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Ship Your Bags – Frommer’s Airport Survival Tips for the Holidays

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Travelers have growing concerns about checking bags with the airlines , especially during the busy holiday travel season.  Hidden fees, damaged luggage, stolen items and, of course, baggage delay.  Travel insurance can provide relief in some situations, but Frommer’s recently posted an article suggesting an alternative – ship bags ahead of time.

Seasoned travelers know taking too many clothes for a trip is a huge mistake. You really don’t need four pairs of shoes, pants, sweaters, and so on for a long weekend trip now do you? Cut your wardrobe by half so it fits in a carry-on bag. If you can’t do this or if you have a presents to bring then ship everything ahead of time using FedEx Ground or UPS. The key is to allow at least five days so you will get a reasonable price. The advantage is that it’s usually cheaper than the airlines’ baggage fees (except Southwest since they allow two free bags) and it’s definitely more reliable. You don’t even need to put them in a box. I just bring my suitcase as is.

By shipping stuff ahead of time, you’ll make your airport experience so much better. You won’t need to show up extra early and best of all, when you land, there’s no standing around waiting for your bag to appear on the carousel (that’s if your bag even makes it). If you’re staying at a hotel write “HOTEL GUEST, your name, and your arrival date between the hotel’s name and the street address. If you’re carrying presents on the plane, don’t bother wrapping them because chances are the TSA will want to see the contents inside. And although this should be totally obvious to everyone by now: Don’t ever check valuables, cash, or medications.

Shipping bags is one way to avoid headaches from airlines and airports regarding luggage.  However, this requires planning in advance and, depending on the items, could be similar costs as checking the luggage.  For those checking bags this holiday season, compare different travel insurance plans to find the best baggage coverage.

Baggage delay will reimburse the costs of essential items if luggage is delayed for a set amount of time, usually 12-24 hours, depending on the policy.  This allows travelers to get a change of clothes and toiletries while without their bags.  Different policies will have different dollar limits and the coverage is usually secondary to any other compensation provided by the airlines.

Baggage & personal items loss can pay the traveler for luggage that is lost, damaged or stolen.  The amount of this coverage will also vary between policies and some items will have specific limitations or be excluded from coverage.  Also, this benefit is typically secondary to any other insurance, such as renters or homeowners, as well as any compensation provided from the airlines.

Always refer to the certificate of insurance for details.