South Dakota: The Mecca For Full-Time Travelers

south dakotaEveryone needs an address.

Even those who travel full time need some type of physical address.

Credit cards, insurance companies,, banks, the government, and so on, need an address even if you do everything on line.

Most people’s first thought would be to use an address belonging to a family member or friend. But what if they live in states that are unfriendly due to  high income taxes and strict regulations?

Thanks to a growing number of full time RV’ers, there is a place to go that was designed for those who travel–South Dakota.

South Dakota officials, looking for a way to make money yet keep costs low, saw a big market in full time RV’ers. The state would allow these mechanical nomads to  register their vehicles by mail. They would never actually have to set foot in South Dakota. To make it even easier, the state did away with annual inspections. They didn’t limit it to just RV’s. All vehicles can register the same way.

The next logical step would be to offer driver’s licenses and voters registration to these same people. While they can’t allow that to be done by mail or online, they did make a category where you would be able to get these two official documents even if you didn’t reside full time in the state. All you would need is some type of address. (And proof that the night before you go for the driver’s license you stayed in either a hotel or RV park and don’t actually have a home in the state.)

Very quickly, a cottage industry started to rise. The private mail box. These companies, peppered throughout the state, offer not only an address but mail forwarding services as well.  Some  have become so high tech they will email you  every time you get mail, tell you who sent it,  ask if you want it sent and to where.

One of these companies,  in Sioux Falls, located itself across the street from the DMV, down the street from a bank, and next door to an insurance agency. They will even walk you from place to place if you so desire. They claim one of their clients can take care of getting a drivers license, voter’s registration, a bank account, and insurance in less than a day. (And Target is down the block as well should you need to stock up on those under 3 oz samples for the 3-1-1 bag.)

And if all that wasn’t enough, South Dakota has no state income tax.

While it’s not official yet, OBOW may be moving to South Dakota. At least on paper.

Lastly, South Dakota has no state income tax.

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8 Responses to South Dakota: The Mecca For Full-Time Travelers

  1. Luke says:

    I can see this lasting only until South Dakota’s “official” population grows to the point that they pick up another representative in the Congress, and a high-tax state loses one. I wonder how the district would get drawn.

  2. Liz says:

    Got a kick about the lack of either hyphen or combination of the words full and time.

    I initially thought article would be about time travelers, lol

  3. MWebb says:

    I had a private mailbox once and my mailbox always filled up with junk mail and catalogs, only got bills around the 1st and 15th. If you can circular file the junk mail with an email back to the mail service, that would be perfect.

    As for bills all my companies want to send via email now anyway.

  4. Frank@OBOW says:

    I’ve had private mailboxes in the past and had my mail sent to me. They had a standing order never to send the junk,…..I mean “bulk” mail. My postal carrier corrected on that.

    I, too, pay all my bills online. But, banks, credit card companies, etc, still want an address for their records.

  5. Emi8608 says:

    I’m a South Dakota “resident”. As a travel nurse I move every 3-ish months all around the US and it was such a pain to change my address every time. So I went to SD, got my drivers licence and registered my car and pay a company to maintain my “residence” and forward my mail to me. Costs $13 a month for weekly delivery, though I’ve eliminated so much physical mail that I’m downgrading to twice a month mailings. I still have to pay income taxes in the state that I’m working in, but I don’t have to deal with filing in an extra home state like I did when I was claiming Missouri as home.

    • Frank@OBOW says:

      I’m about to start the process of “moving” to South Dakota. I spoke to my accountant and he thought it was a good idea,

      Do you mind me asking which company you use for “mail services” and whether or not you like them? How tough was it to get the Driver’s license? Just formalities or did you have to take a written and drivers test as well?

  6. Emi8608 says:

    I use My Dakota Address out of Madison,SD. Their website is pretty basic but had a good walk-through for what steps to take for license and DMV stuff. We spent one night in SD while driving from Miami to Portland, took the hotel receipt and proof that I had a mailbox address to get my license. Make sure you arrange for your mail delivery service first so that you have an address to put on your license. They recognized that I was using a address service and my drivers license lists my unit address as PMB 123 (for Private Mail Box I believe) and didn’t give me any trouble. No tests required. My Dakota Address will take care of your car licensing for you for a small fee, but I did it myself while I was in town.

    The company has been very easy to work with, you choose what day of the week and how frequently you want your mail delivered and just update them everytime you move either by phone or email. I only had one time when they failed to send any mail for a few weeks, but when I called them they were very apologetic and overnighted everything to me.

    Cheap, easy and a good conversation starter with people who see my ID card. FWIW my boyfriend is a Florida “resident” for the same reason. I chose SD because as a nurse they are what’s called a Compact State which means that my RN license is good in about 25 different states, FL isn’t a part of that. Texas would have been an option too.

    Good luck with the “move”!

  7. Frank@OBOW says:

    Thanks. I think South Dakota is the only state that lets you use a PMB as your “official” address. That’s why so many full time RV-ers register there. All the other “tax-free” states require “real” residency.