It is a tougher task than you may think. In the modern age, snail mail is taking a back seat to other forms of digital communication. However, there are still people who need snail mail. They rely on general delivery but finding a post office that accepts that type of mail is not always easy
That may be hard to determine but the USPS website gives you complete instructions on how to do this. Make sure you use 9999 after the zip code of the post office near you to make sure your letters find their way to the correct location.
To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can still get your mail when you travel around the country. Some full-timers really need this service.
One official website said that the USPS website would have this information. Unfortunately for those who wish to use this service, they do not list specific post offices that collect the general delivery mail.
According to their website and we quote “Currently, general delivery service is available at only one facility when under the administration of a multifacility Post Office. Prior to initiating service, customers should contact the destination Post Office to determine the authorized facility or facilities and applicable ZIP™ Code(s).”
We have not seen any updates or changes to this regulation. That means if you are going to a small town with one post office, that post office will accept general delivery letters and packages.
If you are going to a large city like Billings, then you need to contact the main post office and see which of their satellite offices handles this mail. There is no specific list that we can find on the USPS website.
Keep in mind, that when you use this service, the post office only holds the mail for 30 days. After that, it gets destroyed. There may be cities whose postmaster authorizes more than one facility to handle general delivery mail.
That may mean you have to make several stops until you find where your mail is sent to.
This is done on a city-by-city basis. When you know your route and the times you will be at each stop, you can have your mail addressed to the city that is the best place for your mail to travel to.
Then you have to contact the main post office in those cities to find out where the mail is being sent. If there is only one location then you will have an easy time finding your mail.
If there is more than one location, you may spend a little more time tracking your letters and picking them up. This is the best way for full-timers to receive their mail as they are never in one place that long, in many cases.
Getting your mail will take planning. The main USPS website does have a post office locator web page. All you have to do is put in the city name, the state it is in and zip code and you should find the main post office with ease.
There is also a range locator so you can pinpoint the exact location. The post office does not maintain a web page with all the addresses and contact information on it.
This is not possible as no one maintains such a list. With thousands of cities, towns, and rural locations it is impossible to maintain such a list. Even a list of the major cities that have post offices that collect general delivery mail would be hard to do. There are too many of them.
Also, if you read the above quote from the post office, the office that collects general delivery mail is up to the individual postmaster in each area. They may not publicize their post office as we checked the Las Vegas yellow pages.
That city directory lists different post offices but not what type of mail they collect. About the only way you can find out which post office does this service, is to call each individual main office and start recording the locations of those specific post offices.
Then you run into the problem of the Post Master changing the designation for whatever legitimate reason they may have. It would be far too time-consuming to keep an accurate record of such a list.
Keep in mind that there are about 34,000 post offices in the nation. Making up a list is possible, not practical.
This is the easiest part of using this service. All you have to do is have people who want to get a hold of you is:
1. place your name on the envelope
2. put the words general delivery underneath your name
3. place the city and state on the next line
4 put the zip code *****-9999 on the line following
5. then mail the letter
To receive mail through general delivery, you will need to have proper and current i.d. You may not get service if you do not present proper i.d. or have too much mail volume.
Your mail will be held for 30 days so make sure you arrive at your designated post office within that time frame. You can make special arrangements to have it held longer but any extension is up to the discretion of the postmaster.
You cannot pick up your mail on Sundays or holidays when the post office is closed. If you are going to be in the area for a long time, you can rent a post office box and be able to pick up your mail anytime 7 days a week. The lobby is always open.
Not everything is rosy when it comes to the Post Office and general delivery. Many RVers may have experienced some of these problems already and have found that retrieving their mail has become an adventure that is not always successful.
Keep in mind that these problems are not at every location. Here are some problems you should be aware of:
1. Parking- you may be sent to a section of the city that is overcrowded, like downtown, where parking is unavailable unless you pay for it in a parking lot.
2. Phone calls- you can phone ahead to get specific information, for example, pick-up hours, but you may find that no one answers the phone. If you get through make sure to ask all your questions so you know what to do when you arrive at the post office
3. Fees- there may be some offices that will charge you a fee for you to pick up your mail. When you call, make this one of your questions so you are not surprised when you arrive at the window. One fee may be a lack of postage on the part of the sender.
4. Restrictions- some post offices place restrictions on pick up. You will have some requirements to meet before the office worker hands your mail over to you. Again, make this one of your questions so you can prepare in advance.
Also, ask if there is a limit on the number of packages you can receive at that location. You may not be able to pick up FedEx or USPS packages at general delivery.
The address is simple. Here is an example of what your letters should look like:
John B. Smith
That is all you need to get your letters sent to you. Make sure all your senders use the exact postage as this service costs the same as if you were sending a letter to a traditional address.
The postage is the same because the post office still has to sort and handle the mail. Your senders need to be aware that they have to have the mail weighed, including packages or large envelopes, pay the postage, and then send it off to you.
If they don’t do that, you can expect to be asked to pay the postage due when you go to pick up the letter, etc. Don’t worry the speed of your mail delivery does not slow down because it is going to general delivery.
All you have to do is go to the designated post office that handles general delivery service and present proper i.d. Your mail should be handed to you as soon as it is found. That is the ideal.
There may be a few problems, for example, a lack of proper postage, etc., that you may have to pay or some other restriction but that should not delay you too much.
The key to using this service is not to abuse it. If you are expecting a large amount of mail, then pick it up right away. The post office has limited space and picking your mail up as soon as possible helps other people get their mail.
Or try to have your senders send your mail in one large envelope to save space as well as to keep some letters from getting lost. Saving the post office worker time is always appreciated.
Do your best to work with the post office so that they will be more inclined to provide you with better service.
1. General Delivery
- usually is a free service
-can accept all your mail no matter where you are in the country
-accepts packages including UPS or other alternatives (depending on location and other details)
- not always open, closed Sundays and Holidays
- is easy to use
2. Post Office box
- may not be available. Boxes are rented on a first come first served basis
- can be expensive to rent
- can only accept mail at 1 location
- open 7 days a week and even on holidays
When you want to use this service there are things to do and questions to ask before you give the post office zip code and location to your senders.
The first thing to do is to plan your route and see when you will be in those areas. Then plan on having your mail sent to the post office in the most convenient location. Make sure to give the mail enough time to get there.
Then plan on picking up your mail as soon as possible after you arrive at that location. Here are some questions to ask when you phone the main post office in those locations:
1. Where do I go to pick up my general delivery mail?
2. When can I pick up my mail? (hours of service)
3. Are there any restrictions on receiving general delivery mail?
4. Will there be any additional fees attached to my mail?
5. Is there any restriction on the size and number of letters I can receive?
6. Do you accept packages from UPS, FedEx, Amazon, and so on?
You may think of some other questions. These are just the most important ones you should ask. Getting general delivery mail is a convenience that some people will abuse. Just be careful with your mail deliveries.
If it is an important package, etc., you are expecting, it may be better to have it sent to a friend or relative’s home that is near you.
As a full-time RVer, getting your mail may be difficult. General Delivery is there to help you out. You will find this service across the nation and where you pick the mail up is determined by the local postmaster, not the post office administration.
There are no lists and you will have to call the main post office in the area you are going to get your mail delivered.