Severing Ties: Mail Forwarding Services for Expats

Ever since I high-tailed it to Europe six (!) years ago, my parents – or rather my father, the errand runner – has sent me all the mail that comes to their house addressed to me. it seemed easiest this way.

But now, it’s just annoying – for them and for me, especially since I tend to flit back and forth between Montpellier and Rome several times a year, declaring each time I am there to stay. While I’m not sure exactly where I’ll wind up and when, I am in the general vicinity of Western Europe for the foreseeable future.

So, I’ve been looking into mail forwarding services that cater to expats scattered around the world. I’ll include some links below to the ones I’m considering – I’ll be making my final decision tomorrow morning, when client funds are deposited – but I wanted to give some general thoughts about this service for expats who are thinking of doing the same.

1. OMG JASON BOURNE. My love of this international hottie of mystery, and clandestine life in general, is well documented. A mailing address that is several time zones from my exact location is very alluring for the aspiring spies among us.

2. Online shopping. You can buy stuff from eBay, for example, and have it sent to a U.S. address, which makes sellers very happy. Same goes for pretty much any other online retailer. And it’ll save you money in the long run.

3. Junk mail screening. A decent mail forwarding service scans in ever piece of mail you receive. Then, you can look at it online and tell them which pieces to throw out, and which pieces to send. They can even hold some pieces for you if you wish. NEVER RECEIVE JUNK MAIL AGAIN! Sigh. What a thought.

4. Flexible plans. Again, decent places have a wide range of plans you can choose from, depending on how you want to use the service and your budget. And, their mailing rates aren’t that bad, either.

The only thing that is annoying, but necessary, is that you need to snail mail them forms that confirm who you are and what you want from them. SNAIL MAIL. In this Internet world of GOTTA HAVE IT NOW, I want to click and be done with it. But instead to la Poste I shall go, armed with an iPod and a good book, and mail off my forms like a dutiful expat.

Links to mail forwarding services I am considering:

US Global Mail
USA2Me

There are so many places, though, of varying types. Some places offer full virtual office services with locations around the world, for example, while some websites look like they were made in 1994 and never updated.

22 thoughts on “Severing Ties: Mail Forwarding Services for Expats

  1. I use Bongo International at http://www.BongoUS.com

    They are great! I looked into USGlobal and USA2Me. Bongo had much better rates and their services seemed better as well. I guess it was the technology that really drove me there the most. I would give them a try…

  2. Hey Miss Expatria!
    I am with a company called Bongo International. We specialize in parcel forwarding of goods from the US. Here are some of our benefits in comparison to the companies you listed above…

    1) Rates – We have some of the lowest rates in the industry and don’t charge you additional fees like Fuel surcharges, Commercial invoice fees, or consolidation fees. These are all included in our pricing.
    2) Inventory of your items – Rather than telling you that your order from the GAP arrived, we actually tell you what was inside. We tell you if items are missing or over shipped. This gives you the ability to see your order before requesting it to be shipped to your country.
    3) Imaging – For only $0.50, you can have a photograph of your inventory taken. If you have a question about an item or think it may be incorrect, you can have a chance to see the item before you pay to ship it.
    4) Communication – We have an online tool that allows you to communicate with our customer service reps at any time. We also have a live chat function on our site so you can speak to one of our agents “live” at any time during the day.

    You or any of your readers can reach out to me directly at Greg.Sack@BongoUS.com if you have any questions about the process.

    Glad you are still buying in the US and taking advantage of this weak US dollar we have.

  3. Greg,

    Thanks for the comment! I think your service would be great for packages, but your mail forwarding service is super expensive. However, I do like your pay-as-you-go option. Good luck to you!

  4. Lea,

    I’m sure the rates were better for you – but for what I need, they were easily twice as much. But, that’s why there’s different flavors of ice cream!

  5. I stumbled upon this blog and it caugt my attention because I have been a customer with http://www.usa2me.com for 2 years already any simply love them! I tried using another company before and usa2me is simply much better and their rates are very good once you understand how to do you shipments with them and take advantage of repacking.Miss expatria I think you have made a great choice.

  6. Hi,
    are you still using the mail forwarding service you mentioned usa2me.com ? If so, how do you like so far ?
    I’m also going to be an expat soon and considering using a mail forwarding service.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jack

  7. I’ve had an account with Earth Class Mail for about a year now, and have been quite displeased with how they keep raising their prices. Last year, when I signed up, I was able to prepay and get their basic level of service for $9.95/mo, which included something like 15-20 scans per month. Now, a year later, when it comes time to renew, I’ve found that they are charging $19.95/mo for their cheapest plan – which includes NO scans: you have to pay an extra $1.50/scan on top of that already high monthly fee.

    I called it quits with them and looked around for another service offering the same features with a more reasonable cost, and found a Michigan-based service called Mailbox Forwarding (http://www.mailboxforwarding.com). They only charge $9.95/mo and include 10 scans, just like Earth Class Mail used to when I signed up with them. Their service works the same, and I’ve been pleased with the online interface.

  8. I have used USA2Me.com for a while now and as several of the other posts, simply love them! They have reasonable rates and I have never had any problems with them. Highly recommended.

  9. Pingback: Choosing a Mail Forwarding Service That Works for You | Moving it Globally

  10. Mail forwarding is something one will never regret after using it. you can depend more upon the service rather facing any sort of interpretations and discomfort.

  11. USA2Me does not pass the full savings from repackaging, they keep 50% back.This made no sense to me. US Global offers free imaging, will open inventory if you wish etc. There is comparison chart for various fees charged by mail forwarding services somewhere on their website. And GREAT customer service.

  12. I am an expat having lived and worked across asia most of my career; Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. During much of this time my wife and I have used a service called American eBox which provides various service levels with differing benefits. Last year we upgraded to the Platinum level, which reduced our costs and offers a cashback. Its worked out well for my wife who orders a lot of stuff from Amazon, Macy’s, and other merchants. As for mail forwarding, I have not had issues with opening credit card accounts with this address. Scanning is no charge.

    They offer many hidden incentives to reduce your shipping cost and generally our shipping cost in negligible due to discounts and incentives offered. I’m only offering my opinion, having used various services over time, but if you do sign up, feel free to mention my name. http://www.americanebox.com

  13. Hey I just wanted to leave some feedback,

    I use TravelingMailbox.com and they are perfect for travelers! All of their plans include scanning of the outside of my envelope and the contents inside. I get free shredding of all my mail too which I like for security. I think their pricing is very reasonable too.

    Thanks

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