Have you ever seen parents at the airport trying to wrangle kids from running in every direction while simultaneously lugging their already over packed bags and their kids’ bags? How about a traveler waiting at the baggage claim with a concerned look on their face as the last bag was taken off the carousel? Unfortunately, these scenarios are all too familiar and this part of travel can be most exhausting.
Shipping luggage is a smart alternative to this inefficient way of traveling. When you ship luggage ahead, you can breeze through the airport and arrive at your destination stress-free.
However, with numerous luggage shipping options out there, you need to make sure to do your homework as rates, reliability and services offered by different luggage forwarding solutions can vary greatly. To make the process easier, we provided questions that will help you decide which luggage shipping company is right for you.
- Pricing: Is the pricing all-inclusive? If you don’t want to pay for hidden checking or carry-on fees why would you do that with a shipper? Ask whether additional fees will be added to the base shipping rate that you are quoted. Often times a pickup fee or fuel surcharge is applied after the fact. Unless you understand the complete cost up front, it is impossible to accurately compare the alternatives.
- Guarantee: Do you offer an on-time guarantee? Does it apply to all shipments, even ones being delivered to another country? If a company does not provide at least a full money-back guarantee for late arriving shipments, you should look elsewhere. Accidents happen, but reliable companies will offer a full money back guarantee and also cover any additional expenses that come from losing a bag. Make sure you ask to see this in writing before booking.
- Packaging: Is additional packaging required? The majority of shipping companies require luggage to be sent in a box if you would like coverage for the value of your items. Even some specialty luggage shippers require wrapping luggage in large plastic bags. If luggage shipping is supposed to be hassle-free, make sure the shipper provides an option that you find convenient.
- International: Sending your personal items to a foreign country can be an incredibly complicated undertaking and you will want to choose a company that has the experience to navigate the process on your behalf. Make sure the company you choose completes all required Customs documentation for you and also oversees the Customs clearance process. If the country-specific customs regulations are not understood, lengthy delays, costly duties and taxes can result. Using a company that has proven specialization in forwarding luggage to the country you’re traveling to can save you time, money and aggravation.
- Reliability: How do I know that your company provides a reliable luggage delivery service? In addition to the guarantees mentioned above, look beyond marketing material or selected client testimonials for objective, independent verification of the company’s credibility. How long has a company been in business? Partnerships with leading travel providers and positive press coverage are all good indicators of a reputable company.
- Pick-up windows: What pick-up times do you provide? If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your luggage outside or with a bellman, consider finding a company that offers times that work around your schedule. If you want to be there when it’s picked up, some companies offer a pick-up window of 15-20 minutes — allowing you to not have to wait around for two hours or leave your luggage.
- Value Protection: If something happens to my bag, do you offer value protection? If a wheel pops off or a bag is ripped, responsible luggage shippers will have a written policy in place to repair, replace or reimburse you for any damage to your suitcase.
By asking the questions above, it will ensure that you gather enough information to make the right choice for luggage free travel. Happy travels!
— By Zeke Adkins, Co-Founder of Luggage Forward