The Dniester River with Moldova on the left and Transnistria on the right. Photo taken December 10, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Soroca, Moldova.

Where are they going next? Back to Chisinau, Moldova on Tuesday. Then the Wednesday overnight train back to Bucharest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to collect your Amazon packages while on the road

A lot of people buy through Amazon.com, but when you're living and traveling in your RV it's not always that easy to order and be able to list a delivery address.

Sure, a lot of campgrounds will allow you to have packages delivered...but what do you do when you don't stay at very many campgrounds?

Well I found out yesterday that there is a way! At least for most items.

When I was trying to figure this out, the first thing that made the most sense was to use General Delivery and have the item shipped to the post office in the next town where you plan on being in a couple of days. Well that works well for packages that are sent through the postal system.

However, when you place an order through Amazon, the system doesn't allow you to specify which shipping medium is used. It could be the postal service, or it could be UPS or some other courier service.

Here's what it says in the FAQ section of the Amazon.com website...

The U.S. Postal Service does not deliver to some addresses. If you also have a PO Box address, it's best to use that address for your Amazon.com orders. All orders with "PO BOX" in the address are automatically shipped via U.S. Mail.

If a post office box address was entered in a format our system does not recognize, the package may be shipped through a carrier that cannot deliver to a post office box. To ensure that such packages are routed through the proper carriers, please enter the box number as "PO BOX" followed by the number. 

The only time this won't work is when the item is too large for USPS postal standards. That would be any item over 108 inches in circumference, or over 70 lbs.

So, when you want to have something shipped while you're on the road, find the address of a small town postal station and have it sent General Delivery for pickup at that station. The post office is obligated to hold it for you for 30 days.

Here's an example of how it should be addressed...

Kevin Read
PO BOX General Delivery
Mesquite, NV
89024-9999

(The add on zip code -9999 must be used for general delivery.)

So now, you can shop to your heart's content!

Click here to shop at Amazon.com



34 comments:

  1. Thanks Kevin. We use Amazon all the time and have run into just this problem.

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    1. Hope it helps you out next time you make an order.

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  2. I will give this a shot on my next Amazon order, and report back.

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    1. Look forward to hearing how it goes.

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  3. Once again, another great tip! Thanks so much!

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  4. This will be fantastic if it works! We have wasted so much time with Amazon on this exact issue. We tried many different ways of addressing, but have not yet tried the "PO BOX General Delivery". We've used the GD service many times, but only when we knew we could specify USPS. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. We are trying this out ourselves for a delivery when we arrive back to the Las Vegas area so we are hoping that it works as well. I am sure that we will report back on how the experience went.

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  5. BTW I would not rely on the post office holding any GD package for 30 days. On several occasions I have been told that unclaimed mail would be returned to sender after as few as 7 days. The official regs state "up to 30 days".

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    1. Thanks for the heads up on that Dugg!

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  6. Some of my experiences. All post offices don't except general delivery.One post office in Capshaw,AL sent my package back the day it came in because they said they didn't know me.I think the local post master does what they want to.

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    1. I guess that is when Robin's (commentor below) suggestion of calling the Post Office ahead of time, would be helpful.

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  7. Great info! I am just wondering if a quick call to whatever post office one is thinking of using for general delivery would be smart...just to give them a heads up? Thoughts? Great blog! Robin Shaw. Www.wearetheshaws.blogspot.com

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    1. Sounds like a good idea to call the post office ahead of time to make them aware that a parcel is coming in marked as general delivery under your name. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  8. I have a question for you...what do you do with your blog posts so that all of the titles show for the current month? I can't find an option for this on Blogger! TIA. Robinshaw1961@gmail.com

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    1. Not quite sure what you mean. Our blog archives on the right hand column comes up like that automatically but there may be a certain setting for it to do that. I have noticed that most blogs come up that way. Kevin will email you and find out exactly what you mean and then try to tell you how to set it up.

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  9. Great info on the Amazon shopping!!!..you are just a wealth of information!

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    1. Thank you Sue and Doug, hope you will find it helpful.

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  10. Thanks for the tip Kevin, you are a wealth of information. Good advice on calling the PO Robin.

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    1. Thanks Sherry and yes, Robin's idea was a good one too!

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  11. Great info! I will use that when we travel next year.

    This year, while we were gone for 6 weeks, I ordered from our grandkids fundraiser catalogs and after completing the checking out process and paying, I got confirmation by FedEx that it was the carrier! ACK! I didn't want three boxes setting out on our front steps for weeks on end. Sooo I had to pester my neighbor for days on end to keep looking for the boxes for me. Turns out Fed Ex decided mid stream to have them rerouted and sent via the post office instead of delivering themselves to our door (without notifying me) .... so the boxes all ended up at the post office where our normal mail was being held while we were gone. Arggghhhh my poor neighbor each day was checking for those boxes from Fed Ex.


    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
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    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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    1. Glad it all worked out in the end but how frustrating that must have been.

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  12. Thanks so much for the tip! We ordered a package from Amazon last summer while traveling and specified General Delivery, but it ended up being shipped by UPS. I was freaking out. Fortunately I was able to change the address on the UPS site and have it delivered to the house where we were staying (Airbnb), but it was nerve-racking. Glad to see there's a way to ensure that an Amazon package actually goes out USPS.

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    1. We will let you know how this works after we try it out ourselves, unless we hear from other readers who have tried it out. It certainly sounds like it should work.

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  13. Interesting trick. Did it work for you? The only times I can see this potentially becoming a problem is for post offices that also have PO boxes within their building. They might reject a PO BOX that is not assigned, regardless of General Delivery also being in the address. Just speculation here.

    As others have said make sure to check the USPS website to ensure the office you're shipping to accepts GD (not all do) and also check pick-up times (some are specific days/hours only for GD). I've used GD for 5 years and have never had to use the -99999 add-on (and no post office has ever asked me to add it) so not sure that's needed.

    Would love to know how this works for you!

    Nina

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    1. We are in the process of testing the "trick". Yes, we'll keep you updated.

      According to the USPS website, When sending to general delivery, the optional ZIP+4 portion of the ZIP code is -9999.

      Nowhere can I find if the addition of this code is mandatory as part of the address, but I can only think that the four digit extensions exist to help the postal service do their job, so using it can only improve the odds of a package being delivered correctly.

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  14. We have used this trick many times but this last time, sending stuff to Buffalo, NY we had an issue; they began returning things that came via USPS as we had not "applied" for the use of general delivery. We have done this in large cities like Austin, TX and small towns at least a dozen times with NO issue but suddenly now. We will be in Buffalo in two days to get our stuff and apparently have to fill in the paperwork then to be able to receive what they did not reject. Huge bummer as many of these items are Christmas gifts! baa humbug Uncle Sam!

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    1. Kevin did mention in the post to pick small town Post Offices for the best results, having said that there are also a couple commenters that suggest you call the Post Office first to find out if they will accept a General Delivery package. Maybe because you used a large city Post Office is what made the difference. I hope your packages can get to you before Christmas.

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    2. Yes, calling first is the way to go. I had one Post Office in Wyoming tell me I had to fill out a form before they would accept GD mail for me, and would return it if they didn't have one on file. Most others have been either "yes, we accept GD" or "no, we don't do that here". One in NM made me fill out the form before they'd give me that package.

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    3. Sure would simplify things if they were standardized, huh? I guess that's too much to ask!

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  15. The larger truck stops ( ie. Loves, Pilot, Flying J ) will also hold mail for you.

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    1. First time that we have heard that you can do that, thanks for letting us know. It is always good to know about other options.

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  16. Have you any definite response either positive or negative to using this format for delivery to PO Box? I enjoy your blog.

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    1. We have used this method several times now in different parts of the US and have always gotten our package without any problems. We have only used small town post offices though and have heard that this works better than big city ones. Hope this helps. :-)

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