If you are traveling the world for any good length of time, chances are that you’ll still be wanting or needing to receive some physical mail at some point. Whether it is a check, a bill, or all those birthday cards from your Aunt Pauline, a physical mailing address is still a necessity these days.
But if you are traveling the world, you can’t be bothered to return home to receive your mail. Sending it to a relatives house is a possibility but not always ideal. Fortunately there are several options available, all of them relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
Imagine being able to check your physical mail online just like you check your emails already.
There have emerged several services that will receive your mail, just like a P.O. box, then scan the labels or contents and send them to your email in-box.
It really is that simple! And while many of these services have similar features, the service that I have experience with is Virtual Post Mail. I’ve had an account with them for over a year now and have yet to have a hiccup.
So how does it work?
With Virtual Post Mail, you sign up, pick a P.O. box number, then start sending or forwarding mail to it. However, to comply with US law, they are required to verify your identity. So you’ll need to prove your current address with a USPS Form 1583, which involves having the form notarized. It’s a little bit of a hassle, especially if you are already on the go, but once it’s set up you are golden.
Now comes the fun part, once you are signed up and paid up (subscriptions start at five dollars USD), you will start receiving emails of new physical mail. You can have have very granular control over which envelopes get automatically scanned, which get opened then scanned, and which get trashed immediately using their “smart address'”. Which is basically just adding a specific letter to the end of your P.O. Box number that tells them what to do with it.
In addition, they can receive packages and forward them to you anywhere in the world. This obviously costs more, but can be quite useful if you simply must receive something where the sender can’t send internationally. Not only this, but they can deposit checks for you. Yep, you can receive and deposit checks at a physical mailing address while you travel the world.
While the websites of these companies are often a little clunky, it seems that they are genuinely doing their best to bridge the old world and the new by giving you a fairly straightforward interface to receive your physical mail while on the go. Virtual Post Mail is even working on a mobile site that will allow you to check your physical mail from your phone. Think about that. 2015 is a crazy time to be alive people.