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What's Cheaper: Shipping Bags Or Checking Them?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Airline travelers tend to carry-on about baggage fees these days. Airlines like Delta and American charge $25 for the first bag, $35 for the second, for domestic flights.

The prices make some question if shipping is the cheaper route. Minneapolis based travel expert Terry Trippler, who runs the website,, believes shipping will cost you more.

"You are going to be quite surprised, most of the time the airline is going to beat it," said Trippler.

So, WCCO set out to see, with a 35-pound suitcase and set of golf clubs, to see how much it could cost to ship the goods to the Phoenix area. We know at most airlines, the baggage and clubs would cost $60, and wondered if Fed Ex, UPS, or the Post Office beat the price?

An Edina Fed Ex store gave us a total estimate of $107 for the suitcase, clubs and a shipping box for the clubs. Add it up: Fed Ex would cost more than $100 -- $40 more than the airlines.

The total UPS cost is more than twice the airline baggage fees. A Minneapolis UPS store estimated a total of $135 for the suitcase, clubs, plus the cost of a box for the clubs.

Last, we discovered the post office will save you a bit of money if you plan ahead. An Edina post office estimated $51.50 for parcel post, an estimated seven-10 days of shipping, but the post office doesn't buy your own shipping case for the golf clubs.

That's nearly on par with those baggage fees we started with. Turns out if you ship privately, you pay more for convenience, and peace of mind.

But, Trippler has more advice -- before you're in the air, go online. He ships toiletries to save on the hassle.

"When they are having free shipping, generally the shipping is very low, and choose where you want it shipped, to the hotel, relatives whatever," said Trippler.

Another option to consider Trippler says, is to consider renting items like golf clubs and skis when you get to your destination.

The real bottom line Trippler says, is in your hands, and something we all could learn -- pack light, and pay less.

"What really works for me, take twice as much money, and half as much clothing, you'll have a ball," he said.

Airline credit card holders get a boost from the airlines, too. Rewards often include waived baggage fees. Check with your airline for their policies.

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