Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: West Milford, NJ, USA
Shipping riding gear from US to EU: Luggage Foward is OK.
I posted some of this on another forum, but figured that it may be also of use to LT members:
If you are planning a trip to Europe and are thinking about dragging your riding gear with you: nowadays, there are many restrictions and additional costs to check in - especially when connecting on intra-European flights. This is a particular concern if you have yet other luggage along.
Here is my hint: consider shipping your gear. It may sound extravagant, but actually it is a reasonable and convenient choice.
I just came back from a Franco-Spanish vacation trip. We had our regular luggage for non-motorcycling part of the vacation, one bag each. The riding gear, for a few days on a rental bike, filled the third one. There was no way I would be able to haul along three bags through the cities on the non-moto part of our itinerary - and I did not want to deal with the oversize/extra luggage hassle (intra-EU check-in limits are lower than US).
So, I packed all riding stuff for me and my wife into a wheeled duffel, maximum-size for standard bag per US airlines, which wound up weighing about 46 lbs (one helmet did not fit and went into one of the other bags). I used Luggage Forward (luggageforward.com), and the experience was great. They provided all needed paperwork, all I had to do is "sign here". They had FedEx pick the duffel up on a Tuesday afternoon and it arrived in my hotel in Barcelona 3 days later, on Friday (actually, a week ahead of my arrival there, since I gave myself a lot of buffer time).
Return transfer was even faster. We left the bag at the hotel as we proceeded with our trip. This time, Luggage Forward used UPS, which picked up the bag in Barcelona on a Monday and dropped off at my house in NJ next day.
No fuss, no muss.
By the way, I'd caution about using the big carriers by themselves. On two of my trips with friends, one of the guys used FedEx directly to ship luggage without the help of a forwarding service. One time, we were waiting well past closing time for his gear at the rental station in Munich, losing a riding day. Another time, the stuff showed up a few days too late and my friend had to buy all new gear, from helmet to boots, at the renting dealer in Frankfurt. I do not think that carriers like FedEx and UPS are set up to handle the details of international shipping and paperwork for individuals - in both cases the luggage was stuck at customs.
With that lesson in mind, I'd recommend Luggage Forward anytime, but would not use FedEx or UPS. FWIW, our round-trip shipment cost between NJ and Barcelona was in high $600's, while FedEx quoted low $500's.
Robert in Northern NJ
'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?
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