handling mail

Dec 20th, 2004, 05:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
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handling mail

In the past when we have traveled in our rv, a friend forwarded mail to us at various relative's homes. However, this was in the US.

We really need to be able to get mail at least once or twice when we are in France. Is this possible?..we will be in Paris the last ten days so that one is no problem as we will have the hotel name, but what about when we are "all over". Is there a way to get it at a PO like we do in the States?..

Your thoughts?...

Thank you for all the attention...

loisco is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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I'm not sure what to tell you. Having mail forwarded to Europe is not easy or quick.

All I know is, I go for up to 5 months at a time and never worry about my mail. It takes a little planning, but in this day and age what mail do you really need? Nearly any bills can be found on line. I can pay utility bills, credit card statements, even taxes if I want on line, or set up for direct bill pay with my bank.

If you're waiting for anything really important in the mail, I'd be very concerned about trying to have it forwarded to Europe.
Patrick is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 06:28 PM
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I also agree with above that I would never depend on getting mail forwarded to some place in Europe while I was on vacation. I can't think of anything that would require that, or any possible piece of mail one would have to receive while on vacation. I think you said you were going for seven weeks, which isn't that long (I could maybe see it for six months or more, but probably not even then). To be honest, there is no normal mail I receive any more that I would have to have a hardcopy of. When I go for a long time, I pay bills ahead of time or make some other arrangements (online for some, but I don't really use that a lot). You can just pay two months payment or something, that's what I do.

However, I know most about Paris or France. I suppose it works anywhere, but I think you can have mail forwaded to an American Express office if you have an account with them. I don't think they even guarantee that, however.

In France, you can have mail sent to a post office's address and they will hold it for you until pickup if it is addressed to "poste restante" and the post office's specific address. You need proper ID to pick it up, but I think anyone can do this (not just local residents). I would never do that myself. First, you'd have to find out the post office's accurate address, and then I wouldn't trust it for anything important. If it's not important, why bother.
Christina is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 06:35 PM
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loisco, Hi, is there a possiblity that you can have a family member or close friend get your mail for you. And than you can call them at a certain time each week. And they can tell you what mail has arrived etc.

I know a lot of people pay their bills online but personally there is almost something once a week in the mail I need to know about, besides bills.
LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 09:16 PM
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Years ago I picked up my mail at American Express in Paris but other places will be a problem unless you know way in advance where you can have the mail forwarded. It may be easier to make phone calls to get what you need to read.
Dec 20th, 2004, 09:26 PM
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I can't think of any paper mail that couldn't be taken care of online...if there is anything, then definately go with the previous suggestion to have someone else open the mail for you and then they can send you email about the contents. This would be much simpler and safer than trying to have it forwarded.
margyb is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 10:05 PM
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As the others say, chasing your mail around France for 7 weeks will be a real hassle. My longest single trip (w/o a break in the middle) was 6 1/2 weeks and all my mail was just fine sitting at home waiting for me.

Can't imagine what mail you would need to get -- but if it is something urgent that needs a signature - a relative or friend can fax the document to you, you can sign it and fax it back. Otherwise forget about trying to receove snail mail during your trip.
janis is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 10:33 PM
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There is no really reliable way to get mail forwarded to you in Europe, other than a friend collecting your mail from your P.O. and then sending it via DHL or Fed Ex to your hotel in Paris. Mail takes a considerably long time once it leaves the U.S. - the P.O. averages say it can take up to 10 days once it is in the designated country to get to the destination (and even longer!) It took over 2 weeks to get a package sent to me from the U.S. in France 9 months ago because was held up in Paris with Customs (and this is 3 years post-9/11).

I would recommend going with either of those express carriers as they are well-known in Europe, especially DHL, and they will get your package of mail delivered on time (vs. snail mail).
Huitres is offline  
Dec 21st, 2004, 12:29 AM
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If you have something coming in the mail that is THAT important I suggest you either resolve it prior to departure (paying bills in advance) or have someone behind intercept what is important and deal with it.

I think burdening yourself with forwarded mail to Europe is a big mistake, period.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2004, 03:44 AM
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Hi lois,

I believe that you will be away for 7 weeks.

If you are concerned about paying bills you can arrange with your bank to give a limited "power of attorney" to a trusted person who could then write checks on your account.

You could also add a trusted person to your account.

If your hotels have fax machines you could have important mail faxed to you.
ira is offline  
Dec 21st, 2004, 06:48 AM
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As mentioned above, the best way to get your mail would be to have someone collect it, package it up and send it UPS/FEDEX/DHL. It would be easiest to set up an account ahead of time with one of the companies.
Figure out WHAT you need to be sent to you- do you really want 6 weeks worth of stuff sent to you? Credit cards and bank statements can be viewed online and bills paid via direct debit.

Don't forget that you'll then nned to carry around everything that it sent to you- and paper can get quite heavy!

Try collecting all of your mail for the next six weeks to figure out what you'll typically need to deal with.
highledge is offline  
Dec 21st, 2004, 08:21 AM
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Easy! Open a MailBoxEtc/UPS account at a Europe location ahead of time and use this address. Go to their website for help
Dec 21st, 2004, 09:05 AM
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That is exactly what I was going to say Fairhope !,...my parents, who travel in their rv, use a box at a Mail Boxes etc. and got it in a town where a trusted friend will check it and only forward when requested, plus this is their "legal" address in the States. Otherwise they do everything online..I was going to suggest seeing if they had those in Europe...
Wednesday is offline  
Dec 21st, 2004, 10:40 AM
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Hi loisco,

Assuming you can trust this friend to open your mail, you could have them scan important pieces to you. They could always block out account numbers and personal information through an image editor. Then, they could e-mail it to you.

Another option would be to set up someone with power of attorney so they can act on your behalf. My dad this this when he went on 3 and 4 month long trips. My brother handled all of Dad's mail and could act on dad's behalf for anything that came up.

The key, of course, is having someone you can trust.

SharonNRayMc is offline  
Dec 21st, 2004, 07:13 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. We already pay bills online but there are other personal financial matters relating to property we own which may come up. We will look into the box at Mail Boxes.
loisco is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2004, 06:23 AM
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Hi Lois,

>...there are other personal financial matters relating to property we own which may come up.<

Have you considered giving your correspondents your itinerary with fax numbers for hotels and having them fax you?
ira is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2004, 07:26 AM
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>...there are other personal financial matters relating to property we own which may come up.<

I guess my question is how serious or important can these issues be if the person was trying to contact you by mail? Even before email there were telephones for quicker response!

Two years ago we left for Europe just after listing a rental property for sale. We got all the offers, contracts, etc. by fax, having provided hotel and fax numbers to the realtor. We had a successful closing while we were gone. It isn't that hard, and I can't imagine doing such things by mail.
Patrick is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:14 AM
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I still wouldn't advise it because for something important, I just don't see how in a seven week trip you are going to predict exactly where you want to be at one point in time that will match identically the dates some things come up.

The only really important papers I've had in the mail were some legal documents that required signing from a lawyer, and then had to be returned by a certain date (due to the settlement of an estate). Actually, they didn't have to be returned by that date, just wanted them. But I would never have something important like that forwarded to some Mailbox in Europe because you don't know how long it will take to get there, and then how long to get back.

Anyone can communicate by phone or email about problems coming up. If some papers need signing by a certain date, I would then advise you have the papers sent Global Priority or Fedex or some special courrier service to a specific address where you know you will be at that point. The papers can be FAXed also, although they might need the signed ones in hardcopy. I would never just have a lot of mail automatically forwarded to some mailbox in Europe.

I suspect you probably don't need papers signed, anyway, though, it was just a thought.
Christina is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:22 AM
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If you're going to be away for 7 weeks, buy a cell phone when you get there (plus whatever SIM cards you'll need)that offers e-mail and web access services. That way, anyone can contact you by phone or e-mail no matter where you are, what the time difference, etc., and you can immediately contact them back.
StCirq is online now  

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