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How to Keep Airlines from Losing Your Luggage

In recent years, airlines have been cashing in on those fees they charge beyond your basic fare. In the first quarter of this year alone, carriers have generated over $769 million dollars in ancillary fees, a majority of those from checked luggage.

Yet, CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg hasn't checked a bag in eight years, and he's obviously logged plenty of frequent flier miles.

On "The Early Show," Greenberg shared his mantra on all matters luggage: There are two types of bags -- carry-on -- and LOST.

How does Greenberg guard against airlines losing his? He ships his bags ahead of him instead of checking them. And, he says, for about $20 dollars more than what the airlines will charge him to check his bags, Greenberg's luggage goes door-to-door and is waiting for him at his destination.

All airlines post their rates for checking bags online, and in most cases, the second bag is more expensive than the first.

For domestic flights, American, Delta, United, and U.S. Airways all check the first bag for $25 and the second for $35. However, Southwest doesn't charge for the first two checked bags.

Instead of paying over $50 dollars for two checked items, a cheaper alternative would be to try ground shipping, Greenberg points out.

If you ship your luggage four days in advance with FedEx Ground Home, your total cost would be around $45. If you chose to ship your luggage three days in advance, UPS Three-Day Select and FedEx Express Saver would total around $105.

Most airlines consider sports equipment as part of your checked bag allowance, and some may consider them oversized or overweight items.

For example, Frontier charges an additional $50 for a bicycle in a protective box. Continental accepts one golf bag up to 62 linear inches, one pair of skis or one snowboard and snow boots up to 50 pounds and 62 linear inches.

Delta charges $200 dollars for a bicycle. One golf bag up to 50 pounds is subject only to checked bag fees.

Southwest accepts skis in a suitable container as a substitute for one of your free bags, but overweight charges may apply.

If you're a traveling athlete and need your sports equipment to be where you are, Luggage Forward golf bag shipping would come out to be around $109. And for cyclists, Luggage Free bicycle shipping comes to around $245.

Greenberg reassures travelers that they don't need special equipment at home to ship your bags to yourself. Greenberg ships his bags domestically through FedEx, because all that's needed on a bag is a FedEx wrapper.

Greenberg recommends using FedEx or UPS Ground, but more than 15 other companies provide the same services. The benefit of using a shipping service as opposed to checking bags is that dedicated shipping services take all the work out of your travels. When it comes to ground shipping, courier services come with pre-printed labels, guaranteed door-door services, and 24-hour customer service.

If your traveling needs are more specific, other additional services include Garde Robe, the luxury wardrobe storage and valet service for travelers. Garde Robe offers luggage packing and shipping worldwide -- plus storage, closet organization and other garment services.

Garde Robe also offers Luggage-Free Valet service for travelers who need to access their belongings from various locations. Members store clothes and other personal items with Garde Robe, and they're delivered where and when you want them. At the end of your trip, items are picked up by the company and shipped back to Garde Robe, where they are cleaned and stored.

They can courier and ship items anywhere in the world. Rates are from $350 per month solely for storage (50 garments, 10 pairs of shoes), plus fees for shipping, cleaning, special storage.

For more information and traveling tips, visit Peter

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