX Zone.
What is PO BOX Zone?
PO BOX Zone is an advanced Post Office Box service where all your mail is collected at their physical location, but you don’t have to pick it up in person. Instead, your mail is immediately accessible online for your review in digital form. Once you have viewed the envelope digitally, you can decide on what happens next - either shred it, scan and email it, or forward it.
Since PO BOX Zone uses a physical street address rather than an actual P.O. Box, there are some added perks. Not only can couriers deliver what would otherwise not be delivered to a traditional P.O. Box, but PBZ’s employees can accept and sign for letters or packages on your behalf with FedEx, UPS and DHL.
Digital nomad tip: If you need a solution that offers more than just mail forwarding, check out this virtual office service that includes private offices, hot desks, live receptionist and toll-free number.
How Does it Work?
First you set up an online account with PO BOX Zone by choosing a plan, entering your personal information and forwarding preferences, confirming payment, and then returning a notarized USPS 1583 Form along with two forms of identification. The easiest way to complete the notary process is by using an online notary service like NotaryCam. This service costs US$25, but it is so convenient and I was able to complete the process within a few minutes using my webcam while sitting on the sofa.
If you’d like to setup multiple names for receiving mail (ie different family members), then you will need to fill out this form for each adult. The purpose of the form is simply to give the company legal permission to receive mail on your behalf. Minors do not need a notarized form to be included, but will need to be added to section 12 of your form.
Once you’ve set up your account and you have your new address, you can start sharing it and having mail sent to that location. As new mail reaches your account, an email alert will notify you straight away.
Right now, PBZ’s address is only available in Nevada, but new options in Wyoming and Delaware are coming soon. Your box number will appear as your suite number, so it can be read as a street address. Here’s an example:
5348 Vegas Dr
Las Vegas NV 89108
Depending on the selected plan and preferences, your mail will can either be held, opened and scanned or forwarded to a physical address automatically.
All your incoming mail is labelled with the name of the sender, so that you can choose what to do with it without opening it. If you want to read the letter you can have PO BOX Zone open, scan and email you the letter. You can also opt to sync letters with your Google Drive, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive. Depending on your plan, scanning may cost an extra fee.
If you move around a lot, I suggest holding mail for review and only forwarding it every few weeks so that you can change the forwarding address and ensure no mail is missed. But in all likelihood, you could simply use the digital scans and choose to have the hard copies shredded, never needing to touch the physical letter.
Keep in mind the lower plans charge a flat mail out fee (plus postage), so I suggest being selective about what you have forwarded. Either way, your mail can be forwarded anywhere in the world (except embargoed countries).
Your mail and packages will be held for six months if you don’t provide instruction. After that period the mail will be discarded or shredded. Junk mail and spam are automatically discarded at no extra costs.
Who Benefits from PO BOX Zone?
PO BOX Zone is perfect those who do not have a permanent address or wish not to use their personal home address for receiving mail. Frequent travellers are perfect examples of people that would benefit most as they are away from home often or don’t have a home address at all.
As we prepare to go semi-nomadic this summer, I am very excited to put this service to use. We are breaking our lease and hitting the road. Without PO BOX Zone we wouldn’t have had a consistent address to receive mail as we will be regularly changing our location.
With PO BOX Zone, you can access your mail instantly online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. From the comfort of your home, deckchair or cabana, you can review it and decide with a click of a button what to do with your mail. It is like a virtual mailbox, but better since you still can get hard mail and packages forwarded to you.
Travelling with kids? There’s no more worrying about missing packages from family, because PO BOX Zone will sign for you, hold it and forward to wherever you are in the world. Yes, your kids can still receive birthday presents from Grandma!
Travellers will love is the convenience and peace of mind that they are free to travel without disrupting their mail service. After all, travellers have enough to worry about, but now accessing their snail mail won’t be one of those.
Price: From $49 per year
Where to buy: https://www.poboxzone.com/
Reader Comments..."I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" - Josh Bender
Back when I backpacked around Europe (early 1990's) there was no internet, so the only way to keep in touch with family was to send postcards and the odd phone call. But they could also send you mail via "Post Restaurante". My parents would send mail to my next planned destination eg. Post Restaurante Rome. I would have to go to the central post office in Rome to collect. If you missed your mail you could forward it onto the next Post Resataurante you planned to visit. It was always so wonderful to recieve mail from home when I was travelling for such a length time.
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