One thing that has bothered me when preparing for our up and coming long term lifestyle changing trip... what to do with all our mail? The most obvious answer that we, as well as others we spoke to, came up with was to just get our mail forwarded to one of our parents places. As fabulous and as easy as this may sound, it really isn’t that easy!
For example, your family or friend mail opener may get a little lazy after a month or two of having to open your mail then email you about it. Its a hassle. Doing that every day is a real drag so the mail starts to pile up and then it becomes an even bigger hassle. Slowly but surely the time between opening and emailing starts to increase. Emails from your mail opener saying things like "they say you have seven days to respond and the letter is dated two weeks ago. Sorry." only put stress on your relationship. Its a big headache for everyone involved.
After some research on this thorny problem I discovered the concept of a “virtual mailbox”. It is pretty much the same as having a mailbox / letterbox out the front of your house, instead, your mail goes to a post office box somewhere in the world (in our case Australia). Having an assigned number to our account means that our mail gets scanned into our secure Virtual Mailbox to be viewed by us wherever we are in the world.
Netpost Australia is the name of the company we finally signed up with. They were the only company, both national and international, that actually responded to our questions in a timely manner. When I say timely, I mean, overnight. I certainly was not used to such good service!
From Netpost Australia’s website:
“With our online scanning facilities you can receive your mail on the same day rather than waiting for the postman. If you still require a physical delivery we can send it to you where ever you are in the world by Express post, Air mail, Economy mail - (Australia Post), Registered mail or Courier service, additional fees will apply depending on the service you want. You will be required to supply a delivery address so that we can forward your mail to you. Using our back office email system when logged in to your Netpost account you see everything that you would normally see if you were walking to your letterbox if you choose Scan mail as your preferred package. Fees will be deducted from your Netpost account, prior to any services carried out so your account is to remain in credit at all times. You can credit your Netpost account via your PayPal account, Debit/Credit cards or Direct Debt. All original mail can be stored or shredded at our office this is a free service. All original mail can be sent to you when you return from your journey/travels or relocation with no added fees only the mail forward cost. All mail authorised for shredding will be sent to our local schools & kindergartens for recycle use.” https://www.netpostaust.com/?pid=7
So, the time came to send ourselves a test letter. I certainly had a lot of fun doing this test letter to send to ourselves. I sent this on the 24th August 2011
By Monday, 29th August 2011, I had received a notification from Netpost that we had a new envelope to view... We then had an option of Scan letter (open); Forward; Discard (Shred); Don’t Open (Store) or move to a folder of our choice.