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Here Comes the Postman: How to Get Mail When You’re on the Road

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Technology has revolutionised much of our lives, but not all caravan mail can be delivered over the internet; we still need to use ‘snail mail’ to get letters and important documents delivered to us, wherever we are.
Likewise, package forwarding while on the road is almost inevitable: how else will you retrieve something left behind at the last caravan park, or collect those new glasses that didn’t arrive before you were due to move on? Forwarding mail is a tricky business when you’re travelling, especially if you’re not following a strict route or schedule.
Here are some ways you can have your forwarding mail and read it, too.
Have someone collect your mail
If you’re just going for a couple of weeks and don’t expect anything crucial, you’ll probably just organise the local post office to hold the mail until you’re back.
If you’re planning on a longer trip, however, you might need to have someone collect your mail and deal with it.

  • If you have family or close friends living nearby, arrange for them to check your mailbox regularly.
  • Alternatively, set up a redirection with the Post Office so all your mail goes to a friend’s address. They can then let you know what has arrived and open or forward it to you, as appropriate.

This will only really work if you trust your friend/relative implicitly, and if they are going to be consistently available and are happy to keep doing it over time.
Poste restante
When you need to have something forwarded to you, set a place and time for it. Plan where you’re going to be and arrange for the mail to be forwarded to that place; it could be a caravan park or even newsagent, but you will need to make prior arrangements with the recipient so they expect it.
Any Australia Post office or kiosk will hold mail that has the notation “POSTE RESTANTE” displayed until the recipient collects it. This is handy when you know you will be travelling through a particular town or city but don’t yet have an accommodation address there.
Your mail should be addressed:
[Your given name + FAMILY NAME in caps]
Poste Restante
[TOWN] [State] [Postcode]
When you arrive there, the mail will be waiting for you at the nominated post office – just rock up and present some form of identification and it will be handed over. Remember to always allow plenty of time if the post office is in a remote location.
Use a forwarding service
If you’re going to be away for more than just a few months and are expecting a lot of mail, it might be worthwhile signing up with a mail-forwarding service.
For a fee (usually around $20 a month, plus the cost of postage) most services will hold your letters and parcels until you let them know a forwarding address, then they arrange for it to be sent there. If you like, you can instruct them to open and scan your mail and forward it to you in an email.
Here’s how it works:

  1. You sign up to the service and pay an upfront fee.
  2. You give the service provider’s address to Australia Post, friends and family as your forwarding address.
  3. The service will hold your mail until they hear from you.
  4. When you know where you’re going to be, you ring or send an email to give the service the forwarding address.
  5. They then send the mail out via ordinary mail, Express Post or Registered Mail, as requested.

Here are a few Australia-wide forwarding services you might try:
Pass the Post
Trail Mail
Post Haste Australia
SOS Mail
Aussie Mailman
After a few months away you’ll usually find your regular mail slows down to a trickle ­­– all you’ll really need will be utility bills and possibly vehicle registration or licence renewal forms.
But for peace of mind, having arrangements in place with either a forwarding service or trusted friend will mean that you always receive mail that is important.
Planning to do the Big Lap soon? Here’s some invaluable advice from people who’ve already been there.

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