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I heard recently that, when traveling domestically in the U.S., it is better to ship your bags using a courier service rather than check them in. According to the source, this has three advantages:

  • Not having to pay extra to check in bags.
  • Avoiding the possibility of lost bags as bags are "frequently" mishandled.
  • Skipping the rush and confusion at baggage carousels at airports and exiting right out, finding that the bags have been already set in the hotel room by staff.

Is this a viable idea, and has anyone had success with it? Out of curiosity, what shipping company did you use and how much did you save (versus paying to check them in)?

I'm thinking of using USPS Priority Mail (2-day service to my destination) Large Flat Rate Box and using Space Bags to compact my clothing while still remaining under the (fairly generous) 70-pound weight limit.

Anyway, is shipping your bags to your destination a viable idea, and is it certainly better than checking bags in? I'm looking for an answer that describes whether it is a good idea, whether or not it's been successful in specific circumstances, and whether the advantages I've listed above apply in most cases.

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Could the close voter elaborate on why this question should be closed? –  andra Jul 29 at 7:33
    
It even works internationally (travel.stackexchange.com/a/4633/141) –  andra Jul 29 at 7:38
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Presumably the close voter things they're asking for a subjective decision. I think it'd be better to reword the question to perhaps ask for a comparison, allowing the OP to make up their mind. I voted to keep it open. –  Mark Mayo Jul 29 at 8:30

1 Answer 1

It certainly is a viable idea and it is being done by business travelers though not for the same purpose.

Going forward all rates and sizes are taking from current USPS information

If you will be able to fit your luggage into a 12"x12"x5.5" box and ship it to your destination using priority mail you can certainly save money if you do not insure the package for more then a standard $100 making the insurance $500 makes the the cost identical to the $25 you will pay for a checked bag on a flight.

Now if you consider other aspects of the situation:

  • Are there facilities to receive and store the package prior to your arrival?
  • Will you require someone to sign for the package? Is that someone going to be available when package arrives?
  • If you do not require signature and the place you're shipping to is a residence are you OK with it sitting on a porch or somewhere else outside the house?
  • If the post office won't leave the package for unattended (it happens) will you be able to go and pick it up from the post office when you arrive at your destination?

And the last but not least if you are able to fit your belongings into 12"x12"x5.5" box you can just as easily fit it into a carry-on bag like this Samsonite.

So before you decide to do or not to do this check your reasoning for why are you actually trying to do this.

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Well, if you've exhausted your limit of one carry-on per person (excluding purses, laptop bags, and the like), then you'd need to either check in or ship. For me, I'd have to pay $50 for a checked bag. –  deleteme Jul 29 at 16:34
    
Some answers to your questions: 1. Say that I ship the cargo so that it arrives after the hotel check out time, but on the same day I check into the hotel. 2. USPS requires that you pay extra for Signature Confirmation (unless you use Priority Mail Express). 3. I'm shipping to a hotel, not to a residence. Your answer all but skirts the main points of my question. –  deleteme Jul 29 at 16:36
    
@damryfbfnetsi Those questions are for you to consider when doing this. And based on the $50 fee I take it you're not checking in 1 bag but at least 2. –  Karlson Jul 29 at 16:38
    
The airline I'm using charges $50 for checking in one bag ($120 for two). I'm flying a full-service airline (Delta). –  deleteme Jul 29 at 16:39
    
Just a thought, but whenever you link to Amazon, you should link to smile.amazon.com instead of www.amazon.com so that users who use AmazonSmile don't have to tweak the URL themselves, and users who don't do not have to worry about anything. –  deleteme Jul 29 at 16:42

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