You have done all of your vacation planning. You and your family are ready to go, but it feels like you have forgotten something. Your mail! UPS! FedEx! Oh my! You need to make sure to put a hold on all of your deliveries! Is that hard to do? Fortunately, it is all pretty simple.
We have been traveling as a family for years. Everyone loves to plan the trip elements! Searching for that perfect hotel. Locating that restaurant everyone is buzzing about. However, it is the less glamorous parts of vacation planning that are often forgotten but just as important. We have these “administrative tasks” as part of our planning process to ensure all parts of our trip is a success.
In the following sections, we will cover all processes of how to make sure packages and mail don’t pile up at your home while you travel. In addition to those items, we will cover a couple related items to make your home look like it isn’t vacant.
This is probably the most important service to put on hold. Most people still get plenty of mail daily (even though most of it is junk!). It would only take a few days for the mailbox to fill up and overflow. Luckily USPS makes putting your mail on hold very easy. Simply go to USPS.com and click the “Hold Mail” icon.
From there, you will sign in to your USPS account. If you have not created an account, you will create one now. It is free to do and will have you verify your identity. This step is simple. Once done, you will not have to do this again.
Once signed in, you will select when you would like your mail hold to start and choose the end date. USPS will allow you to have your mail help for up to 30 days. When you return home, you will simply go to your local Post Office and pick up all of your held mail. So easy!
FedEx allows you to request packages to be held for up to 14 days. Your packages will be delivered on the next business day after your hold request ends. FedEx makes requesting a vacation hold very simple. It can be done on the web, however I find it easier to do from the FedEx app.
Log into the app (or create your account if you are a first time user). Once logged in, you will go to Settings>FedEx Delivery Manager>Vacation Hold and then enter your dates. Beyond doing vacation holds, the FedEx app is actually a great tool that lets you know when packages are coming, change delivery dates, create shipments and more.
In the past, UPS did not have a traditional vacation hold service. Your only option was to log in to their site and manually change the delivery date of any package that is being sent to you. That has changed though, and UPS does allow a vacation hold, however theirs is limited to seven days. After your hold is over, your packages will be delivered within three days of your return. Setting your hold is simple. Again, I prefer to use the app, but of course you can use their website also. You do need to have a UPS account, which is free to set up.
On the app you will choose Menu>Preferences>Delivery Hold Request then choose your dates and submit. Similar to the FedEx app, the UPS app also allows you to track all packages that are scheduled to be delivered to your home, create shipments and more.
We can all agree that Amazon does one thing incredibly well…delivering the majority of their products within days (sometimes even hours). For being such an amazing logistics company, it is maddening that they are the only major delivery service that does not offer any kind of vacation hold.
The obvious solution to this is to simply not order anything prior to leaving for vacation. The exception to this is if you have items ordered through their Subscribe and Save service. For these items, you will need to log in to your Amazon account and manually change the delivery date. Not ideal, but it works.
Yes I realize it is 2022. Yes, some people still have newspapers delivered to their homes. If you are one of these physical news delivery hold outs, be sure to call your newspaper customer line and have them hold your paper until you get home.
Other Tips and Tricks
The primary reason we do all of the above processes is to make sure your home doesn’t look like it is abandoned while you are enjoying your tropical vacation. Nothing screams “Hey criminals, look at my overflowing mailbox and stack of packages at my door! Come break in!”
If you haven’t made the leap to having a smart home or having smart appliances yet, there are some great devices that allow you to create programmable schedules for lamps and lights. This one is less than $20, is highly rated, and is stackable if you want to schedule multiple lights or devices.
We also highly suggest getting a Ring doorbell. These things are awesome. You can tell when anyone comes to or even near your door. The video is high quality. They even allow you to speak to whomever is at your door, giving the appearance that someone is home. Very helpful!
If all else fails, hopefully you can rely on a trusted neighbor to look over your home while you are away. We are lucky to have several great neighbors that we can rely on to put an extra set of eyes on our home when we are away!
Not all aspects of travel are glamorous or fun. Some things are tedious but a necessary task. We put this guide together as a means to remind others that a good trip can be ruined if you come home to a home break in. The break in could have easily been avoided by taking a few simple steps prior to leaving. Most thieves are opportunists. They look for the obvious signs of homeowners being away. Those signs are overflowing mailboxes. Packages left at the front door for days. Windows that stay dark every night.
Follow our easy to follow guides to putting your mail and packages on hold…and focus more time on the fun part of vacation planning and prep!