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Is it possible to order from an online store that ships via UPS so that I can pick it up while on vacation in the US? As I will be couch surfing I would like to send it to a "neutral" pick up station.

What would be the best approach to do this? Can I enter a pick up station as the recipient address of my order?

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    Does it have to be UPS? Or would shipping via the post (USPS) be an option? – Gagravarr Apr 4 '15 at 12:08
  • How big is the package? – Gayot Fow Apr 4 '15 at 17:08
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    Clarified title. You're not looking for a one-night-stand, it's about package delivery. – Gayot Fow Apr 4 '15 at 17:43
  • Depending on what it is, you may not need to have it delivered at all (see Amazon Locker for example). – Burhan Khalid Apr 5 '15 at 6:06
  • @BurhanKhalid - I believe Amazon lockers can only be used for items ordered through or returned to Amazon. You can do the same for any other item using FedEx or UPS lockers/dropboxes. – Dean F. Apr 29 at 15:27
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When I needed something mailed in the US while travelling, I organised ahead with a hostel in Los Angeles. We were going to stay there anyway, and you might find they want you to book a night if you're going to collect mail from them, but give a hostel a call and see if they'll accept mail on your behalf - I've done it in several countries now with no problems.

(Wait, one problem, a package in Moscow never showed up. But generally it's worked fine).

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Both UPS and FedEX have a "hold at depot" option. You put your name on the package but their address plus "c/o UPS hold at depot".

The downside is the depots are usually in industrial parks near the airport with a complete lack of public transportation. You will need a car to go get it.

The delivery/pickup window is also limited - after 3-4 days they will send the package back.

If it can go regular mail you can use general delivery (as it is known in the US; also known as poste restante in much of the rest of the world). This doesn't work in big cities, but in smaller towns with only one post office they just put the package on the shelf until you show up.

If you are near either border there are receiving warehouses that will accept nearly anything. You will be charged a (reasonable) receiving and daily storage fee.

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    Yes, you can do general delivery in cities (with more than one ZIP code), but usually only one post office in the city handles this mail, and you need to find out which in advance, to get the correct ZIP code, and to locate the post office. – Michael Hampton Apr 7 '15 at 1:13
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    I should also note that, at least where I live, the city bus to the airport also runs right by the UPS warehouse. So you could exit the airport and pick up your stuff from UPS just minutes later. – Michael Hampton Apr 7 '15 at 1:19
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FedEx or UPS Dropbox options

If you are shipping an item to a location in the United States, FedEx, UPS, and the US Postal Service have options to ship it to a non-residential pick up location. As the other commenters have posted, shipping it to a specific hotel, hostel, or home where you have a reservation is always an option. Most hotels where I have ever stayed have specific procedures/protocols for this. When traveling for conferences, business presenters will typically forward their display materials ahead to where they are staying. You can do the same with golf clubs, bicycles, or other cumbersome luggage. There are also privately owned companies, stores, and other locations that will hold any mail or packages for you to pick up upon your arrival.

The one option that I did not see that would probably be more convenient and secure would be a FedEx or UPS drop box. Here, in the states, there are plenty of locations specifically operated and administered by FedEx and UPS themselves. In my metropolitan area, there are plenty of FedEx and UPS central depots/hubs to choose from when requesting them to hold your package there. Most people choose to instead have their package delivered to a local dropbox. These drop boxes are nearly everywhere. And, they can be accessed nearly any time of day. That way, you can choose one a very short (even walking) distance from where you will be staying. And, pick it up at any time. Here is a short list of drop boxes just in my neighborhood:

  • outside of FedEx Office (formerly Kinkos Copy Shop)
  • The UPS Store
  • Whole Foods Grocery Store
  • 7-Eleven Gas Station
  • Wal-Mart
  • Tom Thumb grocery store
  • Walgreens Pharmacy
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • City Municipal Center
  • OfficeMax office supply store
  • random high rise office building
  • random bank
  • random credit union
  • random grocery store

That is just to name a few on a random Tuesday.

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One option I recently found out about is Shipito. It is a company that offers a USA address (in fact it has a few adresses for you to choose from) for shipping things you buy online. They can hold your stuff for up to 90 days and they will charge you 1 dollar (+ shipping costs) to deliver your goods anywhere in the world.

I assume they can deliver in any american address, as well. You probably can pick up your stuff in their depots too, but perhaps, ship it to you may be cheaper than renting a car or a cab to go to one of their depots.

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If you're ordering from Amazon you have another option in many areas--Amazon locker. Around here there are about 1 per 100,000 people. You specify the locker as the shipping address, you use your phone to actually retrieve your package. Nothing too big is permitted, though--it has to fit the lockers.

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In cases like this, you can use a package forwarding service. It works in 3 steps:

  1. You get the US address with a unique suite ID.
  2. When ordering a product, you use this address. Once the package forwarding company receives your product, you will get a notification email.
  3. You select the delivery method from the US to your country.

The postage costs are lower than shipping with the courier by yourself thanks to huge discounts the package forwarding companies get.

I have good experiences with Planet Express. However, there are dozens of options on the market

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  • This is needlessly expensive if the OP is going to be in the US anyway. – lambshaanxy May 1 at 4:32
  • I don't say it pays off every time but there are situations that it pays off. And it is definitely cheaper than shipping with the carrier directly. :-) – Terry Clarke May 11 at 12:42

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