Overstuffed duffels, exorbitant baggage fees, and lost luggage are all common travel nightmares. In fact, airlines spent $2.1 billion last year to recover and return misplaced bags. To the rescue, a handful of companies that not only will pick up your bags and ship them to your destination but in some cases, even pack and dry-clean your clothes too. Now that’s how to travel in style.
Of course, such rock-star treatment comes at a price. You’ll have to pack your bags well in advance of your trip—in some cases as much as a week. You’ll have to be mindful of timing on the other end, too; if your arrival falls on a holiday in your destination, you could be bag-less for a while. And then there’s the actual dollars-and-cents price: For all their convenience, luggage-shipping services can be seriously pricey.
And yet, when you’re breezing to your gate with nothing more than a paperback and a purse, or sauntering past a tourist-clogged customs checkpoint, all will be forgiven. Herewith, a few of our favorite services.
Luggage Forward has been a leader in the industry for more than a decade. The company provides door-to-door service (from your home or office to your hotel or cruise ship), seamless customer support (it will complete and submit all your customs documents), and access to 170 countries worldwide. And if your bag arrives late, you’ll receive a full refund plus a $500 reimbursement.
Cost: $79 for a 25-pound bag; $99 for 50 pounds; $139 for 75 pounds, all with five-business-day shipping. Extra fees apply for shipping skis or golf clubs.
UPS, FedEx, and DHL
Traditional parcel-shipping companies are ideal if you want to save some money—but don’t expect the level of service you’d get with a smaller, specialized business. For example, you’ll have to box your own suitcase and drop it off yourself at a designated FedEx or UPS location several days before you leave. The silver lining: Each package comes with a tracking number, so there’s no chance that it’ll get lost in transit.
Cost: $50-$75 for suitcases under 50 pounds; $100 for a 70-pound bag, all with four-day ground shipping.
For frequent business travelers, the DUFL service simplifies the process by washing, packing, and delivering your clothes. You’ll be sent a suitcase to pack with your usual items, which the company will pick up, photograph, and store, creating a virtual closet. When you’re ready to travel, use the DUFL smartphone app to select the clothes you’d like to bring from your inventory, and the company will dry-clean, pack, and ship your belongings to your destination. Want more outfits? Send online purchases from retailers like Amazon or Saks directly to DUFL to add to your wardrobe.
Cost: $10 per month for storage and $99 for dry-cleaning and round-trip, three-day shipping. Extra fees apply for weekend deliveries.
With more than 5,000 global drop-off spots, this British outfit is a winner for international travel. Just check out the website’s curated list of destination guides to help you pack and prepare for your next vacation. SendMyBag also offers a customizable insurance policy: Each bag is covered for $250, and you can increase it up to $2,500.
Cost: $79 for bags under 44 pounds; $90 for luggage under 66 pounds.
Luggage Free is one of the smallest luggage-shipping services. Prices start at $2.20 per pound for five-day service but spike if you choose a different delivery speed—between one and four days. You’ll also need to package and label your suitcase yourself, but you will be automatically insured up to $1,000.
Cost: $55 for a 25-pound bag; $110 for a 50-pound suitcase.