When Rachel and I started planning our trip to Thailand and to Hong Kong over Christmas and the New Year, we immediately realised that we would have an issue with our luggage. Because of late booking-related flight availability, we were flying Economy on Virgin Atlantic from London to Hong Kong, then transferring directly to Air Asia flights to Phuket.
We would then spend nearly three weeks travelling on land and sea between various Thai islands in the Andaman Sea, before flying back to Hong Kong to spend three nights in the city.
As we soon realised, Hong Kong was going to be fifteen degrees cooler, and rain was forecast. Rachel and I would both be taking work meetings in smart places. That meant an entirely different wardrobe of heavy things: coats, jeans, heels, shirts, and sweaters.
But we certainly didn’t want to lug all this stuff around the islands for three weeks, getting progressively more musty and crumpled, and taking up valuable bikini space in our cases.
And, not only did we not want to lug around huge amounts of clothing, but we were bound by the 23kg Economy allowance, and we needed lots of lovely summer stuff for three weeks on the islands.
Whilst I no longer carry around twenty books on my trips, thanks to the glorious Kindle, it’s amazing how much your bags can weigh. Spending the first ten days in smart resorts, (check out Sri Panwa on Phuket here), meant we didn’t just want to pack bikinis and sarongs, but Christmas and New Year party frocks, and pretty sundresses.
Then there’s the weighty bottles of skin and suncare for three weeks: of course you can buy that stuff out there, but when you already have it, and you have specific skin needs, you don’t particularly want to resort to a bottle from the local stop and shop. And don’t even get me started on my heavy tech requirements, from cables to AirPort, speakers to laptop.
So I looked into paying for an extra case for both of us on Virgin, and leaving it filled with our Hong Kong clothes at left luggage in Hong Kong’s Chep Lap Kok airport.
Hmm: at $140/£12 a day, we would be looking at somewhere around £220 by the time we picked it up, plus £50 for the extra case. And £50 to take it back again. Plus the pain of getting two giant cases to and from the airport in London, and having to seek out Left Luggage on both arrivals in Hong Kong.
Then I remembered First Luggage, who had been in touch with me earlier in the year. They kindly agreed to let us trial the service for the trip. It worked like clockwork: I left the extra case in London and it was picked up from my office three days before we were due to arrive at The Island Shangi-La Hotel on Hong Kong Island.
It arrived the next day at the hotel – we had forewarned them, and they kept it in storage, delivering it to our room in advance of our check-in.
This is the case – neatly protected with plastic and packing tape, waiting to be unpacked in our beautiful room.
First Luggage attached cable ties to all the zips, for extra security. The day we left Hong Kong, we re-packed, affixed the necessary airway bill and left the case with the concierge at The Langham Hotel (we stayed there for our final night). It was picked up after we left and arrived back at my London office twenty-four hours later.
I cannot recommend the service highly enough. Even if we weren’t trialling the service, we would have booked it anyway for all the reasons listed above. It saves time, money and faff, and works seamlessly.
I was talking to blogger BryanBoy on Twitter about First Luggage when we were in Hong Kong. He loves it for fashion week season, meaning he can send on his extensive wardrobe of looks ahead to the different cities on the circuit. It also makes sense for bulky sports equipment for trips, like skis and golf bags. And, if you are a business traveller, you need never use a check-in desk again, arriving at the airport at the last possible moment because your luggage will have been picked up in advance from your home or office.
How it works: The service is door to door, picking up from your chosen address (home, place of work or hotel). You book your luggage delivery online or call a First Luggage customer advisor, who will then send by post or email your outbound and inbound luggage travel documents (airwaybills), which you affix to each piece of luggage ready for collection. The First Luggage team then monitor your shipment every step of the way with their state of the art tracking system, and delivering to the address of your choice, and guaranteeing to deliver on time – or give you your money back.
First Luggage also run a same day delivery service London – Paris, Paris – London.