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What is USPS General Delivery? (And Why RVers Love it)

What is USPS General Delivery? (And Why RVers Love it)

When traveling in your RV, one of the biggest questions you may have is how to receive packages on the road. The answer to that is USPS General Delivery. 

It is the easiest way to have packages shipped to you, wherever you might be in the US (for no additional fees).

My wife and I have been full-time RVers for over five years. General Delivery has been a life saver when needing to recience a package in rural America.

But, it’s not without challenges! Today we’ll let you know what it is, how to use it, and what mistakes to avoid.

Let’s dive in.

What is General Delivery?

If you’re not familiar with General Delivery, it’s a service that the USPS provides to have things shipped to almost any post office in America. 

And they hold it for you. 

It’s essential to understand this is a USPS service. They do not accept FedEx or UPS boxes. 

If anything other than a USPS package arrives, they’ll most likely reject it. You will have to work with the carrier to pick it up or have it relocated. 

Once the package is delivered, all you have to do is pick it up (using specific identification). Every town and city has a General Delivery location, but not all post offices accept General Delivery. 

It’s a great way to receive packages without a physical address. 

We primarily use it when we’re boondocking (free camping), which usually takes place in small, off-the-beaten-path towns.

How Does General Delivery Work? 

Using General Delivery is easy. All you have to do is order your package, have it addressed to you at the post office you want it sent to, and you’re all set. 

Make sure to get a tracking number, so you know when it arrives. There is nothing more annoying than calling or driving over to the post office every day until it comes. 

When you pick it up, all you do is let them know you had something shipped to General Delivery and show them your ID. They will then produce your package from the back. It’s that easy.

Specifics For Using USPS General Delivery

First, you find the post office nearest to your delivery location. It could be where you’re currently staying or where you will be in the next week. 

Go to the specific locations website, and typically it will say if that post office accepts General Delivery. 

Then call to confirm and see if they will need you to fill out the General Delivery application form. 

Most post offices don’t require it. 

The essential part is how you address the package.

Use this formula to do so correctly:

  • First Name and Last Name
  • General Delivery
  • City, State Zip Code

Tips for Using General Delivery

Before sending your package by way of General Delivery, there are a couple of nuances you need to know. All these things can be solved by calling ahead before you ship anything.

  • Don’t assume every post office accepts General Delivery. Check their website and call ahead. A lot of them do accept it, but you want to make sure. 
  • Find out how long the post office will hold your package. The typical length is two weeks, but some may be longer.
  • You will want to make sure there are no size restrictions on packages. If they don’t accept larger boxes, they will reject the shipment. This typically isn’t a problem but you don’t want to be surprised.
  • The biggest issue with using General Delivery is if the package gets shipped by any other carrier outside of the USPS. Most likely, if a FedEx or UPS package shows up, they will reject it. The best thing you can do when purchasing online is to verify who the retailer uses for shipping. 

General Delivery is an excellent service for those on the road and want to have packages shipped. 

What’s great is you can have packages shipped a week or two ahead of you, so when you arrive at your location, the package is waiting for you. 

But do make sure to call ahead to the post office. You don’t want to be surprised by some outrageous fees or find out they don’t do General Delivery.

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  1. Deborah Kerr says:

    Thanks! Good info if we ever need it! I like your articles – short & sweet!!