Unemotional Baggage

You’d send your luggage ahead — if only telling those shipping services apart weren’t as difficult as finding your black rolly on the carousel. Here’s the best of what’s out there.

First …
What you can’t send: weapons, flammables, pets. (Duh.) Bags traveling overseas must include a copy of your passport, list of contents, and sometimes your itinerary.

Advance Warning
You should send seven to ten days in advance for international (customs slows things), 24-48 hours ahead for domestic. So pack ahead. Though Luggage Express (866-744-7224) books pickups until 4 p.m. EST the day before.

Kid Gloves
LuggageFree (800-361-6871) arranges specific pickup times (vs. the typical 1-5 p.m. window), wraps bags in protective plastic, and notifies you of arrival by phone or e-mail. Luggage Forward (866-416-7447) allows you to track bags via PDA or cell and insures for up to $10,000.

Light Packer?
The Luggage Club (877-231-5131) quotes shipping fees by weight and service level. Use delayed ground (three to five days) if possible: Priority overnight is way pricier.

Old Reliable
For a (relatively) cheap option, go to the source: FedEx (800-463-3339) charges based on bag weight, dimensions, and destination zip code; online tracking is easy. (Most services use them anyway.)

Happier trails to you.


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