Many aspiring long-term travelers worry about how to manage their mail as a digital nomad, traveler, or even expat. Without a home base, how do you receive your letters? Luckily, this isn’t as complicated as you may think. Handling mail when traveling is actually quite easy. Check out the following tips that show you how you can make sure you receive important mail as a digital nomad and learn about the best and cheapest virtual mailbox services.
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Tips for Managing Your Mail as a Digital Nomad
Let’s start with a few tips that you should do regarding your mail before you start your long-term trip or embark on your digital nomad lifestyle.
Tip Number 1: Quit Contracts
One of the things that should be on your preparation checklist before you start a digital nomad life, is to quit all of the contracts that you don’t need anymore when traveling.
By that, I mean things such as the weekly newspapers, gym memberships, golf club, local internet or landline provider, or any other services or products that are bound to your current location.
Once you have quit all of these contracts, the amount of mail you receive will reduce significantly.
Tip Number 2: Receive Your Mail Online
The best thing you can do is go through your mail for the last couple of weeks or even months. Write down, who is sending you mail and why.
Then go on the internet and see if they offer an online customer account. If so, you have very often the opportunity to change your settings from receiving mail to receiving emails instead.
If you only receive promotional mail, this is also a good time to opt-out from this sort of information (if you are not interested in the offers).
If you can’t find anything online for a particular provider, simply give them a call or send them an email. Explain, that you will be moving abroad and the only way to stay in touch with you is via sending your emails.
Bonus tip: If you receive a lot of mail, create a separate email address only for your former physical mail. This can help you stay organized and makes it easier to find letters again at a later point.
Tip Number 3: Redirect Your Mail to Friends or Family
Some services or institutions might not be able to switch from physical mail to email either because of legal requirements or technical restrictions (think of location tax offices, citizen centers, etc.).
In these cases, you might have a family member or a good friend where you can redirect your mail to. They can open the letters for you or store them until you are back in town again.
You could either change your address directly with the applicable institution or get a change of address order, for instance with USPS, if you are in the USA.
Also, pay attention to your local laws! If you want to leave your home country permanently you probably don’t want to pay income taxes there either. To be tax-exempt, some countries require you to cut ALL ties. That could also include that you are not allowed to be able to receive mail regularly anymore. Make sure to double-check that.
Tip Number 4: PO Boxes or Mailbox Rentals
If you can’t redirect your mail to family or friends, you could also look into PO boxes or mailbox rentals, for instance with USPS again. You only need to make sure they are big enough to hold your entire mail until you (or a friend or family member) can pick it up.
Another downside is that you won’t notice if you receive important mail. Depending on your travel plans it might take weeks or months until you can check your mail again. That means you are in danger of missing important deadlines or notices.
Tip Number 5: Coworking Spaces or Dedicated Office Services
Many coworking spaces don’t only offer a place to work and connect with like-minded people but are also happy to help you with your mail. The same goes for dedicated office spaces in big cities.
You can send your mail to their address and they will either store it for you and/or open your mail and inform you.
You could either get such service in your home country or in the country you are going to travel to.
Tip Number 6: Virtual Mailbox Services
Virtual Mailbox services are one of the most popular options for receiving mail as a digital nomad, traveler, or expat.
How Do Virtual Mailboxes Work?
Virtual Mailboxes are services, that receive your mail, take a photo of the exterior, and upload it to your personal digital mailbox. You can then decide if you want the mail to be open, to be stored, or to be shredded.
In case you want it to be opened, a person will open the letter, scan and upload it, so you can read it online. These services also guarantee a maximum level of privacy and security.
Afterward, you can decide what is going to happen to the opened mail. Do you want it all to be shredded and you only keep the scanned version or do you want it to be shipped to an address of your choice?
Some services also offer you to receive and open packages from certain carriers.
Bonus tip: Start using this service a few weeks before you leave. This gives you time to see if the redirection works and if you are happy with the services provided.
Best Virtual Mailbox Services for Travel
Generally speaking, you should check for your particular country, if the virtual mailbox supports addresses in that region. Here is a list of some of the best virtual mailbox services for digital nomads:
Country: Australia, USA, etc.
Price: AUD 19.99 – AUD 25.99 p.m.
Anytime Mailbox is probably one of the most popular virtual mailbox services in Australia. And not only Down Under. This company provides addresses in many other countries, too, such as the USA, Hong Kong, Canada, India, UK, or Malaysia. Prices vary depending on the location you choose.
Their cloud-based secure platform enables you to view and manage your mail 24/7, anywhere in the world. You can use Anytime Mailbox from many different devices like PC, Mac, Android, Apple, tablet, and even smartwatches.
Earth Class Mail
Price: USD 19 – USD 79 for individuals and small offices, USD 139 – USD 1,029 for business and enterprises
Earth Class Mail is one of the best virtual mailbox services for digital nomads or remote professionals. And there is a reason for it: Earth Class Mail offers the entire package.
You get your mail scanned, forwarded, or shredded for you. They also have an automated check deposit which means you can get paid faster and save time. If you want, you can connect Earth Class Mail with popular services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, bill.com, or Xero.
That all comes with a very modern and intuitive interface.
Country: Canada, USA, etc.
Price: USD 9.99 – USD 39.99 p.m.
iPostal1 has addresses in quite a few countries, for instance, Canada, the USA, China, UK, Italy, or Singapore. Here you get a full-service digital mailbox that allows you to receive, forward, scan, and recycle your mail. If you want to, you can also pick up your mail from one of their locations.
The reason why they are one of the best virtual mailbox services for Canada is the fact that iPostal1 also offers a virtual office where you can forward calls, get digitalized voice mail messages, or add fax.
Price: USD 9.95 – USD 24.95 p.m.
PostScan Mail is another very popular and cheap virtual mailbox service for digital nomads. This service allows you to manage your mail remotely from anywhere in the world.
You can scan and forward your mail 24/7. The mail storage is free for 30 days. You can also add multiple users to your account which allows your family to get access to your mail, too, or team members, in case you want to use it as a business address.
On top of that, you can set filters to automate your online mail management and move certain mail to folder or request automated operations.
Price: USD 15 – USD 55 p.m.
Traveling Mailbox allows you to have your mail opened, scanned, forwarded, or saved to popular services such as Evernote or Google Drive. You can redirect your mail to one of 25+ available addresses across the United States. This doesn’t have to be an address that is near you but simply one that you prefer.
On top of that Traveling Mailbox can filter junk mail and deposit checks. Looking at the prices, Traveling Mailbox is surely one of the cheapest virtual mailbox services in the USA.
Price: USD 20 – USD 90 p.m.
Another very popular virtual mailbox service in the USA: VirtualPostMail. Each plan comes with a certain number of free scans and free recipients but you can always add more if needed at an extra fee.
You get a commercial address, can forward packages, deposit checks, and get 60-day physical mail storage. Also, you don’t have to pay a setup fee, can cancel anytime and at no fee, and get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
UK Post Box
Price: from GBP 12 p.m., or free plan
UK Post Box is one of the best virtual mailbox services in the UK. With this service, you can get a personal or business address in the UK, no matter where you are currently roaming around.
What makes UK Post Box so special is the fact that they offer free PO box addresses. Apart from this free service, you can also get a registered office address, royal mail redirection, customers returns, and even fulfillment and dropshipping.
US Global Mail
Price: USD 9.95 – USD 14.95 for personal plans, USD 24.95 for business plans
US Global Mail is not only an established company with 10+ years of expertise but also one of the cheapest virtual mailbox services for digital nomads out there.
Again, you get the usual services, such as scanning, forwarding, shredding, or saving your mail. Depending on the plan you get 45-180 days of free mail storage.
What makes this company so special is the fact that they plant a tree for every new member sign up. Their mission is to plant 100,000,000 trees, which is by the way the number of trees that get cut to print junk mail every year. Fantastic idea!
Tip Number 7: Local Address in Your Destination Countries
Sometimes it is not enough to have someone else open your mail for you and inform you about the content remotely. On some occasions, you may need to receive your mail in person.
Let’s say you have lost your credit card and need to receive a new one from your bank. Or you need to receive important documents to sign them.
In these cases, you need to have a physical address that you can access in the country you are currently living or traveling in.
Again, you can ask if you could send that mail to a nearby coworking space or maybe to the hotel you are staying in. Also, check with some local post offices as they might be willing to help you out.
Receiving Important Mail as Digital Nomad – Easy!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways on how you can manage your mail as a digital nomad, traveler, or expat.
- I recommend you to sort out your mail at first. Do you really need to receive mail from a certain company or not?
- If not, unsubscribe. If yes, see if you can switch to emails instead of physical mail. That makes things much easier.
- For the remaining mail, either get a redirection to one of your friends or family or get a virtual mailbox service.
- If you need to receive important mail in the country you are currently living or traveling in, check with hotels, coworking spaces, or local post office if they are willing to receive it for you.
I hope that these tips help you to prepare your new digital nomad lifestyle even better. If you want to learn more about how to become a digital nomad, what to prepare, and how to make the best of this lifestyle, check out my eBook “Become a Digital Nomad” which is jam-packed with information.