Shipping your baggage may save money and trouble

via Shipping your baggage may save money and trouble | Consumer Watch, clarionledger.com, 2/8/2013

It’s no secret that, in recent years, major airlines have been adding fees for various services which were once included with your ticket price. One added cost which has generated more controversy than just about anything else is the fee to check bags. If you have flown recently, you probably know that checking a suitcase can add significantly to your travel cost.

So, if you’re going to be paying for it anyway, why not consider shipping your bags? Shipping services such as FedEx, UPS and other services will ship your bags right to your hotel, where they’ll be waiting for you, and back home when you’re ready to leave. You can skip the baggage check counter and proceed straight to security, knowing that your belongings are in the hands of the same accountable system you use to send packages for your business (and whose track record is generally much better than those of airlines). You don’t have to tip anybody, and you don’t have to haul your heavy stuff down long airport terminals.

Whether it’s more cost-effective to ship or check bags depends on the size and weight of the bags, plus what fees, if any, the airlines charge for checking them. The consumer site airfarewatchblog has more information. Several baggage shipping services have also popped up in recent years. Many of these services are compared (including carriers such as FedEx and UPS) on the travel site Seatguru.com.

If you’re considering shipping your luggage, consider the following:

  • You must plan ahead. To take full advantage of the best rates (5-7 day delivery), consider packing and shipping a week early.
  • Weight matters. Keep in mind that some airlines, such as Southwest, offer free bag check up to a certain weight (50 pounds in the case of Southwest) for no additional charge. But exceeding those limits can be costly; Southwest now charges $75.00 for an “oversized” bag.
  • Travel light. In many cases, keeping your baggage small, such as in a carry-on size, can help reduce or eliminate baggage fees entirely.
  • Shop around. You’ll find a lot of services out there, in a range of prices. Comparison shopping will help ensure you get the best deal.
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