If you’re thinking about experimenting with life as a digital nomad – or even if you’re planning a long road trip or backpacking holiday – you’ve probably wondered what to do about your mail.

Many people ask their family, flatmates or neighbours to store or forward their letters or bills onto them, but having a virtual mailbox saves you a lot of time and hassle. You can manage your correspondence directly, without relying on anyone else.

Virtual mailboxes are becoming more and more popular. That’s for good reason, they’re quick and easy to set up, and a great way to keep on top of your affairs. You can relax and focus on the important things, knowing that your mail is in good hands!


What exactly is a virtual mailbox?

A virtual mailbox is actually a physical address, where people, companies and Government agencies can send you mail. The ‘virtual’ moniker refers to the fact that you can view your mail online, and then decide what you want to do with it.

When you open a Private Box account you can choose whether you want us to automatically scan all your mail and send it to you, or if you would prefer to log into your account online, and then personally select the items you want scanned.

You can also opt for physical mail forwarding. This is particularly handy if you receive a specific item, like a new credit card or an official letter, which you need to keep.

We can forward your mail to more than 230 countries, and we also forward your mail to specific collection points around New Zealand (which is handy if you know approximately where you’re going to be).

We’ll also provide free, secure Cloud storage of all scanned documents, OCR (optical character recognition), which turns hand written text into digital type, and optimal automatic destruction (which allows you to have your mail destroyed a week after it’s scanned and sent to you).

Aside from being able to access your mail quickly, you can also use your virtual street address to register your vehicle which is very convenient if you don’t have a fixed abode.


Where will my mailbox be?

Your account gives you access to all of our locations; when you join up you will be asked to specify which location you want your mail delivered to.

We currently have locations in Auckland, Wellington and Tauranga in the North Island, and in Christchurch and Queenstown in the South Island.


What about parcels?

We can currently only sign for parcels and courier deliveries at our Auckland and Wellington addresses.

The cost of physically forwarding your parcels depends on the weight and size of the package you want forwarded, and the shipping service you choose.

There is a small handling fee ranging from $1 to receive a parcel, to $4.5o to ship a small parcel, and $15.50 for a larger one.

There are also some limits on what you can have sent to you internationally. For example, animal products, such as honey, and dairy products like milk and cheese, cannot be exported without a license. There are also restrictions on flammable substances such as perfume.

For more information on receiving your mail overseas, check out our Global Mail Forwarding page.


What if I want my letters and parcels stored?

If you want to keep your paper letters until you return, you can. We also offer free physical storage for up to 25 letters.

You can also store extra letters, larger envelopes and parcels with us, for a small monthly charge. If you’re only going to be away for a short period of time, this might be a good option.


How can I get a virtual mailbox?

To get a virtual mailbox with us, you will need some form of photo identification such as a passport.The type of identity document you need to provide can vary, please see our guide to verification requirements for more information.

You will also be asked either to provide a quick video for a visual verification, or take part in a video call. Without confirmed proof of identity, we cannot offer you a mailbox.


How much will it cost?

A virtual mailbox for personal use starts at $19 a month. If you need it for longer, you can also sign up for our $190 a year option. When you first sign up, you will be eligible for a 30-day trial that only costs $1.

A personal mailbox comes with a street address, a suite number and five free auto scans. You can add up to two other people to your personal virtual mailbox for a small fee.

You might also like to think about this option if you’re travelling with your partner or with a group of friends, and you want to save money.


Do you have options for businesses?

Yes, we do! If you want to stay on top of your business affairs while travelling – or even if you just want to create a bit of separation between your home life, and your business –  we provide a premium mailbox option.

With the premium option, you will receive a trading name and you can grant up to 25 staff members access to your mail.  You can also upgrade to our ‘registered office’ service, which also includes a suite of optional services such as a professional answering service.

Private Boxes virtual offices are a great choice if you don’t have a physical premises. You can use them as your official business address for the purposes of the Companies Register, meaning that you have more privacy and safety than you would receive if you listed your home address online.

Our office services are offered on a month-by-month basis but you can renew your contract as necessary. In today’s digital era, many people choose to work remotely on a permanent basis.

Our virtual offices can also be used if you’re based overseas but want your business to have a presence in New Zealand. Check out our website for more information on starting a New Zealand-based company or subsidiary.


How many accounts/mailboxes can I have?

We can only allow one account per person, due to New Zealand’s anti-money laundering legislation.

You can however receive your personal mail on your business account, we can set up a separate mailbox for you, under the same account.


Get started today

Whether you’re heading away on the holiday of a lifetime, or you’re travelling while also trying to write a blog or run a business, time is one of the most important resources you have.

With a virtual mailbox you can view your letters quickly and easily, wherever you are in the world. You can also have them forwarded to you, destroyed, or stored securely until you return. As an added bonus, virtual mailboxes are eco-friendly, you don’t need to worry about carting postcards and letters around with you, and managing messy paper waste.

All you need to get started is an internet connection, and a phone or computer.

If you’re interested in Private Box’s services, you can have a look at our plans and pricing here or check out our frequently asked questions.

Bon voyage!