Luggage Shipping Explained & Examined

Luggage Shipping Explained & Examined

Here you will find information about luggage shipping services and sortable charts that compare rates and service offerings for different carriers.


It’s generally held that most luggage shipping companies were created in response to post 9/11 federal regulations requiring all bags to be thoroughly inspected at airports and mounting customer dissatisfaction with commercial airline baggage handling.

What is a Luggage Shipping Service?

A luggage shipping service is an alternative to checking or carrying luggage when traveling by air. Your shipment is retrieved from your home or office and delivered to your destination where it is waiting for you upon your arrival.

What Are The Advantages of Using a Luggage Shipping Service?

With your luggage delivered to your hotel, cruise ship or other destination in advance of your trip, you can avoid:

  • Dragging luggage to and from the airport
  • Long lines at the ticket counter prior to your flight
  • Checked baggage fees
  • Size or weight restrictions
  • Waiting at baggage carousel after your flight
  • Reliance upon the airlines to deliver your luggage

In addition to avoiding many of these pitfalls, shipping luggage ahead also allows you to:

  • Increase insurance coverage on your luggage*
  • More easily make changes to flights or fly stand by
  • More easily take public transportation to and from the airport
  • More easily make tight flight connections

What Are the Disadvantages of Using a Luggage Shipping Service?

You have to send your luggage ahead at least 24 hours prior to your arrival for domestic shipments, with longer time needed for international shipments. Also, the best deals on shipping come when shipments are sent several days in advance.

Often times it’s more expensive to ship luggage than it is to check it with the airline.

What is the Difference Between Using a Luggage Shipping Service and Shipping With FedEx, UPS, or DHL?

Luggage shipping services use one or more of the traditional carriers (FedEx, UPS, DHL) to ship your luggage, which begs the question, ‘why not cut out the middle man and go direct to the source?’ You may be surprised to learn that doing so isn’t necessarily more cost effective. A number of different variables go into price, but as you can see below in our pricing comparison grids, standards rates with a luggage shipping service are often less expensive than contracting directly with a traditional carrier.

In addition to competitive rates, there are several service considerations available with luggage shipping companies that many traditional carriers cannot offer, including:

  • Guaranteed on-time delivery – You need your luggage when you arrive at your destination, regardless of the circumstances (including and especially customs clearance). If your package is delayed, some luggage shipping services will expedite the delivery free of charge and/or compensate you for each day your luggage is late.
  • Full time tracking – When traveling, it can be difficult to track your luggage delivery. Luggage shipping services watch the progress of your bags daily. If something goes wrong they know immediately and they will correct the problem to ensure your shipment is delivered on time as requested.
  • Documentation completion – Luggage shipping companies complete all airway bills on your behalf. Perhaps more importantly, they also have specialists in place to complete all customs documentation for international shipments. This saves you time, frustration and hassle.
  • Luggage wrapping – Some specialty companies wrap your bags in protective plastic packaging to protect your shipment from dirt, damage and theft.
  • More Insurance on all Shipments – Luggage shipping companies provide anywhere from $500 to $1500 complimentary insurance while allowing you to add additional insurance, which is substantially more than traditional carriers offer standard.

Tips For Successful Luggage Shipping

Whenever possible, it’s prudent to schedule your delivery at least one business day before your arrival, which gives you a buffer to account for any unforeseen delays, including extreme weather. Most hotels are equipped to securely store your luggage until your arrival, but you should always call ahead to confirm.

Carefully read through the terms and conditions of luggage shipping services, including their insurance policy. Always know your options if something goes wrong, such as what the company will offer to reimburse you and what the maximum allowance of insurance can be on your shipment.

Most shipping companies charge based on the greater of actual or dimensional weight, which is calculated using the dimensions of your package. Make sure you understand this concept and pack accordingly. As a general rule of thumb a standard piece of luggage, filled with clothing will be charged based on its actual weight, but there are exceptions. Check with your carrier.

Shipping internationally can take anywhere from 2 business days to up to nearly 2 week to some remote locations. Always call far enough ahead of time to make arrangements. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Pricing Comparison

The tables below can be sorted by any column. Simply click the arrow icon in each column header to sort by that column. Clicking the icon a second time will reverse the sort.

NYC – LA (50lbs, one way)

Service:OvernightTwo DayThree DayFive Day
Federal Express$310.86$266.43$175.06$65.65
Luggage Concierge$397.52$323.86$242.24$126.09
Luggage Forward$229.00$189.00$119.00$99.00
Luggage Free$237.50$200.00$150.00$100.00
The Luggage Club$269.00$219.00$139.00$109.00

Prices listed include fuel surcharge and taxes. Time specific pickup fees and any applicable VAT and duty charges are billed separately.

U.S.A. – Australia (50lbs, one way)

DHL Express$648.72
Federal Express$615.76$702.12
Luggage Concierge$600.00
Luggage Forward$384.00
Luggage Free$387.50$465.00
The Luggage Club$612.57$705.85

Prices listed include fuel surcharge and taxes. Time specific pickup fees and any applicable VAT and duty charges are billed separately.

U.S.A. – France (50lbs, one way)

DHL Express$487.02$590.51
Federal Express$441.15$565.74
Luggage Concierge$485.00
Luggage Forward$281.00
Luggage Free$262.50$315.00
The Luggage Club$424.63$516.65

Prices listed include fuel surcharge and taxes. Time specific pickup fees and any applicable VAT and duty charges are billed separately.

Service Comparison


Service:Time Specific RetrivalsSame Day RetrivalsLuggage WrappingOn Time GuaranteeAutomatic Insurance24/7 Customer ServiceCancellation Fee
DHL Express$100
Federal Express$100
Luggage Concierge$150015% total cost
Luggage Forward$500$25 – 10% total cost
Luggage Free$1000
The Luggage Club$1000$75


Service:Same Day RetrivalsLuggage WrappingOn Time GuaranteeAutomatic InsuranceDocumentation Completion24/7 Customer ServiceCancellation Fee
DHL Express$100
Federal Express$100
Luggage Concierge$30015% total cost
Luggage Forward$500$25 – 10% total cost
Luggage Free$1000
The Luggage Club$1000$75



The company that will process a door to door shipment for a client.

Overnight, Two Days, Three Days and Five Days:

This column represents business days in transit. The transit speeds and pricing are dependent on time, weight and dimensions.

Time Specified Pickup Fee:

This denotes that the shipment will be retrieved by a dedicated agent designated by the company to retrieve the luggage as specified by the client.


A carrier is a contracted shipper that assists luggage shippers in having shipments move from one location to the next.


This page was created as an overview and comparison based on information acquired on Thursday February 16th, 2012 at 12:00pm (EST).

This is meant as a general guideline of competitive services and pricing, not as a means of obtaining price quotation for luggage shipping services.

Please contact the company directly for ongoing price quotes and service options

"None of these services could top New York's Luggage Free, which seemed to grasp the concept that if you're paying for a premium service, you want premium service."
The Wall Street Journal

Luggage Free is a specialty service offering travelers the ability to ship luggage ahead to any destination worldwide, allowing them the ability to avoid the inconvenience of carrying, checking and claiming luggage – even going through customs.

Our luggage shipping service is guaranteed, allowing the traveler to avoid unnecessary aggravation and save time – safely and in style.

Luggage Free - Luggage Shipping Services

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