It can be a little tricky when it comes to the management of all of the “adult things” in life, such as mail, bills, banking, and health coverage when you don’t have a permanent home address or are away for long periods of time. But thankfully, for full-time and seasonal RVers, it’s easier than ever.
Getting mail and packages
It seems the only things we get in the mail are junk or bills. But sometimes, there’s a wedding invitation, a new school picture, a birthday card, a package. How do you ensure you get your mail? If you’re a snowbird and will be in the same location (generally speaking) for several months, you can use the Regular Forward Mail service offered by USPS. Any USPS mail or packages will be forwarded to you as well. Another option is the Escapees RV Club, whose mail forwarding service is the largest for RVers in the nation.
Amazon Lockers are also popping up all over the United States. These easy to spot yellow kiosks are already in most urban areas, and the locations continue to expand. You can find directions to the nearest Amazon Locker on Amazon.com. To pick up packages, you need to plan ahead, as anything not picked up within three days is automatically returned. So if you know you’ll be traveling near Indianapolis, Indiana, in a few days, send your package to an Amazon Locker in that location. You can do this by managing your address book in the settings section of your Amazon account. Enter a new address and search for a locker location using the search location. It’s that easy!
How do you maintain access to cash as well as cash checks and manage your bank accounts? Well, first of all, going through a national bank is usually better than going through a local credit union for one simple reason: access. Large banks are just in more locations, including across states. If you use one of their debit cards, they generally have convenient ATMs located all over the country so that you can withdraw cash with no fee or a minimal fee; however, credit unions often partner together so that you get the same great service even if the credit union is by a different name and in a different state. Make sure to research this and ask questions. Another way to get cash back, usually for a small fee, is by using your debit card to purchase groceries and then getting cash out at the same time.
What about income? First of all, you can be paid – and most companies do this already – by direct deposit. If you work for yourself, you can be paid by PayPal and then transfer the funds into your bank account on a regular basis (no fee!). If you receive a check that needs to be put into your bank account, check to see whether your bank or credit union has an app where you can take a photo of the check and directly deposit it into your account.
Thanks to today’s technology, most providers offer online bill pay through their websites. This includes utilities, insurance, and credit cards. You can also go through your bank or credit union’s bill pay service to manage everything through one location. Utility providers and credit card providers also usually have the option to auto-pay so that you don’t need to remember every month. You can easily manage the bills for your RV life as well as for any permanent home you may have. Just download PDFs of paid bill invoices as well as any statements and keep them in an accessible location, such as the cloud in Google Drive (free up to a certain quantity of MBs), which can be accessed anywhere and keeps your bill history from being stuck on your computer or tablet.
Health and dental care
Health coverage is complicated and continues to be a heated, debated topic. Health coverage varies widely state by state, and for full-time RVers, coverage for some plans can end as soon as you leave your “home” zip code and cross state lines. That won’t do you any good! And what about if you work remotely? The best thing to do is discuss the restrictions and limitations to your employer’s health coverage. You need to do your research for a travel-friendly health plan that will offer you and your family coverage, including prescription coverage. Check out Ehealthinsurance.com and HealthSherpa.com as well as speak with your physician to see if he or she can offer any recommendations. You may need a supplemental plan to get all the coverage you need.
As for general health care management, the first thing to do, something all RVers should be an expert at, is to stay organized. Have copies of medical records for yourself and each member of the family, especially of anything recent, such as blood test results, current medications and prescribed dosages, food/drug allergies and reactions, etc. Thanks to electronic charting, you may be able to easily download a PDF of this information from your online patient portal through your primary care physician’s office and/or local hospital. In case of an emergency, this information will be handy to have available. When it comes to your annual physical or routine checkups, many travelers make their travel plans to include a loop back to their primary care physician. The same goes for dentist office visits. If you’re a snowbird and split time between two states, some find having a primary care physician in both states works well.