We can hardly contain ourselves with another instalment in our series of guides for shipping niche items. The question today is, how to wrap a suitcase for shipping? Lightweight, hard-shell, cabin-friendly, medium, and large, suitcases come in various shapes and sizes and are essential for holidays abroad, local trips, and general transportation on trains, planes and buses.
In 1970, Bernard Sadow, the vice president of a Massachusetts luggage company, was credited with the invention of the rolling wheeled suitcase. This revolutionary concept enabled air passengers to transport their luggage more efficiently by pulling their four-wheeled suitcases using a loop strap. As time went on, the suitcase concept developed into the popular upright, two-wheel design with a long handle that we all use today.
Whilst our suitcases may have gathered some dust over the past year or two, they are a popular item to ship. However, they are packaged incorrectly more often than not, resulting in a greater risk of damage during transit and can forfeit your right to claim for compensation.
Why ship a suitcase?
There are many reasons why you might need to ship a suitcase via a courier service. If you are planning a staycation, you can send your luggage ahead of time to avoid lugging it around on the train or tube. Equally, if you are visiting friends and family, you can ship your suitcase to your family or friend's house before you visit to save you valuable space in the car for other bulkier items like prams or bikes, or even to create more space for your pooch!
Suppose you are visiting relatives abroad, or perhaps even moving to sunnier shores. In that case, shipping excess luggage in advance might be cheaper than paying luggage airline fees. It also avoids you having to drag a heavy bag through the airport and the risk of being charged expensive excess baggage fees. It also gives you peace of mind that you can track your shipment throughout it's journey from booking to delivery.
Preparing a suitcase for shipping
One of the most common misconceptions with packing a suitcase is that it can simply be shrink-wrapped and pulled along by the handle- WRONG! Unless encased in cardboard, suitcases are a prohibited item and are not allowed to be sent via our services.
Like any other parcel, suitcases must be fully packaged in a robust and double-walled cardboard box to avoid potential damage and surcharges by the courier. All couriers use automated sorting technology, and the goods will travel on conveyor belts in the depots, so your goods must be packaged well enough to withstand a small tumble! Shrink-wrap offers little to no protection for suitcases, and the shiny surface means that delivery labels easily fall off.
Suppose you do not have a cardboard box big enough for your item? In that case, you can encase the bag in separate pieces of cardboard- the important thing is that the suitcase is fully protected in cardboard packaging.
Once you have retrieved the necessary packaging for your suitcase, you need to measure the parcel correctly between the two farthest points on each of the three dimensions. If you under-declare the size of your package, you could face further charges down the line.
Even though the suitcase will be entirely encased in cardboard, we advise you to wrap the wheels and handle underneath the cardboard in protective film to minimize scratches and damage during transit for added protection. If you are also sending other goods within the suitcase, you should bubble wrap items in the center of the bag for maximum protection.
So, let's put all these points in a handy checklist:
✔ Measure between the two outermost points on each of the three dimensions
✔ Wrap the wheels and handles in a protective film (under the cardboard of course!)
✔ Bubble wrap the outer layer for adding cushioning
✔ Encase the suitcase fully in cardboard- do not use shrink-wrap!
✔ Keep everything inside secure- surround fragile items with clothes in the middle of the bag
How to send a suitcase with Interparcel
Once you have measured and weighed your parcel, you can then pop these details into our Quote Tool, and you'll be able to see the most suitable couriers for you.
You don't need to worry about lugging your suitcase down to the post office and waiting for hours in a queue. Our couriers offer collection services and will collect right from your doorstep or convenient address!
If you're setting up a business regularly selling luggage, consider using our Shipping Solutions to save even more time and money. Our Shipping Solutions integrate with all of the major eCommerce platforms like Etsy and eBay. By creating an account, you can benefit from:
- Advanced Shipping Manager, collating orders from multiple eCommerce platforms into one place
- In-built address verification and correction, no more manual errors or unprofessional mistakes
- New branded tracking, create a seamless brand experience when customers track orders
- New 'Return Parcel' and 'Send Again' actions to send and return orders in a few clicks
We can ship your suitcase(s) quickly and easily, and you can jet-off on your next adventure!
How much does it cost to send a suitcase with Interparcel?
If you were sending a standard soft cabin suitcase (H55, W40, D20cm), it can be sent from as little as £5.04* (inc. VAT) with Evri UK Economy (formerly Hermes) - £20 cover included.
A larger suitcase (H67, W49, D28cm) can be sent from £7.35** (inc. VAT) with Parcelforce 48 Drop off - £25 cover included.
Many of our services include a certain level of Transit Cover which can be increased for more expensive suitcases. Even services that do not have any cover as standard can be added on for a small additional cost. Just make sure you cover your suitcase for the value you would need to make a claim, then you're covered in the rare event of any bumps along the way!
Shipping a suitcase with Interparcel means you won't have to deal with any emotional baggage. Still, if you have any questions, our friendly parcel experts are always here to help.
Our customer service team are available 8 am - 8 pm Monday to Friday and 9-1pm at weekends to get all the information you need on packing and sending.
* Price obtained on 28/07/21. Quoted price based on a 1.56kg suitcase with dimensions of H55, W40, D20cm. Prices will vary depending on size/weight/destination and chosen service. ** Price obtained on 28/07/21. Quoted price based on a 1.56kg suitcase with dimensions of H55, W40, D20cm. Prices will vary depending on size/weight/destination and chosen service.