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Ship Your Bags and Save Time and Your Vacation

January 7, 2014

The Cheap Bastard wasn’t all that impressed with the deals today, so he thought he’d provide a quick time and money-saving travel tip instead that he was reminded of when he was listening to the radio today.

While being interviewed about flight delays along the system, Travel Detective Peter Greenberg said one of the best ways to save yourself grief while traveling is to avoid checking your luggage at all costs. If you’re like the Cheap Bastard, you already pack light and try to do only carry-ons whenever possible.

But what happens when you’re traveling with your family and have too much to carry on?

Greenberg advises sending it via FedEx or a luggage courier service a few days in advance. Sure, it may be slightly more expensive than airline baggage fees (which start around $25 a bag), but think of the savings:

1. Time standing in line. Instead of having to wait at the airport to check your bag, if you already have your boarding pass, you can just head to security without a care in the world.

2. Worry over whether your bags will arrive. The baggage fee is no guarantee that your bags will make it on the plane or ever arrive.

3. Waiting time at your destination. You won’t have to stand with the masses at baggage claim because your bags will be waiting for you at your hotel.

4. Waiting to file a claim. If you’re luggage doesn’t arrive, you’ll easily spend another hour or two filing paperwork on your missing bags.

5. Heartburn. It’s no fun not to have the stuff you need, it’s even less fun having to wait around for it to arrive.

This is your vacation we’re talking about. You don’t get many of them and they don’t last that long, why waste a second being stuck doing something you don’t want to do when you could be out having fun?

The option may not be cheap in terms of dollars (in 2010 Greenberg said costs started around $45), but the time, grief and hassles you’ll save and the happy memories you’ll have are well worth the cost.

There is one disadvantage to this approach, however. You have to be willing and able to pack and plan a few days in advance. The Cheap Bastard is still working on that one when it comes to family travel.

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