Skip Packing, Start Shipping

September 6, 2006

Recent terror plots may mean stricter carry-on regulations, but packing for your travels does not have to become the dreaded deed. Some companies' mission to lighten your load has started a trend: Shipping what would be in your carry-on bag and/or luggage to your cruise stateroom or hotel room before you arrive.

CruiseShippers, for example, will pick your bags up from your home and ship them directly to your cruise stateroom via FedEx with a tracking number. All cruise lines do accept shipped luggage through the port authorities and stevedores. Although they used to charge by pound for each bag a customer would have shipped, they are now in the midst of creating categories -- such as small, duffel and large -- with base prices to give the customer the greater advantage (how many must-have gadgets can you squeeze into one bag?).

Another benefit? Without airports' long lines and weight restrictions, cruisers can now pack everything they need, including the extra scuba gear or golf clubs for shore excursions, without facing possible airline penalties.

Liquid ban or no liquid ban, if you simply can't leave home without your medicine cabinet or favorite fat-free salad dressing, will ship what can't go into your carry-on bag to your home before your cruise, or your hotel room -- which is great news for cruise passengers who like to arrive in port the day before their ship departs. With more than 1,000 products, travelers can find most anything they want, from Crest to Kikkoman soy sauce to Tide detergent, all in a one-stop shop with free shipping on orders over $20.

Their most recent surge in specialty items since the thwarted terror plot in London has been liquid products in wipe form like bug repellant and shoe shine. Toothpaste and deodorant wipes are next on their list.

-by Erica Sapio, Assistant Editor.