A New Way to Travel Light

Passengers on plane

You’ve seen those people at the airport—the ones who look cool, collected, and weirdly luggage free.

Want to know their secret?

They ship their bags. Given what airlines are charging for checked baggage these days, you might want to consider it. There are two main options:


  • Hired hands. Full-service luggage shipping companies offer an enticing combination of pick-up and drop-off (and some insurance coverage).

    At LugLess, prices start at $39 for a carry-on bag, $59 for a standard case. LuggageFree charges by weight. You pay more for international shipping (natch), and less if you can ship your bags a few days ahead (to get that surfboard to Maui before you arrive, say).

    Convenience aside, these companies “are really just middlemen,” says Sean O’Neill, a travel blogger. “Most luggage services rely on companies like FedEx and UPS.”


Which leads to option #2:


  • DIY. Bringing luggage to FedEx or UPS yourself might sound like a headache, but a) they will ship directly to your hotel; and b) if your bags weigh more than 55 pounds, the price might be close to what the airline will charge, O’Neill says.


Power Point
Despite raking in billions in baggage fees, airlines still lose or damage about two million bags a year; in 2011, 26 million bags went missing from international flights.


Heavy lifting. What travel services have made your life easier?