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lost luggage

How to Ship a Suitcase for Less Than the Airline Bag Fee


Bag shipping service LugLess wants you to ship a suitcase instead of lugging it to the airport—and claims to have figured out how to do it for cheaper than some airlines’ checked bag fees.

The cost to ship one bag (under 50 pounds) starts at $23 for a short trip, and $40 for transcontinental journeys. Compare that with the $70 that its owner and market leader Luggage Forward charges and the $30 bag fees most airlines now impose for domestic journeys and it seems like it could be a good deal.

LugLess works by shipping your bag with UPS or FedEx, depending on which is offering the best price. For the minimum cost you’ll have to bring your bag to a drop-off center. Having it picked up at your house, office, or hotel may cost more.

It’s not the simplest process beyond drop off and pick up: Standard service can take several business days in transit, and anyone who’s had issues with FedEx or UPS delivery might be skeptical. You could try to minimize the timing issue by shipping in advance of your trip, so that your stuff is there when you arrive. And you might worry less about whether it takes a few days when you’re shipping home, since you’ll be arriving to all the comforts of home and can usually keep what items you truly need (toiletries, meds, etc.) with you in transit.

But with bag fees now at $30 on most lines, shipping it for about the same cost avoids the aggravation of checking your bag on an airline, especially if you have a short connection, and especially if you hate waiting for your stuff at a luggage carousel.

Would you ship a suitcase to your final destination? Comment below.

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Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuses every day at SmarterTravel.

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