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If you watch local or national news, then no doubt you’ve heard about one of this summer’s hot travel topics: airlines losing checked luggage. It’s so frustrating because most travelers have everything they need in those bags for their trip and puts a huge wrench into their plans. And to add insult to injury, most airlines charge extra for checking the bags they then proceed to lose.
I’ve devoted several posts to this subject since the writing was on the wall. Airlines and airports have been and will continue to be short staffed for a while. Here are some of my past articles on the subject:
–Why This is the Summer for Carry-On Only Baggage
–8 Ways To Make Sure An Airline Doesn’t Lose Your Bag … And That You Don’t Get Robbed or Stalked
–Airline Lost Your Luggage? Do This If You Want to Get Compensated
TIP: Drop an Apple AirTag (or Samsung SmartTag for Android users) into your checked luggage to track your bag yourself using your phone.
I’ve also done a ton of interviews on the subject and even interviewed an executive whose $5 service promises to get your bag to your destination airport within 96 hours or they will compensate you $1,000.
So I’m getting to be an expert on checked baggage.
Speaking of travel experts, Peter Greenberg always jokes that there are two kinds of airline baggage: carry-on… and lost. Which is why Peter says he’s been shipping his bags on domestic trips for over a decade. He doesn’t ship internationally because it’s too expensive and it’s always getting held up in customs and immigration.
Before I had kids, I flew almost exclusively with carry-on only. Even on round-the-world, month-long trips. The only time I wouldn’t was if I was going to a cold climate as winter clothes are so bulky.
My carry-on is usually packed to the gills so even if I purchased just one item I would end up either checking a bag on my return trip or shipping a bag/box if I was in the U.S.
TIP: If you think you might shop, pack a compact duffel bag to put your old clothes in so you don’t have to scramble looking for or buying new luggage.
When I did ship a bag or box, I would use FedEx Ground or UPS since it’s cheaper than USPS or overnight. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even put it in a box as they would just ship the whole bag.
Important and worth repeating: To ship a bag economically, you have to use the slowest mode possible and don’t wait until the last minute. Do it at least five days in advance to send it ground.
Also keep in mind that some hotels charge a “receiving fee” so you should double-check with your destination before shipping.
I can already hear some readers asking, “Why would you go through all that trouble instead of checking a suitcase or two?” Well, the benefits of traveling with carry-on only is huge and that was the case well before this summer of travel chaos.
Traveling carry-on not 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 and you’re not stuck at your destination without any clothes.
Besides FedEx Ground and UPS, there are other companies that ship luggage and they specialize in this service. I don’t know many and haven’t used any other than shipping direct with FedEx and UPS but one that I would use, based on a friend’s recommendation, is Lugless.
With Lugless 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 (the options are FedEx or UPS).
I put in September 15 for an L.A. to NYC trip and was served prices that started at $32.99 and the dates I would need to have it dropped off or picked up.
Friday, September 9: $32.99
Monday, September 12: $57.99
Tuesday, September 13: $94.99
Wednesday, September 14: $102.99
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 $200 coverage and tracking. That was $7 extra when I looked.
- Plus ($18 extra) comes with email and chat support, enhanced tracking, up to $500 coverage, and a carrier guarantee.
- Premium ($46 extra) includes doorstep pickup, phone support, enhanced tracking, coverage up to $700, and a full guarantee, and it’s refundable.
As you can see, planning can save huge amounts of money.
Please comment below if you have shipped your bag before and what your experience like using that particular company.