Mail Forwarding New Zealand / Australia: How to get mail when you travel

Letter Boxes and blue sky

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While many of us receive our bills online these days, we can’t avoid physical mail altogether. So, what do you do with letters and parcels if you travel (around New Zealand or Australia) for more than just a few weeks? How do you provide proof of residential address if you live a nomadic lifestyle and have no fixed abode? If these are burning questions on your mind, today’s article will give you the answers.

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Options for letters

Enlisting friends or relatives

Do you keep your home while travelling long-term? You could just continue to receive physical mail in your letterbox and get a neighbour, friend or family member to empty it occasionally. If your home is tenanted while you’re away though, ask yourself: Would you be happy for your mail to be mixed with your tenants’?

If the answer is NO or you’ve taken to the road full-time and no longer have a fixed abode, you could ask close friends or relatives and use their home address. You’d need to notify anyone you might still get physical mail from but once that’s done, all you need to do is provide your friends/relatives with instructions as to what to do when mail arrives. Enlisting them doesn’t cost you anything, apart from a gesture of appreciation from time to time.

letter boxes on wall by jac alexandru on unsplash

You could get your mail sent to (and opened by) close friends or relatives | Photo by Jac Alexandru on Unsplash

A word on Post Office boxes

What about Post Office boxes? you might ask. You could use a Post Office box to receive your mail – for a fee – but you still need someone to collect your mail from time to time, unless your travels take you past your Post Office box every once in a while.

Post Office boxes (and Locked Bags) are also less useful when you no longer have a fixed abode: Institutions the world over are required to know their customers (KYC) to combat money laundering and terrorism financing activities. To comply with their KYC obligations, many institutions require (proof of) residential address to access their services. And for obvious reasons, you can’t use a Post Office box (or Locked Bag) to prove your residential address.

po box room by brian wangenheim on unsplash

For obvious reasons, you can't use a PO box to prove your residential address | Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash

Using mail scanning and forwarding services

If Post Office boxes are not the way to go, and you don’t want to impose on friends or relatives, you could use the services of a professional mail scanning and forwarding company. No idea what we’re talking about? Well, it’s pretty simple: instead of asking friends or family to handle your mail in your absence, you use a company – at a cost.

Mail scanning and forwarding companies usually offer some or all of the following:

  • A street address
  • Physical mail scanning and access to scanned mail via email or online
  • Mail storage
  • Mail forwarding
  • Online mail management.
Black letterbox kirsty tg unsplash

Many mail scanning and forwarding companies provide a street address | Image courtesy of Kirsty TG on Unsplash

Mail scanning and forwarding services are everywhere

For the purpose of this article, we reviewed businesses in New Zealand and Australia fitting the above description (to some degree). If you are looking for services in other countries, here are a few of the better-known ones to get you started:

Mail scanning and forwarding services in New Zealand

There are only two companies that fit the above description (at least to some degree) in New Zealand. Several others in the last few years have started up but are no longer in business.

FeatureNew Zealand Post (Hold/Redirect)Private Box
Provides street addressNoYes
Mail scanning and online access or emailingNoYes
Mail forwarding (to any address)Via Redirect: one address at a timeYes
Mail storageVia HoldYes
Online mail managementNoYes

Let’s have a look at both services in detail:

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Company NameNew Zealand Post Limited
Established1987
Business typeState-owned enterprise
Websitewww.nzpost.co.nz

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

New Zealand Post may be your provider of choice if you are looking for someone to hold your mail while you’re away or want your mail to be redirected to another address (in New Zealand or internationally) for a period of time.

You can only redirect (from your home address) to one address at a time. If you tiki tour around the country and plan to stay with friends or family for a few weeks at a time, you could set up a redirect to their address and change it whenever you move on. If that sounds cumbersome (and costly): IT IS. There is a silver lining for senior citizens though (pun intended): The holding service is free for up to four weeks, and the redirect for up to two months (within New Zealand).

One other thing to note: New Zealand Post does not open/scan your mail. If this is important to you, New Zealand Post’s Hold/Redirect services are not for you. If you don’t have a fixed abode but need a residential address in New Zealand for proof of ID, New Zealand Post’s Hold/Redirect services also won’t be able to help you.

For further information go to the New Zealand Post Hold mail and Redirect mail pages.

Company NamePrivate Box Limited
Established2005
Business typePrivate limited liability company
Websitewww.privatebox.co.nz

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

Private Box provides a street address that is accepted by most institutions as a residential address. The only time you can’t use it is when you register on the electoral roll.

When you enlist with Private Box you still need to notify anyone you might get physical mail from. But once that’s done, all your mail goes to your Private Box suite. Mail that requires signing will be signed on your behalf. You are notified via email who sent you mail and how heavy it is and can then decide what should happen with your item:

  • Open and scan your mail, and receive a PDF copy via email or access your scanned mail securely online.
  • Physically store (30 days free of charge) or forward your mail to any nominated address anywhere in the world – including any participating New Zealand Post Shop or Parcel Collect location – for personal pick-up.

Managing your mail is easy via the Private Box online mail management system. Most orders are processed on the same day. Any physical mail you don’t want is destroyed safely and free of charge, and all waste is 100% recycled.

Full mailbox

Whatever you do, you won't want your letter-box spill over when you are away from home | Image courtesy of Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Mail scanning and forwarding services in Australia

There are (at least) nine service providers in Australia fitting the above description (to some degree). All of them provide services to individuals and businesses. We have come across others in our research, but the lack of information available would not make us trust them with our mail (hence they don’t get a mention here).

AusFFAussie MailmanAustralia Post (Hold/ Redirect)HotsnailKeeping You PostedLandbase AustraliaMail Boxes, EtcPostScan MailSOS Mail Solutions
Provides street addressYesYesNoYesNoNoYesYesNo
Mail scanning and online access or emailingVia Digital PlanYesNoYesYesYesNoYesYes
Letter forwarding (to any address)Via Non-Digital PlanYesVia RedirectYesYesYesYesYesYes
Parcel forwarding (to any address)Overseas customers onlyYesVia RedirectYesYesYesYesYesYes
Mail storage (time limits and/or storage fees may apply)YesYesVia HoldYesYesYesYesYesYes
Online mail managementYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
Suitability for long-term/ full-time travelersLimitedHighLimitedHighMediumMediumMediumHighMedium
Sydney Opera House srikant sahoo unsplash

There are at least nine mail scanning and forwarding companies in Australia | Image courtesy of Srikant Sahoo on Unsplash

Want to know a little more? Simply click on the tab of the provider that interests you:

Company NameAusFF
Established2005
Business typePrivate limited liability company
Websitewww.ausff.com.au

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

While AusFF offers mail scanning and letter forwarding, it is primarily a package forwarding company catering for international shoppers who buy from Australian online retailers (including shipment consolidation).

 

Company NameAussie Mailman
Established2010
Business typeUnknown
Websitewww.aussiemailman.com.au

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

AussieMailman’s services are suitable for long-term/full-time travellers and include

  • mail scanning (pending plan chosen, envelop only or envelop and content);
  • secure online access to your scanned mail; and
  • mail forwarding (in Australia and internationally).

You can choose between different plans, with monthly subscriptions or pay per use. Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia members receive a 10% discount off non-discount services.

Company NameAustralia Post Limited
Established1809
Business typeGovernment owned corporation
Websitewww.auspost.com.au/

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

Australia Post is suitable only if

  • you are looking for someone to hold your mail while you’re away or
  • want your mail to be redirected to another address (in Australia or internationally) for a period of time, as you can only redirect (from your home address) to one address at a time.

Australia Post does not open/scan your mail. The company’s services are also less suitable if you don’t have a fixed abode and a residential address is important to you.

Company NameDigital Blitz Pty Ltd trading as HotSnail
Established2010
Business typePrivate limited liability company
Websitewww.hotsnail.com.au

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

HotSnail’s services are suitable for long-term/full-time travellers and include

  • mail scanning (pending plan chosen, scan everything or selectively based on the scanned envelope)
  • secure online access to your scanned mail; and
  • mail forwarding (in Australia and internationally).

You can choose between different plans, with monthly subscriptions or pay-per-use. There are no minimum contract terms.

Company NameEmma Jane Smith trading as Keeping You Posted
EstablishedUnknown
Business typeSole trader
Websitewww.keepingyouposted.com.au

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

Keeping You Posted’s services are suitable for long-term/full-time travellers and include

  • mail scanning (pending plan chosen, scan everything or selectively based on the scanned envelope);
  • secure online access to your scanned mail; and
  • mail forwarding (in Australia and internationally).

Mail is received at Keeping You Posted’s PO box. The company’s services are therefore less suitable if you don’t have a fixed abode and a residential address is important to you.

You can choose between different membership options, with subscriptions from 1 to 12 months. Your contract starts when the first piece of mail is received. Keeping You Posted provides a dummy user account upon request, enabling you to check out the members’ area before you buy.

Company NameJennifer Fountain trading as Landbase Australia
Established1996
Business typeSole trader
Websitewww.landbase.com.au

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

Landbase Australia offers a tailored service, processing your mail based on your instructions (from scanning to forwarding within Australia and overseas). You can register for 3, 6 or 12 months, and there is a special offer available for First Time Users.

Mail is delivered to Landbase Australia via Locked Bag. The company’s services are therefore less suitable if a residential address in Australia is important to you (for example, to open bank accounts, register with the ATO, etc).

Landbase Australia may be your provider of choice if you are after a personal, hands-on service, as the provider communicates via SMS and email rather than operating an online self-service model.

Company NameMail Boxes Etc. (Australia) Pty Limited
Established2000
Business typePrivate Limited Liability Company and associated francisees
Websitewww.mbe.com.au

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

MBE’s services may suit long-term/full-time travellers who

  • do not have a fixed abode but require a residential address
  • and only require mail storage/forwarding services (as the company does not offer mail scanning).

Customers receive SMS or email notifications when mail is received.

MBE’s services are primarily tailored to suit small businesses. MBE’s business services include graphic design, printing, mailbox and courier services as well as virtual office services.

Company NameCertifix, Inc trading as PostScan Mail
Established2012
Business typePrivate limited liability company (registered in California/USA)
Websitewww.postscanmail.com

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

PostScan Mail’s services are suitable for long-term/full-time travellers and include

  • Mail scanning and secure online access to your scanned mail
  • Mail storage (up to 7/30 days free of charge for letters/packages)
  • Mail item consolidation and forwarding.

Free local mail and package pickup is also available. Customers receive email notifications when mail is received.

PostScan Mail will suit people who do not have a fixed abode and require a residential address as mail is received at a (Melbourne) street address.

Customers can choose between three service plans with varying inclusions and monthly or annual subscriptions.

Company NameThe trustee for SOS Business Trust trading as SOS Mail Solutions
Established2006
Business typePrivate Limited Liability Company and associated francisees
Websitewww.sosmail.com.au

Suitability for long-term/full-time travellers

SOS Mail Solutions’ services are suitable for long-term/full-time travellers and include

  • mail scanning and secure online access to your scanned mail
  • mail storage (for an unlimited time); and
  • mail forwarding (in Australia and internationally).

Mail is received at SOS Mail Solutions’ PO box. The company’s services are therefore less suitable if you don’t have a fixed abode and a residential address is important to you.

Individual customers can choose between two service options and register for 3 or 12 months. For small businesses, the company offers a business service option and additional services, such as graphic design, printing and administrative services.

Package Roll

All companies reviewed offer mail forwarding to an international address | Image courtesy of Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

Options for parcels

Whether you enlist friends, family or professional help, forwarding mail costs money and forwarding parcels won’t come cheap.

If you need to receive parcels while travelling around New Zealand or Australia, the quickest, cheapest and most convenient way would be to use the Parcel Collect or Parcel Pod/Locker services provided in both countries.

New Zealand Post Parcel Services

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Australia Post Parcel Services

  • With Parcel Collect, you can get your parcel delivered to any participating post office. You are notified via email and SMS when your item has arrived and have up to 10 business days to pick it up.
  • Parcel Locker delivers your parcel to a locker at a participating post office, train station, petrol station or supermarket. You are notified via email and SMS when your item has arrived and have 48 hours to pick it up.

In Australia, both services are free.

With all services above, you can receive parcels from overseas if the sending parcel service uses New Zealand or Australian postal services once the parcel has arrived in the respective country.

australia post parcel lockers university of queensland stlucia campus

Using Parcel Collect or Parcel Pod/Locker services is the cheapest and most convenient way to receive parcels in New Zealand or Australia | Photo on Wikimedia Commons

What we do

With our company incorporated in New Zealand and based on their service features, we decided to go with Private Box. We have used them now since 2016, and have been extremely happy with them.

Do you travel long-term/full-time?

How have you solved your physical mail/residential address problem? Which mail scanning and forwarding service/s have you used and would recommend? Please let me know.

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Author: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulryken/" target="_blank">Paul Ryken</a>

Author: Paul Ryken

Paul Ryken is a goal setter, goal achiever, never tell him he can't do anything kinda guy..a grandfather, a husband, practising minimalist who makes sustainable, ethical purchasing decisions. He lives a values-based, quality over quantity lifestyle. For fitness and mental health, he runs six days a week and is on a mission to complete a marathon on every continent before the age of 60. As a digital nomad with carry-on luggage only, he chooses experiences over material items. He primarily writes about sports, travel finances and technology.