Most travelers do not even consider shipping their luggage. However, when it comes to international travel, shipping can add up quickly, and you might want to weigh all your options.
In fact, international travel, regardless of whether you ship your luggage or check it, is pretty costly and laborious.
So, which should you choose? In this article, we will thoroughly investigate whether you should check your bags or ship them for international travel. Let’s get started.
If you are only traveling with one small bag or so, checking your bag is incredibly convenient. It allows you to pack more items on your trip. Almost all major airlines will charge you for checking your first and second bags for most domestic and some international flights because of this convenience.
Despite the high price of checking your bags, very few airlines offer a guarantee that your bags will arrive at your destination on time. In other words, your bags may be delayed, or they may be lost entirely. Talk about a bad start to an international trip!
Even budget flights tend to cost quite a bit for luggage. While more upscale flights will let you bring a travel item for free, airlines like Spirit and Allegiant require you to pay for carry-ons and any additional weight for your checked bags.
Even more upsetting is that the price of checking your bags has gone up for nearly every airline. This includes JetBlue, Air Canada, WestJet, United Airlines, and more. This increased price applies to domestic and international baggage fees alike.
Paying an extra $5 for one bag is not that big of a deal for most travelers. However, if you have to check multiple bags, the price will quickly add up, especially if you travel frequently and consider both the arrival and return flight. Because checking luggage has become pricier as of late, many travelers are looking for cheaper options.
One potential alternative for international travel is getting your luggage shipped. Although many people have shipped an item or two during their international travels—usually larger souvenirs or purchases that can’t be put in a suitcase—very few people think of shipping their entire luggage.
Before we discuss shipping your luggage for international flights, it is important to note that this process is not very simple.
As you probably know already, standard service is unpredictable in terms of timing. The last thing you want is for your items to not reach your destination long after you are supposed to return home.
There are certain times when shipping your luggage is advantageous. If you do not have time to wait for your luggage at the carousel or have bulky items, shipping your luggage may be more advantageous than getting it checked.
In terms of international travel, however, shipping your luggage is not normally the cheapest option. On many international flights, travelers can check one bag for free, though this is not guaranteed. As a result, shipping your luggage for international trips is not normally the most economical option.
- One of the more popular shipping options is Luggage Forward.
- Luggage Forward almost always costs more than checking, but it is considered more convenient. They come to your doorstep for pickup and delivery.
- Despite Luggage Forward’s higher price, this is a very convenient option for professional or amateur athletes who do not want to check their bulky gear. Luggage Forward makes it much easier to travel with these bulkier items.
- Another popular shipping option is LugLess. LugLess is much more comparable in price to checking luggage.
- If you only have one bag, checking it may be less expensive. Checking two or more bags, however, will likely be more expensive than shipping it through LugLess.
- The downside of LugLess is that you need to ship your bags in advance. Depending on where you want to go around the world, your bag will need to be shipped off five to six days before your departure.
- Similarly, you will not receive your bags until five or six days after you have returned.
Which Should You Choose for Travelling Abroad?
Now that we have looked at both options in more detail, let’s discuss when you should choose to check-in versus shipping your luggage.
Overall, checking your luggage is best for international flights. In most international cases, it is more economical and less of a hassle.
For the regular international traveler, checking in your luggage is more advantageous and economical for international flights. As we mentioned, most airlines allow you to check one bag for free per traveler. If your airline offers this, it is certainly better to check your luggage than to ship it.
Not to mention, checking your luggage for international flights will be easier. Even though checking items is a bit of a handful, you do not have to worry about estimating what day you should ship your items or working out any other logistics required for shipping.
When To Choose Shipping
In contrast, you should ship your luggage if you have incredibly bulky or difficult items to check. Sports gear is one of the most obvious items that may be better to ship.
Additionally, any items that you ship should not be needed before your trip or the day you arrive.
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All in all, you should generally check your luggage when traveling abroad. Most airlines offer one free checked bag per traveler, making checking your luggage more affordable than shipping it.
Not to mention, it will take out a whole lot of headaches from trying to figure out the logistics of shipping your items internationally.
That is not to say that shipping your luggage is completely out of the question. If your airline does not offer free checked luggage or you have items that are bulky and sensitive, shipping your items may be better.
Nevertheless, the average international traveler will probably benefit from checking their luggage over shipping it.