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I am going to the USA for 3 weeks. I would like to order some goods over the internet, to be delivered to me, while I am there. Specifically Florida, if that makes a difference.

How do I best proceed to do this?

I will be staying at hotels/motels.

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Are you staying in any one hotel for a long duration? Do you have prior booking at said hotels? –  Aditya Somani Aug 5 at 9:29
    
I have not booked anything yet. I tried not to put too many restrictions on my question, since im interesting in hearing if there are different ways to do it. –  Soccerman Aug 5 at 9:32
    
Your idea is not bad, but you should define what you would want, otherwise this question will be closed as primarily opinion based. –  Aditya Somani Aug 5 at 9:39
    
Why would it primarily be opinion based? I am guessing there are factual steps you take to achieve this, and you can do it more than one way. –  Soccerman Aug 5 at 10:15
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Some online retailers may put your order on a temporary hold if you attempt to ship to an address other than the one on your credit card account; so you probably don't want to risk cutting it too tight. I've ran into this a once or twice in the last few years when shipping last minute Christmas gifts to ME @ My Parents House. –  Dan Neely Aug 5 at 15:02

4 Answers 4

up vote 22 down vote accepted

In some countries, it's possible to have mail delivered to a larger post office, and collect it from there. The general term for this is Poste Restante (also used in English speaking countries like the UK), but in the USA is called General Delivery. Assuming the thing you order will be delivered by the USPS (and not a courier), by using a General Delivery address (details on wikipedia) you can have the mail arrive up to 30 days before you do.

If it might come by courier, or you won't be near the main post office for the area where you'll be, your best bet is to have it sent to a hotel you'll be staying at. (Not sure if a Motel will work though). Almost all hotels will be fine to have mail or packages delivered there for you. Many (especially bigger or nicer ones) will charge you a small fee for this, depending on the size of item.

Quite a few hotels will be willing to let you have mail or packages sent there in advance, ready for you to collect at checkin. (Bigger ones are normally fine with this, as are business focused ones, and some friendly small ones too). Can work quite well - you check in, get your room key, and get the parcel that was waiting for you! Bigger hotels normally charge for this, typically the same rate as for any received mail / packages (unless it was there for ages), small family run places that offer it seem not to charge.

If you do go down the hotel route, speak to / email with the hotel in advance. Firstly, you need to check they offer the service! Secondly, you need to find out what to put on the address. Some are happy with "Your Name, Hotel's Name, Hotel's Address". Others want "Your Name, Guest from XXX to YYY, Hotel Name + Address". Some need "Your Name, Guest Services / Mail Services / Something Else, Hotel Name, Hotel Address". Find out so you know what to use! You can also then check about if they can accept things in advance (and how far), and what fees (if any) they charge

Finally, assuming you're ordering online, have a quick chat with your credit card company in advance. Someone ordering something online for delivery to a Poste Restante or Hotel address in another country to where you are can make the fraud team nervous, so check what (if anything) you need to do to let the transaction go through.

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Larger US hotels would charge an extra fee for your breathing if they could figure out a way to count the number of breaths you took while in the building. –  Dan Neely Aug 5 at 14:57
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@DanNeely And then expect a tip when you paid them it ;-) –  Gagravarr Aug 5 at 15:07
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It's strange because in UK and some other european countries the larger/expensive hotels are usually tolerant with these kind of stuff (for free) while the small/cheap ones charge for everything –  spauny Aug 5 at 15:17
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The only hotel I had actually 2 packages delivered was quite a large 4* hotel in Miami and they didn't charge anything. They also brought it when I was away so I couldn't even tip the guy. –  Vladimir F Aug 5 at 16:25
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@spauny The desire of US middle/high end hotels to nickel and dime guests to death is probably for the same reason why the baseline quality of service in air travel has been heading down for so long. Too many customers only look at the headline number and not all the "optional" fees we end up having to pay as well. At the very bottom of the market, most of what the higher end places nickel and dime people on either isn't offered at all; or to save money up front wasn't installed in a readily meterable fashion (ex wifi provided by a cheap consumer router). –  Dan Neely Aug 5 at 17:18

I usually ask at the front desk of the hotel. Tell them that you're expecting a delivery and politely ask them to hold it for you.

Most reputable hotels that I've stayed in are happy to hold small good for you. Obviously, don't get a refrigerator delivered :-)

I've never tried this in a motel. You could put your room number on the delivery instructions - but that means you have to stay in all day.

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Is it plausible to tell them to hold a package, before I actually arrive? If I have confirmed and pay'ed for the booking. –  Soccerman Aug 5 at 10:13
    
Before you arrive? I've never done that. Speak to the hotel. If it's being delivered the same day as you arrive it shouldn't be a problem. But they won't want to hold it for a week. –  Terence Eden Aug 5 at 10:15
    
You'll need to check with the hotel, but many are happy to have a package arrive a week before you do, and hold it for you until checkin. Some are fine with just your name on the pakcage, others want "Your Name, Guest XXX to YYY, <hotel name and address>". Ask and find out! (Expect to pay a few dollars fee though to the hotel) –  Gagravarr Aug 5 at 10:43

Depending on where you're traveling, a certain largest online retailer of the world offers a Locker Service which, when available, is the ideal solution here. Just order what you want from Amazon, select Amazon Locker as the delivery method, and when you get the delivery notification, just pick it up from the locker, (most of which are accessible 24/7, and located in convenience stores.).

Alternately, I travel for work, and need to have items shipped to me at hotels on a weekly basis - no hotel has ever had an issue receiving my package for me, and doing so is perfectly normal for them. Most will have procedures in place and shouldn't charge you or hassle you over it at all.

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What are doing when you are travelling for work? visiting clients? visiting a satellite office. It might be easier to receive things at the office. –  emory Aug 6 at 0:35
    
@emory there generally is no local office for me when I travel; without getting into details, let's just say that I have a highly unusual gig that can put me on the road for weeks at a time, and need to exchange physical packages with the home office roughly weekly. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Aug 6 at 0:40

Most of the courier services (UPS, FedEx) will hold packages for pick up at their office, similar to the General Delivery service from the post office mentioned earlier. Depending on where you are visiting, some cities multiple branches in town, some have only one. You can specify which branch if you are sending them to e bigger town. But small rural towns would not have an office, you have to have the package sent to your hotel or use the General Delivery method of USPS.

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Not entirely correct -- e.g. UPS Stores are not "branches", and they generally charge extra fees for keeping packages; there's often only one UPS place for a whole huge city where you can have your package held for free (just as any city has only one Gen Dev); however, unlike Gen Dev, such UPS holdup is generally very far away from the centre of the city. –  cnst yesterday

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