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Shipping luggage may ease stress when flying

February 15, 2010 8:21:13 PM PST
From long check-in lines to increased luggage security and growing baggage fees, travel these days can be a bumpy ride.What if we told you there's a way to breeze through the airport luggage-free yet arrive at your destination with everything you need?

Consumer Specialist Ric Romero introduces you to a trend that promises you a less stressful way to fly.

Bruce Adlhoch of Los Angeles has a busy marketing and advertising business that has him traveling a lot. One of his favorite tricks to making travel easier is to ship his luggage ahead of time.

"They package the whole thing together. They give you all the labels. You basically put it on, call them, UPS picks it up and they deliver it to your destination," described Adlhoch.

Has this ever happened to you? You're the last person at the baggage claim carousel because your bags didn't show. Well, with shipping that wouldn't happen.

"As one travel guru has said, there are two kinds of luggage, checked and lost. Now, that's not quite true, but honestly the shipping companies have a much better track record as far as not losing luggage and not delaying it," said George Hobica of Airfarewatchdog.com.

Hobica said that shipping luggage has really picked up now that the airlines are charging travelers at least $25 to $55 to check their bags and even more if it's oversized or over 50 pounds.

"It really depends on where you're going and how heavy your bag is. The heavier the bag, the bigger the savings. The shorter distance, the bigger the savings," said Hobica.

For a trip from L.A. to Seattle, airlines will charge you between $25 and $55 for each bag. With FedEx Ground, you're looking at only $17, and with UPS Ground, it's still less at $22.

But if your bag is oversized or over 50 pounds, the savings really add up. For the same trip, airlines will charge between $73 and $75 for each bag while FedEx is only $34 and UPS is just $39. Of course, you do have to plan ahead because you are looking at five to seven days to ship.

Another option is a luggage delivery service. They promise to pick your gear up at your door and drop it off at any destination, whether it's domestic or international, a hotel or a vacation rental, and even to a cruise ship.

Cost will vary depending on the company you use, where you're traveling, what you're shipping and how quickly you need your luggage delivered.

"If you plan ahead you can save," said Adlhoch