One of the first things you’ll do when you book a plane ticket is to figure out how your luggage will travel with you, whether that’s at your side as a carry-on or under the plane as checked luggage.
But did you know that it’s also possible and pretty easy to ship luggage when you travel? Luggage shipping services aren’t always the cheapest option when you travel, and often times checking a bag is much cheaper.
However, shipping luggage is certainly something to consider if you’ll be making multiple stops or want your luggage to meet you at your destination. Let’s explore everything you need to know about luggage shipping and the costs involved with the average luggage shipping service.
What We Cover
- The Cost of Shipping a Suitcase
- Best Luggage Shipping Services
- Luggage To Ship
- Luggage Forward
- Luggage Free
- FedEx and The UPS Store
- Pros and Cons of Luggage Shipping
- A Step By Step Guide to Ship Luggage
- 1. Schedule your service
- 2. Pack your suitcases
- 3. Meet your pickup
- 4. Travel to your destination
- 5. Meet your luggage
- 6. Book your return
- Getting the Most Out of Shipping Luggage
- Try Luggage Storage Services
- Pack Your Luggage for Shipping
- Use Actual Luggage for Shipping
- How much does it cost to ship a suitcase?
- Are there any cheaper alternatives to shipping a suitcase?
- What’s the fastest way to ship a suitcase?
The Cost of Shipping a Suitcase
Cost is unquestionably among the most important considerations for shipping luggage, but you may also want to investigate some reviews and past traveler experiences before selecting a service. The average cost to ship a suitcase will largely depend on the company you select, the weight and size of your baggage, and the distance you’re traveling.
Let’s assume you have one 30-pound suitcase (about 14 kg) at the maximum airline dimensions of 62 linear inches (157 cm).
On the low end, you can expect a shipping charge of $15 to $50 for movement within a single country. On average, for international shipping, you should expect a charge of $100 to $200. On the high end, when you’re shipping something very heavy, fast, and far, you can expect to pay at least $500.
Remember, however, that price isn’t the only factor when traveling with your stuff. Consider that shipping companies don’t always have the same size and weight limitations as airlines, so you can ship oddly shaped items and extra large baggage without the airline informing you that your luggage won’t fit under the plane.
Best Luggage Shipping Services
A quick Google search will show you multiple well-known shipping companies that will ship your luggage and companies that specialize in transporting luggage. The companies run the gamut for pricing and scheduling, so you may find it helpful to get a few quotes before you finalize your plans.
Here’s a quick list of some luggage shipping services:
|Luggage To Ship
|Prices start at $30 and increase based on how far the luggage will travel
|$89 to $150 for many bag types, from a 25 lb. bag to a 75 lb bag
|$200 to $500 for heavy bags shipped internationally
|Prices start at $15 and increase based on how far the luggage will travel, its size, and any extras
And here’s a little more detail, if you’re interested:
Luggage To Ship
Luggage To Ship will send your luggage to a domestic location anywhere in the United States or to almost any country around the world. Their main offering is luggage shipping, but they’ll also ship boxes and large pieces of sporting equipment like skis and bags of golf clubs. Conveniently, they also offer luggage storage.
Cost: Luggage to Ship prices their shipments by weight, and prices start at $30 and increase based on how far the luggage will travel.
Luggage Forward styles itself as a company that will help you transport your excess luggage. Some airlines charge quite a bit when you have more than one checked bag, and others restrict how many bags you can take.
Cost: $89 to $150 for many bag types, from a 25 lb bag to a 75 lb bag.
See Related: Ways to Luggage-Free Travel (Yes; It’s Possible!)
Luggage Free is a more expensive service overall, but they promise white glove treatment for your bags. The company takes care of everything for you once you’ve packed your suitcase, from shipping labels to the drop-off and pick-up.
Cost: Reasonable rates when you have a heavy bag. Costs are usually in the range of $200 to $500 for heavy bags shipped internationally from as far as the United States to a location like Hong Kong.
LugLess prices its shipments on the size of your bag and how far it’s going. You can also pay extra to have it shipped faster. You’ll save money with LugLess, especially with international shipping, when you give the company a few extra days to transport your suitcase.
Cost: LugLess indicates their cheapest price is $15, but you’ll see that price increase when you have a very large bag that requires extra space, you’re traveling very far, or you buy any of their extras.
FedEx and The UPS Store
FedEx and The UPS Store definitely aren’t traditional luggage shippers, but they do send properly packed luggage all over the world. The only drawback to these shipping services is that they tend to cost more than dedicated luggage shippers.
However, if you’re keen on using a provider with which you already have experience, you may want to check out the rates from The UPS Store or FedEx.
Average Cost: Using a traditional shipping service is usually more expensive than other options and can cost somewhere around $200 for ground shipping across the United States.
See Related: Postage to Germany: Everything You Need to Know
Originally a luggage storage company, Nannybag is one of the easiest services I’ve found to ship luggage. With no limits on luggage, you book online, Nannybag emails you a shipping label, and then you and your luggage can part ways! A courier will pick up and deliver your luggage to the desired destination.
Sadly, as of writing, Nannybag has indefinitely suspended its luggage shipping service “for reasons beyond our control.” We’re hoping they get back to shipping soon!
Cost: With no limit on the weight and size of your luggage or even how many bags, prices would’ve started at around $50 for shipping to Europe and $60 for the Americas.
Pros and Cons of Luggage Shipping
As with any travel service, shipping luggage has upsides and downsides. Consider the following when deciding whether to let someone else take your luggage from point A to point B.
- No waiting at baggage claim for your suitcase
- No dealing with lugging your suitcases through the airport
- Shipping a suitcase is sometimes less expensive than the additional fees charged by airlines to ship your suitcase
- Enjoy the confidence of real-time tracking with some shippers
- Shipping luggage can get more expensive than just taking it on the plane
- You don’t get to maintain control of your luggage when someone else ships it.
- Not getting your luggage in time can put a knot in your itinerary
See Related: Best Places to Buy Luggage
A Step By Step Guide to Ship Luggage
Shipping luggage does require a little extra effort at the start of your journey, but you’ll enjoy the convenience during your time spent traveling. Here are the simple steps for shipping luggage.
1. Schedule your service
Most luggage transport companies offer online, app, or telephone reservations, so it’s easy to set up your shipping date. The easiest way to arrange your luggage transport is to set up the shipment online but bear in mind you may need internet access at your destination to contact your shipping company.
2. Pack your suitcases
Shortly before your appointment for luggage pick up, pack your suitcases. You may want to invest in a luggage scale and a measuring tape to gauge your final cost, especially if you’re using a company to avoid oversized baggage fees. Luggage shipping companies usually charge for their services according to weight, size, or the costlier of those two measurements.
3. Meet your pickup
The luggage shipper will pick up your luggage at a specific time, and they’ll give you an estimated time of arrival at your destination, too. If you have an issue with the arrival time, you’ll want to book luggage storage, too.
Conveniently, luggage shipping companies tend to offer doorstep pickup, but technically, you can arrange to have the company pick up from almost anywhere. Some companies that ship luggage even have drop-off options in some cities.
4. Travel to your destination
Enjoy the freedom of traveling to your destination without worrying about lugging your suitcase all around the airport. The best luggage shipping services tend to offer an on-time delivery guarantee, so make sure you hold the company to its promise and seek a refund if they don’t live up to their end of the deal.
5. Meet your luggage
Your luggage delivery will occur at a pre-determined location, but you may need to allow the delivery company a window of time. Many hotels will also take possession of your luggage if it arrives before you. Just make sure to call your hotel to confirm they’ll hold your luggage and give them a heads up on the arrival.
Some luggage shippers will even send luggage shipments to destinations like cruise ships, so you can arrive at your ship ready to travel with your baggage waiting for you.
6. Book your return
You can set up return shipping for your luggage at the time you make your initial reservation. If your plans are open-ended, try to make the return reservation as soon as you know your schedule. If scheduling is a little dicey with your location or departure, you might want to ship your luggage a day ahead and carry a backpack or an overnight bag for your return trip.
See Related: LEVEL8 Luggage & Cases Review: Worth the Price?
Getting the Most Out of Shipping Luggage
Try Luggage Storage Services
If you can’t meet your luggage immediately when it arrives at your destination, you can use a luggage storage company like Nannybag, which is a service that stores your luggage for you during your travels. Some companies that ship luggage ahead also store luggage, so inquire with the company if you need some time to store the bags.
Pack Your Luggage for Shipping
Although reputable luggage shippers will always get your luggage to its destination without incident, the process isn’t without its perils. Avoid packing a lot of fragile items, and always wrap up liquids or anything else that could spill during the journey. Just assume your bag will experience some serious turbulence during transit, even if your shipper promises white glove service. Consider travel insurance for extra protection.
Use Actual Luggage for Shipping
You might score a discount on the price if you ship your possessions in a box, but you’ll find it somewhat inconvenient to tote a box around during your vacation, especially if you have to take it in and out of a rental car every day or two. Always use a piece of luggage for shipping, so you can enjoy the convenience of a roller bag during your travels. If you’re relocating abroad for the long term, feel free to use a box if it will save you money and your shipper will allow it.
How much does it cost to ship a suitcase?
You’ll see prices as cheap as $15 for shipping a suitcase slowly across a short distance, but costs may rise to more than a hundred dollars if you need your shipment fast, you’re shipping very heavy luggage, or you buy extra services like residential pick-up.
Are there any cheaper alternatives to shipping a suitcase?
You can ship your suitcase less expensively than traditional mail, especially when you drop off your suitcase at the shipping provider rather than select door-to-door service. For some destinations, traditional shippers like the USPS and The UPS Store are less expensive than dedicated luggage shippers.
What’s the fastest way to ship a suitcase?
Shipping luggage takes a few days, but you can make the process faster by picking the luggage up from your shipper at the destination. At a minimum, it will take a few days and probably up to a week for your luggage to arrive. The cost will increase when you select a fast shipping option.