Luggage Forward Review a.k.a. THE Adventure Travel Hack for Oversize Luggage
Fact: Adventure Travel Requires a Lot of Gear
So here’s the thing about adventure travel: there’s a lot of shit to lug around. If you’re serious about getting after it, you’re going to bring your snowboard, climbing gear, surfboard, etc. so that you can slay whatever mountain or wave you desire the second you touch down in the foreign paradise you’re visiting. And while the thought to rent gear may be tempting (think: no oversize bags to check!), there’s that big downside: the gear you rent will never be as good as your own. The alternative? Ridiculous oversize luggage fees for sports gear. Just how ridiculous are these hidden fees? Consider Qatar Airways’ $1750 fee just for a single surfboard boardbag.
(Let’s also overlook the fact that bringing over your gear is a major hassle: imagine how the TSA looks at you when they’re pulling apart your climbing bag and they find your chalkbag. Just come back from Colombia? Good luck with that.)
For the several years I’ve been traveling and lugging around my various multisporting toys, I’d never thought about an alternative to these fees–even though I had spent countless hours just prior to booking tickets combing through airlines’ baggage policies for my oversize luggage.
Wherein a Broken Knee Shifts the Course of My Trip in South America
September 2015: I break my knee at Chile’s La Parva resort (quite stupidly, to be honest, but that’s another story). I hobbled around on park ski poles in Farrellones for a week, then on real crutches in Santiago, in denial the whole time that I needed to either get an X-ray or pack it up and go back to the United States.
In the delirium of pain surrounding what I later found out was a tibial plateau fracture, a vision came to me: I should no longer torture myself attempting to snowboard…..I should go surfing in Peru instead! That day, I first booked a ticket 1.5 months out going from Lima, Peru to San Francisco, California, then concocted a plan:
I would leave my ski bag in Santiago, Chile, and bus up the Chilean coast on a surf trip to Peru with my good friend and travel buddy, Andrèanne.
We’d make a surf trip out of my last month in South America, and in the interim, we’d get to see Peru. Frothing at the prospect of getting back on the road (and in the water), I gathered my mini-quiver from Concepción, got a Surca.cl surfboard bag, and threw myself and all my (few) worldly possessions on a bus.
Yeah, But What About All The Snow Gear?
Great question: there was a huge snowboard bag with all my camping gear, ice axes, boots, ski kit, etc. and if you think I was going to take both two surfboards AND a full snow kit to Peru, think again.
This is where it gets really good: I’d read about Luggage Forward somewhere in the black hole of the internet, and truth be told, it seemed almost too good to be true. For less than or equal to the price of an airline oversize luggage fee, DHL will come provide door-to-door service of your adventure toys. My first thought: could this be real? My second thought: hell yes. Goodbye Chile, hello Peru!
Luggage Forward: An Overview
How It Works
You can either schedule a booking online via their site or just by calling one of their local toll-free numbers. You can make a booking for as soon as 24 hours out, and with two day delivery regardless of the destination, all you have to do is stick a tag on your bag and wait for the pickup.
For my pickup, I actually left my bag with the lovely folks over at Happy House Hostel in Santiago, and they kindly held the bag until the pickup driver came.
How Much Does It Cost?
A roundtrip for a double ski/board bag starts at $119, surfboards begin at $___, and international bike shipping begins at $169.
If you consider that the typical ski bag costs $50-200, surfboards cost $75 – $1750 (per bag, or sometimes each, dependent upon the airline), and bikes cost $50-150, considering international luggage delivery takes on a whole new meaning.
Why You Should Use Luggage Forward
- 100% satisfaction-or-your-money-back guarantee
- Expense reimbursement of up to $500 per delayed bag for all shipments
- Price matching for any other luggage shipping service….plus $25 towards your next shipment if their prices are beat
- Excellent customer service that far surpasses the attitude of every single airline ticket agent I’ve otherwise encountered
- You don’t have to drag your bags through Customs, opening, closing, and unpacking your bag’s sacred contents at the whim of every Customs agent. All you who have taken cross-continental trips with layovers that require crossing through additional ports of entry know what I’m talking about.
- No fuss. Let’s be honest: one of the biggest hassles of international travel is dealing with your luggage. Luggage Forward removes all that the inconvenience of wrangling your luggage as you stumble jetlagged through foreign airport terminals.
I know it seems like a totally posh/ridiculous/unnecessary thing to ship your luggage internationally with a profession service. But honestly, I swear, once you try it, you’ll never want to go back.
Kind of like that time I went from bootpacking and snowshoeing to splitboarding….hmmm…..
Check out Luggage Forward. You won’t regret it.