In the midst of my begging and pleading with China Southern Airlines on social media to please answer my emails about the lost luggage hell they put me through in the Philippines, another email arrived. Luggage Free, a luggage shipping company, reached out to introduce me to their service and ask me to review it.
This wasn’t a service I’d ever actually considered. But the email was so perfectly timed that it was like the powers that be were giving me all the signs I needed to try this service out. Aside from being incredibly frustrated with trying to get to a live person at China Southern Airlines, I’d just had to get me, Emma and my stuff to the airport in pouring sideways rain. Wrangling Emma, who hates the rain, on her leash in one hand, the other hand was occupied with wheeling my spinner case on the 7-minute walk from my apartment to the airport bus stop. Since I don’t have a third arm, that meant an umbrella would not be keeping me dry on this walk.
Once I finally had a free hand with my spinner tucked on to the luggage rack of the bus, I caught a glimpse of myself on my iPhone’s mirror-like screen. No wonder people had been giving me that look. I looked like Alice Cooper with my mascara running down my face from being pelted in the downpour. My hair was partially plastered to my head; the bits that had started to dry frizzed up like Monica Gellar when Friends went to Barbados.
In that moment, nothing sounded better than a luggage valet picking up my bag and shuttling it off to my destination for me. I gave Luggage Free a go and here’s what I thought:
What is Luggage Free?
Luggage Free is a courier service that takes the hassle out of travel by shipping your luggage door to door in the US and 120 countries, including France where I tested out the service. You simply schedule your shipment, pack your bag and they pick it up from your home, office, hotel or cruise ship. You can even ship items that we’ve never, ever wanted to have to travel with like ski equipment because it’s a total pain if you’re not traveling by car.
How does Luggage Free work?
The Luggage Free service is very easy to use and it took less than five minutes to book my shipment. I just needed my travel details such as the address where the luggage shipment will be picked up and the address where the luggage shipment will be delivered. I also needed to be able to provide a phone number on which myself, or someone that is aware of your shipment such as a friend or significant other, can be reached. If you’re hopping on a plane, make sure that someone has all the details of your shipment and can fully answer any questions.
I was staying with a friend in rural France, which is where I scheduled my shipment to be picked up from. I provided her home address and phone number. Providing my friend’s phone number came in handy when the courier had a hard time finding her house and she needed to walk him through the directions, which I wouldn’t have been easily able to do even I had been available when he called.
My bag was being delivered back at my apartment in Bordeaux and I also provided my address and phone number.
You also enter details about what kind of bag or equipment, like skis or golf bags, are being picked up including the size and color. Note that if you’re shipping sporting equipment such as skis, a golf bag or a bicycle that it does need to be in a travel ready container. If you’re shipping a suitcase like I did, I simply packed it and Luggage Free handled the rest as part of their full service package.
There are various shipping options available, though there are more options if you’re shipping within the US including next day delivery. I’m a notorious last minute packer and the next day delivery would be best suited for me, but if you’re ahead of the game you can select longer and less expensive options. Since I was shipping within France, there were only two option available though: economy for 5 days and priority for 3 days. You can also select from full service, which means the courier handles wrapping your shipment and the labels, or from self service where you’ll receive the labels and you wrap your own shipment. Finally, you select the pick-up window with a 1-hour option available if you’ve selected full service within the United States. Otherwise, it’s a 4-hour pick-up window for international and self service options.
The shipment is insured for up to $1000 by Luggage Free, and you have the option to add additional insurance if you need it. I didn’t since I was just sending home some clothes and a few things I’d bought on my trip.
And that’s it! I received a confirmation via email with all my details and a phone call from a live customer service representative confirming everything.
I mentioned that the courier had a little trouble finding my friend’s house, which was honestly to be expected. She lives in a rural village on a “street” that is actually a private street. Our house in Italy was exactly the same way and nearly every time I received a package, the courier would call from the other Via Puia where a little old Italian lady must have wondered who in heck this girl with the Polish last name was every time FedEx showed up ringing her buzzer.
I do have to note that the courier missed picking up the shipment on the scheduled day, though one email to Luggage Free’s customer service quickly rectified the situation. The pick-up was rescheduled for the next day and they expedited the shipping overnight. The courier was ringing my buzzer bright and early the morning after I arrived home.
How much does Luggage Free cost?
The pricing varies depending on what you’re shipping, where and which service you choose. But to give you an idea, my bag cost €100 including the €50 fee for the full service option. You can save €50 by selecting self service and wrapping and applying the shipping labels yourself.
I checked the pricing on some other items, like skis which we’d be most interested in using this service for. Skis or a snowboard bag costs €160 from our home in Bordeaux to ski areas like Chamonix or Lac Annecy Ski Resorts, which was comparable to the price for renting equipment for 4 days at these ski destinations. It was even cheaper at just €126 from France to some of our favorite Italian ski destinations like Alta Badia.
For the self service option where you just have to wrap and apply the labels yourself, the cost to send my bag via a courier was the equivalent of paying to check my bag on a budget airline flight. Since I always travel for work these days and my computer and camera gear are essential, I always have to check a bag. For about the same price to check a bag, I’d definitely use this service again simply because getting my stuff to the airport on public transportation is a pain.
There’s no question about using this service in the future for ski trips. We don’t have a car anymore now that we live in France and neither of us has any desire to be hauling ski or snowboard equipment on the tram, bus or train. We usually just rent equipment, which is also ludicrous when we own our own ski and snowboard gear.
Luggage Free provided the luggage transfer in order to bring you this review. However, Luxe Adventure Traveler maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and enthusiasm for travel are entirely our own.