Is there a cost effective way to ship a large box or suitcase from Europe to the US? It is no hurry so no concern if it takes awhile
The lowest cost will be the post office. You don't say from which country you are shipping and postal services vary from country to country. Also, some postal offices may require you to pack it and others might do it for you. Delivery time can be weeks or months.
More reliable, and they carefully pack everything, is Mailboxes Etc (which I believe uses UPS). They have outlets in most major European cities. It's faster even by slowest method. But it's more expensive.
Either way, it won't be cheap. Shipping cost is mostly based on weight and adds up fast. Figure a few hundred dollars typically for a larger box.
A final option is to pay the extra luggage fee to your airline and bring it back with you. Always cheaper than shipping. But you have to carry it around with you the whole trip.
There is no cheap way. I've shipped several boxes of heavy souvenirs or books home from Europe over the years, always through the post office, and often paid about $40 each. Those were not large boxes or suitcases.
FedEx is everywhere. Why not call them and ask how much it actually costs to ship X from Y to Z instead of getting a bunch of anecdotal replies. At least you'd have a starting point.
Thank you for the suggestions :) We are traveling from Vienna to several cities by train. My daughter has been studying there for three months and has winter clothes that we don't want to haul around but also don't want to spend a great deal to ship home. I was able to ship a package of about 20 lbs from Michigan to her by sea and it was under $50. It took over 6 weeks but we are not in a hurry for the items we would ship. How should I search for a company in Vienna that also ships by sea? I did check Fed Ex and other major companies and we'd be better leaving her clothes there and getting new ones than paying the rates quoted.
When I was a student in Austria, lo these many moons ago, I shipped a suitcase back via the American Express office in Salzburg. At the time, it was the most cost-effective method. Not sure if they still do that, but you could check.
Mailboxes Etc uses several different companies (Fedex, UPS, DHL) so you can compare costs. The Austrian Post Office will probably have the best rate. I shipped a box of books from Vienna and wasn't cheap (books are heavy), but the price seemed reasonable.
The best is from a military post office. But you need to have a military connection to use them. They charge the same parcel post fees as if you're mailing from the states (or at least did when I was stationed overseas).
You are going to have to define cost effective or inexpensive. Inexpensive and shipping from Europe are two concepts that do not go together well. We had large but not heavy piece of artwork shipped back from Italy last Spring. The shop owner used the Italian post equivalent of priority mail. With insurance it was over $150. About 20 lb in a box that was 4' x 4' x 6". It arrived in about four weeks.
You can go on an express mail site - Fed Ex, UPS, etc., and plug in your details and get a price for shipping. That probably would be the high water mark so you could judge that against the local postal system. I would put some insurance on the package so it would be tracked better.