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Stock_luggage_st_2By Samantha Chapnick

Unless your next vacation involves an all-inclusive nudist colony, chances are your flight is going to involve a rude luggage awakening. Several airlines have added fees averaging $25 for a second checked bag, and even more for oversize luggage.

So why not let someone else do all the schlepping if you’re going to have to pay for it anyway?

If you’re definitely going to have an extra bag, it can even be cheaper to use a luggage delivery service.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • A full-service luggage delivery service will come to your door, pick up your packed luggage, wrap and ship it, track it, ensure it gets to your final destination in perfect condition, and, if desired, do the same for the return trip.
  • Anyone can send a bag through FedEx or UPS for significantly less than a luggage delivery service, because you do not get the hand-holding. Just be aware that neither FedEx nor UPS consider this their main service, so they neither promote it nor encourage it. TRANSLATION: Don’t expect sympathy when you’re at a Las Vegas hotel and your clubs are in South Beach.
  • Luggage shipping is more logical for domestic travel. For international travel, you might have to deal with customs-related delays.
  • The most popular luggage shippers are: Luggage Free, The Luggage Club, Luggage Forward and Sports Express. They vary in the ease of use of their sites. I will be testing them out over the next few months and will report in with my findings.
  • The average bag (30 pounds) will be picked up at your door, wrapped, shipped domestically for 5-business-day arrival and tracked for about $50 through Luggage Free. This includes $1,000 coverage in the event of loss or damage.
  • SportsExpress is specifically geared towards sports equipment, with items like a large golf bag costing about $160 and skis $100.
  • FedEx and UPS are the best budget choices, with a 30-pound bag costing only $20.15 (including home pick-up, but it has to be packaged by you).
  • For advance planners, Luggage Free is the cheapest full-service option. It charges only $1.65 per pound for 5-business-day shipping.
  • Expect expedited shipping (1-2 day) to be at least double or triple the cost of the slowest shipping.
  • Most luggage shippers do not time guarantee delivery to international destinations because customs delay is possible. Only SportsExpress guarantees an international delivery date and will expedite a shipment (for free) to meet the stated deadline.

NOTE: All prices and quotes here are for a 30-pound bag going from NYC to Miami via the slowest route.

Key questions to ask if you ship your luggage:

  1. How much is my bag insured for if it is lost, stolen or damaged?
  2. Are there any contents that are not covered (e.g. gift cards, jewelry, electronics equipment)
  3. What is the process of being reimbursed for loss, theft or damage? How long does it take from the time my claim is filed to reimbursement?
  4. How do you help me if the bag is lost or delayed on its way to my destination? Do you cover the cost of critical replacement items?
  5. What guarantees do you offer for timely arrival (if international, be sureto include customs delays)?
  6. Are there any hidden or extra fees that are not included in the quote?

Related Orbitz resources:

Samantha Chapnick is a New York writer who scours international destinations looking for what hasn’t been found.

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Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

MaryJo Lipman

MaryJo Lipman

MaryJo Lipman

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