Moving to Europe but traveling before I settle in. How to deal with luggage?
May 27, 2009 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I’m moving to Sweden from the US at the end of the summer. I’m hoping to spend the month of August kickin’ it around Europe, but I don’t want to bring all of my luggage with me during my trip. Here’s what I’m thinking.

1. Fly into Paris CDG with two 29” pieces of luggage weighing between 50 and 70 lbs each, and a cary-on bag.
2. When I get to CDG, ship my two large pieces by air freight/cargo to Stockholm ARN.
3. Do Europe.
4. Arrive at ARN several weeks later, pick up my luggage, and be on my way.

I realize I could ship my suitcases right from the US, but I’m assuming that it will be cheaper to ship these items from within Europe. This is all an effort to save money. I anticipate paying around $125 in overweight baggage fees.

My question is, is this plan feasible? Does anyone have any advice? Thanks!
posted by hipersons to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you checked freight costs? A big box on a slow ship shouldn't cost a lot, since you're willing to trade time. Chinese widgets at $0.02 cents each make trips like this all the time, and still do better than break even. OTOH, you'll have to take it to a location like a dock and be there to pick it up on the other end, after customs.
posted by cmiller at 12:45 PM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: My experience of moving overseas may not be an exact analogy, but here are a few things I would consider:

1) as cmiller says, surface shipping. However if you're talking two suitcases you should think about doing this through a regular shipping service that delivers to residential addreses (I used UPS who handed the boxes over to Parcel Force on their arrival in the UK). They will deliver to your future residence or workplace address in 8-ish weeks.

2) On the customs form that goes with your shipping, state clearly that your belongings are "personal effects"!!! Can't emphasise this enough. If the tax folks have even the least reason to suspect you're shipping items for resale they will charge VAT on whatever the stated or insured value of your stuff is. I was charged 160 quid on my personal computer because it was taken to be a fresh, new piece of merchandise ready for resale.

3) Paying extra for the weight on a flight is expensive, a pain to get around, and I would be wary of my stuff sitting at an airport, personally. If you don't have an address to ship to yet, do you have a friend or acquaintance it can be sent to?
posted by methylsalicylate at 1:09 PM on May 27, 2009

how about this for a temporary storage ?
posted by Baud at 1:27 PM on May 27, 2009

I shipped a huge bag from Atlanta to Rome a few years back (3 months worth of clothing) for $150 bucks, and that was UPS insured. If you anticipiate $125 in extra baggage fees, why don't you just ship it from the US and save yourself the hassle???
posted by shrimpsmalls at 2:45 PM on May 27, 2009

Best answer: I don't know if this will help or not, but US post offices will accept mail for "general delivery." My research indicates this is available internationally.

So, what that means is you can ship a package to yourself at any US post office, and it will be held until your arrival, if properly addressed. Backpackers do this all the time to resupply on long hikes that pass towns.

So, you could send the package "slow boat to china" parcel mail, and simply go into the US post office of your choice, identify yourself, and take your packages.

Don't take my word for any of this, research and make sure there are no catches. Good luck.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 3:25 PM on May 27, 2009

Oh, you would have to send the packages to a specific post office, and go to that particular post office. Sorry if the last comment was confusing.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 3:27 PM on May 27, 2009

Post restante is the term for that. The general limit for that in Sweden is 30 days unless otherwise stated on the package.
You adress your items as:

Firstname Surname
Poste Restante
Postcode Postoffice

Here is the French postal services english site, package sending info is in the middle.
posted by Iteki at 2:07 PM on May 28, 2009

Response by poster: Very compelling about the Post Restante. I will definitely keep that in mind in the future.

I decided to just suck it up and fly directly to my new City, drop my stuff off at my new apartment (if I have one) and then jet off to enjoy the rest of Europe from there. In the long run cheaper, and probably a better Idea.
posted by hipersons at 8:28 PM on June 11, 2009

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