Open Thread: What's Your Luggage Strategy?

Anyone who’s been on airplanes over the years knows that checking luggage is getting to be steadily more of a nuisance – and a potentially expensive nuisance at that. Between TSA searches, airlines charging more for checked luggage, and disasters like the recent breakdown of the baggage handling system at Heathrow Airport’s brand new Terminal 5 (causing 15,000 bags to go astray), checked luggage has become an exercise in frustration. But if you have to travel for business, what’s the alternative?

As an article in the Baltimore Sun points out, one alternative is to skip the checked baggage system entirely. Instead of checking their luggage, an increasing number of travelers are shipping it to their destinations.

There are several variants on this theme:

  • Ship it yourself using Fedex, UPS, or even the postal service.
  • Use a concierge-level service like Luggage Free or Luggage Forward. These services take care of the hassles of packing and shipping your luggage – for a price.
  • Use the CarryOn “virtual closet” service. With this service, your luggage never comes to your home; they keep a stock of your clothing and toiletries, ship them to your hotel, get them back, and even handle dry-cleaning in between trips.

  • Discipline yourself to pack less. Onebag has some great tips if you go this route.

What about you? If you travel frequently (as all too many of us do), how do you deal with luggage? Are you still battling with airline check-ins, or have you found a way to be first off the plane and out to the curb?

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