By: Karen Mazurkiewicz
Easterners do it; westerners do it; mid-Americans do it, too. Those lucky enough to have weeks or months to escape the cold often go south in the winter.
Whether for a short jaunt or a home-away-from-home arrangement, making plans to accommodate your mail service is an important detail for a worry-free trip.
I live in the northeast and have many friends, relatives and family members who spend time down south. My parents escape as soon as the weather goes below 50 degrees, spending October through May in Florida. My dad’s mail option of choice is to use the USPS Regular Forward service. He goes online, files the temporary change of address (good for 15 days to 1 year of forwarding) and pays $1.05 on his credit card, for identification purposes.
My former boss just retired and this is her first extended stay in Florida; she’ll be gone for 2 months. She selected Premium Forwarding Service (PFS) to make sure she gets the majority of her mail while away. Once a week, her home Post Office will put her mail in a Priority Mail envelope and send it to her in Florida. The cost is $17 to enroll and $16 per week.
For me, I’ll take a week away from work to visit my parents in Florida. When I go, I use Hold Mail service, asking the Post Office to retain my mail until I return. Hold service is free and can be used up to 30 days.
All these options are available online at usps.com under the Track & Manage tab.
There’s nothing wrong with leaving the snow and cold behind for a short or long getaway. But make sure you make arrangements for your mail — depending on what service you use, it can snow-bird with you!