Now that airlines are cracking down on carry-on items and charging for checked baggage, you might want to ship your luggage ahead to your destination via UPS or FedEx. You won't need to wait on check-in lines, at baggage carousels or lug your luggage through the airport.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Address of your hotel or other destination including zip code
- Transportation to and from a UPS or FedEx store
- Credit card
Plan ahead. Remember you won't have access to the items you ship until you arrive at your destination.
Time your shipment to arrive the day before you do. It takes between one and five business days depending on the service you choose. Faster is more expensive. Sending a 22.7kg. suitcase from New York to California by UPS regular ground transport costs about £37, as of 2009. Sending it next day air bumps the fee up to about £141.
Get a tracking number so you can keep tabs on your package.
Alert the hotel that your luggage will arrive before you do. Ask them to hold it for you. If your destination is a private house, make sure someone will be there to receive the package.
Call the store that shipped your package one day before you want your items picked up for return. Give them your pickup destination and pay by credit card. Your luggage will arrive home after you do. Do not ship any items you may need during that interim period.
Tips and warnings
- Let the shipper pack your clothes in a box or put the suitcase in a box. If you ship an unboxed suitcase, you'll pay a surcharge for an "irregular" package.
- There are some private companies providing this service but, while they will pick up from your home, most use UPS or Fed Ex for transport. It's cheaper to go directly to the shipper.
- Shipping your bags may cost more than checking them through the airline. Go to your airline's website to find out their current charges for checked luggage. Most fees start at £9 for the first bag; £16 for the second.
- You'll pay more for Saturday delivery. None of these services have Sunday delivery.
- International services are available but may be complicated and expensive.