Going South For Winter?

Easterners do it; westerners do it; mid-Americans do it, too. Those lucky enough to have weeks or months to escape the cold often go south in the winter. Whether for a short jaunt or a home-away-from-home arrangement, making plans to accommodate your mail service is an important detail for a worry-free trip. I live in the northeast and have many friends, relatives and family members who spend time down south. My parents escape as soon as the weather goes below 50 degrees, spending October through May in Florida. My dad’s mail option of choice is to use the USPS Regular Forward service. He goes online, files the temporary change of address (good for 15 days to 1 year of forwarding) and pays $1.05 on his credit card, for identification purposes. My former boss just retired and this is her first extended stay in Florida; she’ll be gone for 2 months. She selected Premium Forwarding Service (PFS) to make sure she gets the majority of her mail while away. Once a week, her home Post Office will put her mail in a Priority Mail envelope and send it to her in Florida. The cost is $17 to enroll and $16 per week. For me, I’ll take a week away from work to visit my parents in Florida. When I go, I use Hold Mail service, asking the Post Office to retain my mail until I return. Hold service is free and can be used up to 30 days. All these options are available online at usps.com under the Track & Manage tab. There’s nothing wrong with leaving the snow and cold behind for a short or long getaway. But make sure you make arrangements for your mail — depending on what service you use, it can snow-bird with you!

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Winter Tips To Help Carriers Delivers Safety

It’s the time of the year when most Americans start paying a bit more attention to the weather to hear if Mother Nature is about to wreak havoc. Whether there is a minor dusting or significant accumulations, people flock to retailers to purchase water, milk, scrapers, shovels and snow blowers before they are sold out. One constant you can rely on nearly every day is getting your mail. As a former letter carrier, I know there’s nothing worse than not being able to deliver your mail to you. It only resulted in more mail in the satchel and in the vehicle the next day. Walking outside and keeping your balance on a winter’s day is challenging enough. Now envision adding 5, 10 or 20 or more pounds on your back and walking for hours. For driving routes, it’s also difficult driving to and from mailboxes surrounded by snow mounds. Although letter carriers are well versed in delivering in all types of weather and know how to exercise caution, here are a few tips to make their jobs easier. – Clear a path or walkway to prevent possible slips and falls.– Clear enough snow from curbside boxes for mail trucks to pull in, deliver the mail and pull out without having to back up.– If your mailbox is attached to your house, please ensure your steps are as clear as possible. The bottom line is when winter weather arrives, we all just want to be safe. Customers visit the USPS Service Alerts page online to stay up-to-date on the latest operational alerts and we encourage our families and friends to exercise caution when we learn they will be going out in bad weather. Here’s to keeping both you and our letter carriers safe, whether you’re going to the supermarket or to your mailbox.

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