Expecting A Package While Away? Here’s What To Do For USPS, UPS, FedEx & Amazon

by joeheg

Years ago, putting a hold on your mail delivery was easy. All you had to do was tell your friendly U.S. Postal Service mail carrier that you’d be away and ask if they could hold the mail until you returned next Monday. Problem solved. We left a cardboard box under our mailbox inside our screened-in porch, since our mail carrier walked his route, door to door.

Things aren’t that simple anymore. We hardly see our mail carrier because the mailbox is located five houses away from us and is for twenty houses on our street.

In addition, not only do you need to alert the Post Office but what about those packages you’re expecting from UPS or FedEx? Plus, hello, all those Amazon deliveries?

Here’s a guide to walk you through how to hold or redirect deliveries when you’re out of town.

First, I want to mention that making a free account with all delivery services (USPS, UPS and FedEx) is straightforward. Doing so will make the management of your deliveries much easier.

US Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS or just the Post Office) makes it easy to put a hold on your mail deliveries while you’re away. I do this for any trip where we’ll be away for more than a long weekend.

The Post Office does require you to create a USPS.com account and verify your identity to put a hold on your mail. Information about the requirements can be found on this page of their website.

a close-up of a postOnce you do, you need a few clicks to put a hold on your mail. Since I already have a verified USPS account, I’ve been known to do this the day before leaving for a trip. The Post Office warns that verifying your identity can take up to a week, so if you don’t have an account, better to do it now than wait until the last minute.

Once all of the prep work is done, you only need to enter the dates you want your mail held and whether you’ll pick up the mail from the post office or if they should deliver it as one large clump when you return. Imagine the stack of mail waiting when we returned from 3 weeks in Australia and Japan!

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This hold will work for your regular mail, including junk mail, and any USPS-delivered packages received while you are away.

But not everything is delivered by the post office, and you don’t always know which delivery service you’ll receive a package from while you’re away. Why not sign up for the other services?

United Parcel Service (UPS)

If you receive packages shipped through UPS, you should sign up for UPS My Choice.

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While UPS originally made this service user-friendly, they’ve since changed to a subscription model. I’ve upgraded to the Premium membership, which includes delivering packages on a different day, to a different address, or to a UPS Store, and currently costs $19.99 per year.

There’s also a “Pay per use” model, which I used to get a package rerouted when it was due to be delivered while we were away. First, the package was delayed, and then they told me I couldn’t reroute the shipment even though they offered the service to me for an additional charge.

Federal Express (FedEx)

To use any FedEx shipping options, you’ll need to sign up for a free FedEx account. Once you’ve done that, you can log into the FedEx Delivery Manager website.

You can log into the website and request your deliveries be suspended until you return. But what if you forgot to sign up before the package was delivered?

a collage of images of a woman and a man

You can send a package to a different location or set to pick it up at a FedEx store or other pick-up point, but not all of these options are free, so it pays to just hold your packages before you leave.


The one mind-boggling thing about shipments from Amazon.com is you’re never really sure who will deliver your package. Will it come via USPS or UPS? Or will some random dude drive to your house and leave a box by your garage? (apparently, that’s a valid delivery method in Florida)

While Amazon doesn’t allow you to hold or redirect packages once they’re shipped, there is one “alternative shipping” option available if you need to order something while you’re out of town. Amazon Counters & Lockers.

a close up of a boxOnce an item is delivered to an Amazon Locker, it needs to be picked up within three days, so it’s not long-term storage. Amazon Counters are located at Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Markets and other retailers. We used an Amazon Locker to get something delivered when we were on vacation, and it worked as promised.

Final Thoughts

We knew we might be getting a package delivered while away but didn’t know which delivery service would be shipping the item. I put a hold on our deliveries with all three services (we didn’t order anything from Amazon while we were away).

It might take a few minutes to set up each account, but once you do that, putting a hold on your mail while you’re out of town might be just as easy as it used to be when all you needed to do was tell your mail carrier.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Billy Bob October 19, 2019 - 3:52 pm

Get to know and trust a neighbor. Beats all.

David October 19, 2019 - 8:14 pm

I have the doorman put it inside

Mark M October 20, 2019 - 6:58 am

Amazon let’s you tell you how you want it delivered. So I have WiFi garage door with keypad outside. I have created a code just for Amazon and told them the code and leave it in the garage. And Bam I got back and they where on the steps. And then I just changed the code once I got home. Note I do have ring with 7 cameras 3 on the outside, 3 on the inside and 1 in the garage so I see everything. so there is that option as well with Amazon.

AM December 1, 2020 - 9:56 pm

Ups now charges an outrageous $10 to have a hold put on and $6 to pickup at at ups store! Even when they are late delivering! How is this even legal? UPS IS THE WORST BUSINESS GREEDY AND IMMORAL

joeheg December 3, 2020 - 11:47 am

Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have to take a look at that.

tda1986 December 19, 2021 - 6:19 pm

We had six UPS packages scheduled to arrive when we suddenly had to take an unexpected trip. We were appalled to find that UPS didn’t have a free hold option like USPS and FedEx. We ended up paying $19.99 for a year of premium UPS My Choice, which gives you unlimited holds. Still not happy, but a lot better than paying per package or risking porch pirate theft.

Annoyed December 26, 2022 - 10:41 pm

I used to LOVE UPS and now I find it absolutely AWFUL to have to work with regarding re-scheduling deliveries and holds. Seriously, placing a hold should 1- not be SO difficult and 2- not cost a $19/99. Additionally I was suckered into purchasing the UPS My Choice for a package I needed to re-schedule and then found out that I couldn’t even re-schedule it that the sender had to for a fee of an additional $17!

Matt March 3, 2024 - 1:02 pm

You should check out the service Bounce, http://www.usebounce.com. They have a package acceptance service


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