TikTok folks are debating on whether it's a smart idea to mail your luggage. Do any of our Globe Aware volunteers do this when flying domestically...or have you even done this for international trips?
TikTokers Are Shipping Their Clothes to Avoid Paying Airline Baggage Fees
Anything to avoid the checked bag fees.
By Opheli Garcia Lawler
February 2, 2023
If you've ever flown budget airlines, you know that the true price for a cheap flight doesn't come out of your bank account. It comes with the need to pack a teeny tiny carry-on bag, or risk incurring additional fees that turns a cheap flight to a not-so-cheap flight. Checked bag fees can sometimes cost more than the ticket itself.
As someone who has worn three sweatshirts and four dresses to avoid paying such a fee, I get it. But the youth on TikTok aren't risking overheating on the tarmac by stuffing their legs into as many pairs of pants as possible for their budget flight.
TikTok travelers have shared a new way to bypass the 'ole checked bag fee. Based on a number of videos shared on the platform, travelers are packing up shipping boxes and mailing many of their belongings to their destinations ahead of time. In the video above, you can see one person opting to send a box of their belongings via FedEx instead of paying to check luggage.
The traveler says that they paid $28 to ship their clothing in each direction, as opposed to the $62 Spirit Airlines charges each way for checking a suitcase. That’s nearly $70 saved, if everything goes according to plan.
After thinking about it, I couldn't decide how I feel about this hack. On the one hand, I find every single trip to the post office to mail something to be entirely unbearable. On the other hand, I also really do abhor paying to check luggage. In terms of the odds of actually getting your stuff, sending it in the mail is not playing a great numbers game.
According to the Department of Transportation, just in the month of August 2022, US airlines lost, mishandled or damaged 254,502 bags. Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that an average of 1.7 million packages disappear per day in the United States. I'm really no math genius, and there’s other factors at play I am sure, but 1.7 million packages in one day versus less than 300,000 in a month makes it an easy choice for me.
Even if your package didn't get lost in the way, it still is a lot of planning and coordinating to make sure you get your packed luggage on the same day you arrive at your destination. My head is overwhelmed with anxiety-induced questions:
- What if your package arrives early?
- What if your package gets delayed?
- Do you pick up the package from a package drop off location or do you have it sent to your hotel?
- Is shipping a package a faster experience than checking your luggage?
Commenters on the above videos stand divided. One said, "No because imagine not getting your stuff in time." Another said, "I've had too many packages lost to do this lmao." Others said, "We stan a resourceful queen" and "wait this is hilarious and also so smart."
If you have also participated in this new travel hack, please let me know how it went for you, and if the time spent packing and shipping your bikinis made up for the expense. But, if you're looking for other tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your budget airline experience, Thrillist has got you covered with our very own guide. Shipping and handling not included.