Don’t know how to pack light? Then a ‘luggage forwarder’ may be just what you need!

When God was handing out the ‘packing light’ gene, I am fairly certain I was off having a glass of wine somewhere because I missed that call-up entirely.


Even a weekend away usually involves a suitcase, a cabin bag, and my beloved LV tote bag that is large enough to substitute for Mary Poppins’ bottomless satchel anytime.


Thankfully, some time ago I discovered the wonderful service of ‘luggage forwarding’.


What is luggage forwarding?


There are times when you want to take more cases than the airline will allow – or, like me, you need a weight-lifter just to get your case off the ground and so even excess baggage allowance won’t do.


Luggage forwarding companies will collect your luggage from your home and deliver it to your destination pretty much anywhere on the globe.


Step-by-step guide for luggage forwarding


Do an internet search for ‘luggage forwarding company’ and it will return any number of companies all vying for your business.


Once you have chosen your forwarder, the first step is to contact them and book the dates for your luggage relocation – with as much time in advance as possible.


The price is generally determined by how quickly you need your cases, so if you can wait for two weeks (meaning they pick up your cases two weeks before you leave), for example, you will obtain a much better quote.


The forwarder will then email you with various forms to fill in for the relevant customs etc, depending upon the country of your destination.


Btw, I strongly suggest doing this before you start packing if you are shipping your cases overseas as you need to list the entire contents of each suitcase (not just ‘personal effects’) for customs declarations.


Then, the luggage forwarding company arranges everything!  


You are advised of the confirmed date of pickup and approximate window for arrival at your destination, they send you the labels that you need to print and put on the outside of the luggage (made easier to stick when you have the plastic luggage sleeves you see in the photo above) – and they take care of the rest!


Oh, and those plastic luggage sleeves are available on Amazon.

Please note as well, that as with most services, this is door to door – meaning ground floor at the front door on both ends (I learned this the hard way…)


Why use a luggage forwarding company?


In addition to the reasons mentioned above, sometimes we want or need to travel with bulky items such as surfboards, golf clubs, trade show set-ups…  While this can often be a hassle with airlines, luggage forwarding companies take it in their stride.


Or maybe you are flying on a small private plane that barely has enough room for you and your companions, let alone your additional cases – yet another good reason to use a luggage forwarder (and they are more affordable than you might think!)


Yellow arrivals/baggage claim and purple flight connections sign at an international airport

Final tip


For your return journey, just remember that you will need to print out the documents, so make sure your hotel or nearest print shop is available to do that for you; and also that it will take the cases a few days to a couple of weeks to get back home, so don’t pack anything in them that you will need urgently.


Personally, these services have been a blessing for me – but then again, I never did learn how to pack light…


Leigh (Bella) St John, aka Luxurious Nomad