How the heck do you get mail living in a van?! Van Life

How the heck do you get mail living in a van?!

Ah, the most common question. Or actually, one of the most common questions, other ones include:

  • how do you shower?

  • how do you sh*t

  • laundry?!?!

But yes, an interesting and reasonable question nonetheless, after all most vans aren’t static and don’t have a personal mailbox. It would be amazing if the postman could deliver straight to your van wherever you were in the world!

Without going into the nitty gritty of most things, in the UK at least, you need an address for things like:

  • Driving license

  • Bank account

  • Insurance

and other misc yet necessary things. You can also get post sent to this address, but what if you’re on the move?

There are quite a few ways to get items delivered to places if you’re always on the move or don’t have an address for post, but they vary from country to country. In the UK you can get Amazon products delivered to Amazon lockers all over the country, or eBay purchases held at an Argos. The problem is when you’re getting something delivered that isn’t included in these schemes, or they’re not available at all in the country/area you’re in. 


These are the TWO methods that work for us after 5 years of travel:

Deliver to a friends house where you’re travelling

If you travel frequently, or happen to know people around the world/country/wherever you’re travelling then you could get mail sent to someone else’s address for you to collect en route. It is advisable to label it as so:

Their Name 

C/O Your Name

Their address line 1

Their address line 2

Etc… 

The reason I tend to label it in their name with C/O (care of attached) before my own is that if they are not in and have to collect the parcel then they are able to collect it super simply with their ID before it gets returned to sender. 

Poste Restante


This method is an absolute life saver, and can be used by anyone pretty much anywhere. I generally check if there are any specific requirements for the country I’m in i.e. only specific post offices allow this type of delivery, or they like it labelled a certain way etc… We have used this so far in:

  • Scotland

  • France

  • Portugal

  • Sweden

It’s important that you have the address labelled correctly and clearly, as well as your name on the post the same on your ID which you will need to claim your post. They will charge you for the handling/storage of the post, which varies on size/weight/country etc. but it is usually less than a couple of euros even for a large parcel.

Label it as:

Your Name

Post Restante* 

Post office address line 1

Address line 2

Etc…

*(or what it is called in that country i.e. Portugal it’s Posta Restante, UK Poste Restante)


Here is a list from Wikipedia so please double check all info - as you should with most articles online - which includes info for quite a few countries. It’s also useful to google e.g. posts restante Sweden, if you want to know about a specific country.


And there you have it! 


As I mentioned previously, there are a number of alternatives available, but if you’re someone on the move, crossing countries, then this should hopefully be useful for you.


If you know of postage methods I’ve not covered please comment below, I’d love to hear about them!