Ship it or leave it
January 20, 2009 11:11 PM   Subscribe

Can I ship some camping gear ahead of my travels and pick it up from the post office or UPS Store when I arrive?

I'm flying to Florida and can save a bunch on a second checked bag by shipping my sleeping bag, tent, and some other stuff. The problem is, there is nobody at my destination to receive the package. I've heard of cross-country cyclists picking up packages as the reach post offices along their route, but I have no idea how to arrange something like that.

Does anybody have experience with something like this? USPS or UPS/Mailboxes Etc would be best. I have an aversion to FedEx.
posted by indyz to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, it's called General Delivery.
posted by one_bean at 11:32 PM on January 20, 2009

Also try Googling "mail drop" and "bounce box."
posted by Knappster at 11:35 PM on January 20, 2009

yes, this is how many people manage their walks on the Appalachian trail
posted by SeƱor Pantalones at 12:13 AM on January 21, 2009

Soemthing I've learned is not to ship fuel or fuel canisters to yourself. The hazmat handling fees are usually really expensive. Unless you're traveling somewhere really remote, you'd be better off buying fuel once you arrive.
posted by Phoenix42 at 4:54 AM on January 21, 2009

General delivery works well for this. A few things you need to know.

- the package will go to the main post office. So if you sent a package to Seattle GD, it would go to the downtown post office no matter what zip code it was addressed to. It's good to know this.
- You will need ID to pick up this package
- this whole endeavor will be easier if you can send it to a smaller town's post office because you can call ahead and talk to someone and tell them to expect the package which will make them a little less fidgety to have a big package sitting in the back room and them thinking "when is someone going to come GET this?"
- 30 days is hard and fast in my experience so make sure you are there to pick it up well before this
- and yeah, dont' ship fuel or anything else hazardous.

have fun!
posted by jessamyn at 6:17 AM on January 21, 2009

i cannot imagine how this would be cheaper than just checking your bag. there is so much room for error - what if your things get lost in transit? usps isn't the best when it comes to efficiency and they can't, unless you send overnight, promise a much would you be saving? if it's under $100, then for the sake of your trip, consider just packing the second suitcase. :)
posted by citystalk at 7:13 AM on January 21, 2009

Definitely use general delivery.

I've heard of people having trouble traveling with stoves and fuel bottles, either by packing them in luggage or shipping them ahead, if the items have been used. No matter how much you clean them, they'll still have fuel residue that makes them a no-no for both methods of transport. Check with your post office to see if you can ship these things for an extra fee, but definitely don't try to bring them on an airplane, even in checked luggage.
posted by vytae at 8:42 AM on January 21, 2009

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