How To Set Up A USPS Vacation Mail Hold

Taking a vacation is an exciting time, but having mail piling up in your mailbox can be an unnecessary headache. Setting up a mail hold while you're away is a great way to ensure that you won't be inundated with mail once you return from your travels and you won't send up any red flags to would-be criminals that you're not home. Luckily the United States Postal Service (USPS) actually offers a free Hold MailĀ® service that will keep your mail for up to 30 days.

To take advantage of this service, here's what you need to do. First, you'll want to register for an account with the USPS. Once you've done that, head to the Hold Mail page which is listed in the drop-down menu under Quick Tools at the top of the USPS website. You'll need to go through a verification process to prove your identity but once that's done, you're ready to set up your mail hold. You can set this up 30 days to even just one day in advance of your travel.

What to do if you're traveling for more than 30 days

When planning a vacation that is longer than 30 days, mail forwarding to a friend or family member's home is another option to consider. Mail forwarding allows mail from an existing address to be sent on to a new address for a small fee of $1.10 for identity verification. You can do this by heading to the USPS change of address website and you will select either a permanent or temporary address change. Once you complete the online form your mail will be rerouted to your new address piece by piece.

If you know you'll be traveling or away for six months or more you can also sign up for extended mail forwarding. For the service, you'll pay $19.95 for the six-month option; $29.95 for the 12-month option; and $39.95 for the 18-month option. Keep in mind this is a temporary solution and you cannot forward mail indefinitely after 18 months of using the service. So, best to find another solution or change your address permanently at some point.