Woman sailing with pile of mail

How to Get Mail Sailing Around the World

Sailing around the world can be an exciting adventure. However, there’s one detail that many people forget to consider. How will they get all that junk mail that comes almost daily to the mailbox outside their house? The truth is, most people aren’t concerned about how they will get mail while sailing.

However, there will likely come a time when an essential document arrives, and they’ll need someone to send it to them. So how do you get mail when sailing around the world?

Let’s dive in and see!

Getting Mail While Sailing Around the World 

While you might think that getting mail while sailing around the world is a challenge, it’s not nearly as tricky as it sounds. Technological advancements have made it much easier for nomads to receive mail no matter where the wind takes them.

Let’s look at a few tips for sailing nomads to get their mail!

Woman sailing with pile of mail

Go Paperless

One of the easiest ways to obtain mail is to go paperless. Almost every recurring bill you have has a paperless option. Instead of delivering to a physical mailbox, you’ll receive your statement electronically via email or an app on your phone.

Going paperless is an excellent option for almost everyone, even if you’re not planning to sail around the world. It can help you stay organized and on top of your bills. You’ll have access to them anywhere you can access the internet.

Mail Forwarding Service

Another popular option is to use a mail forwarding service. These services will obtain and hold any mail that you receive. They’ll continue collecting your mail until you give them the forwarding address.

These services typically require an annual membership and that you maintain an active credit card on file to cover shipping costs. Costs will vary significantly depending on where they send your mail. However, you can usually request that they use the cheapest or fastest shipping methods.

Learn the ins and outs of sailing by watching these 10 Up and Coming Sailing YouTubers.

Electronic Subscriptions

If you have several magazine subscriptions, there’s something special about physically holding them in your hands.  However, receiving them in a timely fashion can be challenging when traveling on a boat. Unless you want to be months behind, you will want to opt for electronic subscriptions.

You can even subscribe to your favorite local newspapers to keep up with what’s happening back home. Not only are you saving trees and reducing waste, but these subscriptions are also typically cheaper. You’ll likely be saving money too! 

Get Mail on a Stationary Boat

Some sailors maintain a stationary presence in marinas. There’s a chance that marinas will allow them to send and receive mail at the marina. However, this isn’t always available, and you’ll want to check with management regarding their policies. If it is an option, it’s something worth considering. 

Couple sailing with package and mail

Get Mail With a P.O. Box

Depending on your traveling style, a P.O. box might be worth it. This works best if you have a “home port” or marinas that you return to each year. P.O. boxes typically cost $10 to $20 per month, but you can have your mail sent to them while you’re away. Depending on where you get your box, they may even work with you to send you your mail when your box is full or you receive important documents.

Forward to a Marina

Even if you’re not in your home marina, there’s a chance you can have your mail forwarded to a marina. Some will accept it and notify you when it arrives. However, the rules and regulations for this will vary based on each marina. You’ll want to check with each marina regarding their specific policies.

Timing can be tricky unless you’re staying for an extended time. It can take several days or weeks for your mail to arrive. This may require you to plan to avoid any complications.

Ask Friends or Family

Another option to consider is to check with your friends and family. They may allow you to use their address as your mailing address. Like other mail services, they can hold onto your mail until you return from your adventures.

One of the benefits of this method is that you’ll probably talk to them regularly, and they can let you know if you receive anything vital. You can have them open the mail and give you any necessary information.

Pile of mail

What’s a Virtual Mailbox?

Virtual mailboxes are online services where you can receive, view, and manage your mail from anywhere. The mailbox service provides an address where you can send your mail. When the service receives your mail, they’ll scan and digitize the outside of the envelope.

The mailbox owner receives an alert when new mail hits their virtual mailbox. They can have the service open their mail, scan the contents, and upload them. They can even provide instructions to forward a piece of mail to them anywhere in the world. Additionally, they can let the service know to trash any unwanted mail.

Ready to set sail? Head to these 5 Best Places to Sail for Beginners.

Does USPS Offer Virtual Mailboxes?

Unfortunately, the United States Postal Service (USPS) does not offer virtual mailboxes. Their informed delivery service is the closest thing they have to the service. This allows you to get an email preview of the mail and packages scheduled to arrive in your mailbox soon. However, they won’t open, forward, or toss it in the trash for you.

To sign up for a virtual mailbox, you must utilize a virtual mailbox service. Some popular virtual mailbox service providers are Anytime Mailbox, PostScan Mail, and USA2Me.

Woman sailing

What’s the Difference Between a Virtual Mailbox and a P.O. Box?

Virtual mailboxes and P.O. boxes allow you to receive mail at an address that’s not your home or business. However, there are a few differences that you’ll want to consider when choosing which is suitable for you.

For example, a P.O. box is a physical box in a post office or other mail facility. Unless the facility offers a forwarding service, you must visit the physical location to check and receive your mail. However, a virtual mailbox is accessible anywhere you have an internet connection. This can allow you to view and manage your mail from anywhere in the world.

One advantage of a P.O. box over a virtual mailbox is that it provides a physical address. While virtual addresses offer a physical location to send your mail, many businesses and organizations won’t accept it as a valid mailing address. You may have trouble getting it depending on what you’re trying to receive.

When it comes to fees, P.O. boxes typically charge an annual fee. On the other hand, virtual mailboxes may offer monthly or yearly options, depending on the level of service you select. Which is right for you will significantly depend on your unique situation.

It’s Now More Convenient to Get Your Mail While Sailing

Getting your mail while sailing has never been easier or more convenient. There are many options available. Just because you want to head out onto the open seas for an adventure doesn’t mean you have to wonder what’s waiting for you in your mailbox. Take the time to research your options and find which one works best for you and how you plan to sail.

Which method of receiving mail would suit you best?

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