One tool I find very useful on the road is the ability to send postal mail through the Internet. There are number of these services out there. All you have to do is a simple Google search for “sending postal mail through the internet” to find one of them.
Before I knew these services existed, I would rely on the nice staff at the front desk of the hotel where I was staying to send out my mail. My other option was to find a Post Office nearby and stand in line to buy stamps then drop my mail in the post box. I’m sure you can imagine the outcome of relying on the staff at the hotel front desk to send mail. It doesn’t always work out! I would pay them the money for the postage, they promise to put a stamp on it and mail it. A week later my mail would show up in my own mailbox with a note saying “Postage Required”. This happened more than once. As for standing in line at the post office, well that took time I didn’t always have.
So I started doing a little research and found a number of companies who offer Sending Postal Mail through the internet service. The first company I signed up with was a company by the name of www.MailAletter.com. Mail-A-letter.com is a quite straightforward service to use. You can either type your letter online using a web browser, or you can upload a PDF file to their Web server. Mail-a-letter would then ask me for the address the letter is to be sent to, print it out and stuff it in an envelope and drop it in the mail for me. The average cost of sending mail through mail a letter.com to a US postal address is approximately $1.50. Mail-A-letter does require you to keep an account balance but they do accept credit cards and PayPal to recharge your account.
Another good service that I’m currently using is called PC 2 Paper www.pc2paper.co.uk. This company is located in the United Kingdom and have printing stations that are located both in the UK and in New York in the United States. I started using PC 2 Paper shortly after my mother passed away in the UK last year. I found them useful in being able to quickly send correspondence to the UK using the UK’s Royal mail service. I found this to be much cheaper and quicker than trying to send a letter from the United States to the UK. Also I could use PC to paper to send letters to US postal addresses as well and these were printed and mailed from their New York printing station. Another cool feature I found with PC 2 Paper is they supply a printer driver for Windows PC’s. Although this printer driver is currently in beta testing, it’s very handy for sending documents directly out of MS Word for instance. I would just simply print the document to the PC 2 Paper printer driver; the driver would ask me for the address and then show me the cost to send the mail. Upon hitting the “OK” button they would print and mail the letter for me subtracting the cost from my account balance.
When it comes to sending bulk mail, I found a service by the name of Click 2 Mail www.click2mail.com which well suited my needs in this department. I was out on the road and I was asked to create and mail a newsletter for our Homeowners Association of which I was serving on the board at the time. I needed not only to create the mail piece but send it to 81 homes in our neighborhood located just outside of Atlanta. Click 2 Mail provided the necessary templates to crate the mail piece and provided an easy way to upload all the names and addresses. And for the cost of just a little over $45 they printed and mailed (second-class mail of course) the newsletter to each of the 81 homes. I was able create the newsletter and do the bulk mailing in two evenings from my hotel room in Costa Rica.
If you send a lot of international mail then another good service to look into is L-mail.com www.L-mail.com. L-mail.com is the new kid on the block, but they have a number of printing stations throughout the world in places such as Australia, Egypt, United Kingdom, United States, Spain, New Zealand and Portugal just to name a few. What’s nice about this service is the cost and time savings of sending international mail to countries where they have printing stations. The pricing is very comparable to other postal mail through the Internet services and to send a one-page letter to the United States is $1.49.
For sending greeting cards, I use a service called the Card Store.com www.cardstore.com. The Card Store.com has a nice user interface where you can pick out the type of greeting card you wish to send such as a birthday card, a thank you card or a condolence card. After picking the card category you wish to send, you then move down to pick the card design from the menu of different card designs available. The cool part starts after you’ve picked the card design you wish to send. They display the card in the web browser and allow you to edit the card including wording, the ability to add your own photos and upload your own personal signature for signing the greeting card. Once you have picked the card and edited it including the wording, you’re then ready to mail it. Just simply enter the mailing address and your return address, pay the bill and they will print and mail the card to any address in the world. Out of all the online postal services I use, the Card Store saves me the largest amount of time. They will also let you choose favorite cards which you can recall and send time and time again. Also, they will remind you (via email) of upcoming birthdays.
The main advantage of using these services for me, is they are quick and easy to use while traveling. The cost is about the same as printing out a letter, plus the cost of an envelope and running up the street to the post office to buy a stamp before dropping it in the mail box. But they save time. Also if you use a service such as the card store.com, then it’s very easy to have a virtual assistant send out greeting cards for you.