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Perhaps you’re relocating overseas, or moving into student accommodation on the other side of the country. Maybe you’re visiting family for Christmas and have bags full of gifts, or perhaps you’re loaded down with oversized sports equipment: If you have excess luggage, shipping it ahead of time can make your journey a lot less stressful.
As airline fees for extra bags increase, you can also save money if you use a budget shipper. If you’d simply like to avoid the queues and stress of baggage claim, there are also companies who can collect your luggage from the airline and deliver it for you. In this article, we look at the best options for every kind of luggage delivery.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Luggage Forward
Industry leader Luggage Forward has more than 7,000 independent customer reviews on Trustpilot and an impressive rating, with the vast majority of clients expressing their complete satisfaction with the company.
Punctuality and excellent service are mentioned repeatedly. In 2009, the company acquired eight other luggage delivery companies—giving it the scope to offer the best pricing and infrastructure out there. You can ship everything from luggage and golf clubs to bicycles, skis, and snowboards—all with door-to-door pick-up and delivery.
If you’re booked on a cruise, Luggage Forward can have your bags delivered directly to your stateroom. Luggage Forward is also the exclusive provider to 80% of the world's premium and luxury cruise lines including: Cunard, Holland America Line, Oceania, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, and more.
If you’re traveling overseas, their electronic Customs management system handles all the necessary forms for you. Your luggage’s journey is fully trackable from start to finish, and the company is so confident in its ability to deliver on time that they offer a full, money-back-plus roughly $500 guarantee on every bag they ship.
You can book online or call anytime since they are open 24 hours a day.
Best Budget (Domestic): LugLess
LugLess is the budget branch of Luggage Forward. It offers the cheapest luggage delivery service for domestic destinations, allowing you to ship your suitcases, packing boxes, or oversized sports equipment for the price of the airline baggage fees or less.
To do this, LugLess uses an algorithm to compare the cheapest quotes from FedEx and UPS. You get a barebones service but have the option to pay for added extras, such as doorstep pickup and increased coverage.
The cheapest option is to drop your luggage off at your nearest FedEx or UPS depot. At the other end, delivery to your residential address, hotel, resort, or golf course is included free of charge; but if you won’t be there to pick it up in person, you can opt to have your bags delivered to a FedEx or UPS location, and collect it within seven days.
You can track your luggage online at every stage of the journey and will receive a notification when it arrives. Note: You have to pay extra for live support.
Best Budget (International): Luggage To Ship
If you want a budget luggage delivery service that can handle international shipments to more than 220 countries and territories, check out Luggage to Ship.
This company acts as a comparison site for FedEx and DHL, using an algorithm to find the cheapest service for your particular bag size, travel route, and time scale. It claims to save travelers more than 70% in shipping fees in comparison with leading premium luggage delivery services. Once you’ve accepted the quote, shipping labels will be prepared and mailed or emailed to you for attachment to your luggage.
Luggage to Ship offers door-to-door collection and delivery, or pick-up and drop off from your nearest FedEx or DHL location. From start to finish, your luggage’s journey is tracked and monitored. In the event of any customs' delays or exceptions, Luggage to Ship will communicate between you and the carrier.
The company also offers up to six months of free storage at its warehouses in New York or Delaware. Storage costs roughly $10 per month for each piece thereafter.
Best for Students: Send My Bag
Based in the U.K., Send My Bag offers door-to-door delivery of suitcases, boxes, and sports equipment to more than 100 countries. Typically, delivery to most major cities can be achieved within two days.
Although the company now caters to every kind of traveler, it began as a solution for international students wanting to move their belongings from home to college and back without the hassle and expense of checking it in with their airline. Today, it is still the preferred option for students.
If you have an NUS Extra, ISIC, or Student Advantage card you can expect roughly a 10% discount on all regular shipping rates. Send My Bag also offers the best price-guarantee, a complimentary cover on every bag, and an online tracking service.
If you opt for their express service within the United Kingdom and Europe, your bags are guaranteed to arrive on time, or you get your money back. Best of all, the company is open to customer queries 24 hours a day, either via live chat or telephone (local rates apply).
Best for Business Travelers: DUFL
More than a luggage delivery service, DUFL acts as a personal valet for business travelers.
Here’s how it works: you store your business attire with the company and then use the app to virtually "pack" ahead of each trip. Your suitcase will be delivered to your destination ahead of time, so that you can travel luggage-free through the airport without wasting time waiting at the baggage claim. When your trip is over, DUFL will collect your luggage from the hotel, then clean and store your clothes ready for your next trip.
On average, the company estimates that their service saves travelers between three and five hours per round trip (i.e. the time you would otherwise have spent packing, unpacking, doing laundry, and handling your luggage at the airport). For busy corporates for whom time is money, this service is therefore invaluable.
Prices are fixed for domestic trips and charged directly to the credit card on file upon completion of each journey. International service is available for select destinations only and requires 10 days' notice.
Best for Sports Enthusiasts: DUFL Sports
Athletes who like the sound of DUFL’s business solution will be pleased to hear that the company also has a dedicated app for handling sports equipment.
This is especially helpful for those who have to travel to pursue their passions (i.e. land-locked scuba divers or snow bunnies living in Florida) and don’t have the space to store their gear at home. Professional sportsmen and women who frequently travel across the country to compete can also benefit greatly from using this service.
It works in much the same way as it does for business travelers: Simply send your gear to the DUFL warehouse, where it will be inventoried, photographed, and stored in your virtual closet. When you want to travel, enter your itinerary details online and receive a quote to deliver your equipment directly to your destination.
Afterward, your sports gear is collected, cleaned, and stored for your next trip, saving you the expense and hassle of transporting it through the airport yourself. Costs depend on the size and weight of the equipment.
Best for Skipping Baggage Claim: Bags
If you’re interested in having your luggage delivered because you can’t stand the hassle of traveling through the airport with your bag in tow and hate having to wait at baggage claim, Bags could be the service for you.
This company offers several different travel solutions, including remote airline check-in, valet parking, and airport wheelchair assistance. They also allow you to check your bag in as usual at the airport, and then have an agent retrieve it from the baggage claim for you.
While you get started on enjoying your vacation straight away, the Bags agent will deliver your belongings to any address within roughly 100 miles of the airport.
Many major cruise lines and high-end resorts use Bags to offer a seamless luggage delivery service to their clients, and they have plenty of experience with more than 5 million bags handled annually. They also specialize in delivering luggage that has been lost or delayed by the airline, providing real-time updates about your bag’s status.
Best for Customer Service: Luggage Free
Respected luggage delivery company Luggage Free also has a high Trustpilot rating (though with fewer reviews than Luggage Forward) and uses FedEx, UPS, and DHL to ship domestically and internationally to more than 130 countries.
The white-glove service offers shipping for luggage, golf clubs, bicycles, and ski equipment and will prepare the shipping labels and customs' documents for you. Collection and delivery are door-to-door for your convenience, and you can monitor the progress of your bags daily up until final delivery.
On-time delivery is guaranteed, and there are dedicated specialists available to help you every step of the way. And, if bags are late for any reason, you will receive your money back and around $500 in compensation.
Each bag also includes about $500 insurance, with the option to purchase more.
What Should I Look for When Choosing a Luggage Delivery Service?
Reputation, user reviews, timeliness, value for money, and sufficient insurance coverage are all important things to look for when choosing a luggage delivery service. The best service for you also depends on your specific requirements. Some companies can send luggage anywhere in the world while others are only for domestic trips. Others specialize in deliveries for students, while others are designed with business people and athletes in mind.
How Much Does It Cost to Ship Luggage?
The cost of shipping luggage varies greatly depending on a wide range of factors, including which company you use; the number, size, and weight of your bags; where you’re shipping them to; and how fast you want them to get there. For the cheapest domestic rates, choose LugLess. For the most competitive international rates, we recommend Luggage to Ship or Send My Bag for students.
How Much Should I Tip for Luggage Delivery?
Tipping the employees who fetch or deliver your luggage at either end of your journey is up to your discretion, but $10 each is considered a kind gesture. If it is particularly hot, cold, or wet or if the movers help to carry your luggage up and down stairs, consider tipping a little extra.