UPDATE (July 31, 2020): In the current climate, Lugless is a good option for anyone that has to travel right now but doesn’t want the added stresses of having to show up to the airport early to check bags, worry if the bags are going to get lost, and worst of all stand around for what seems like an eternity to collect the bags on the other end. No one wants to be huddled around a baggage carousel during a pandemic. Lugless’s prices aren’t even much different from what the airlines charge. The one exception to that is Southwest Airlines, which allows two free bags, while most of the major airlines charge $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second (here’s AA’s baggage policy). That’s an extra $140 roundtrip if you’re checking two bags! I recently talked about the value of Lugless right now on The Tech Guy, which the company wrote about here.
Note: Keep in mind that some hotels charge a “receiving fee” so you should double-check with your destination before shipping. If you don’t even want to drop off your bags off at a FedEx or UPS, you can also pay extra for them to come to your house.
You’ve probably heard me or other travel professionals talk about the benefits of traveling with carry-on luggage only. Traveling carry-on only means you can show up to the airport much later, you don’t need to check in with an agent, you can change flights if there’s a mechanical problem, you can get bumped, you don’t have to worry about your bag getting lost, you don’t have to wait around at baggage claim for what seems like an eternity, you can take public transportation more easily, you don’t risk throwing your back out…
All that said, it’s almost impossible for some people on some trips to not check a bag—and for those people, there are luggage and delivery services that will ship luggage to their destination for them. In the past I’ve showed up at a FedEx Ground facility with my suitcase and just had them ship it home to me via ground. I’ve even put my dirty clothes in a box and shipped them home just so I didn’t have to deal with them, or while on a multi-destination trip.
A company called Lugless (the app is here) makes shipping your luggage easier than I’ve ever seen it. The website is a lot like an online travel agency’s, which makes it simple to use. You just put in your city pairs and choose one-way/roundtrip, your dates, and the type of baggage: Carry-on (25 pounds or less), Checked (25-50 pounds) or Oversize (50-75 pounds). The prices and options will then pop up, sorted by the different mail carriers (looks like the options are FedEx or UPS). I put in a date in mid-January for L.A. to NYC and was served prices that started at $39.99 for a Checked bag.
Once you’ve selected an option/price, the next page provides options for coverage and pick-up. They include four choices:
- Minimal, which is $0 extra for you to dropoff at UPS near you with no support, no coverage or guarantee. No wonder they describe it as living on the edge.
- Basic, which they describe as “just the barebones” but it’s the most popular because it comes with up to $100 coverage and tracking. That was $7 extra when I looked.
- Plus ($15 extra) comes with email and chat support, enhanced tracking, up to $300 coverage, and a carrier guarantee.
- Premium ($46 extra) includes doorstep pickup, phone support, enhanced tracking, coverage up to $500, and a full guarantee, and it’s refundable.
I love how easy Lugless makes pricing out and shipping a bag. If you have deep pockets and/or expense reports, it’s definitely worth it. It might even be worth it if you don’t have those things, because once you factor in the airline’s baggage fees (most U.S. carriers charge $25 for the first bag and $35 for a second; Southwest is the only one to offer two free checked bags), shipping your bags with a reliable carrier might actually save you money (and it might allow you to take public transportation once you touch down).
Note: If you ship your bags to a hotel, find out in advance if the hotel charges a “receiving fee.” Believe it or not, some hotels have added that surcharge.
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It’s too bad they’re only offering the service within the USA. I’ll be traveling by bus later this year, then flying to my final destination. It would have been nice to be able to just ship my suitcase direct and only deal with my backpack during the bus portion.