I have a suitcase approximately 50 lbs that i need to send home from Rome before i return. Is there a way to send my bag home early through the airline that i am using to fly back to the US with? If yes, how? If no, what are some good alternatives for sending a 50lb bag from Rome to the states?
Shipping may be very expensive. There are probably two good alternatives (not counting the pack light option).
Option one. Airlines charge a lot more for shipping something you aren't flying with. Store it until you fly home and take it as extra baggage. Even though you'll be charged, I'm pretty sure it's significantly less than shipping it.
Option two only works if you have some military connection. You can use the Post Offices on bases to mail packages home at the same rate as mailing parcel post within the states. After 9-11 they weren't taking big packages; I'm not sure if that still applies. If so, it may be possible to break it up, box it and send it as smaller packages.
thanks for the feedback, unfortunately neither option will work since re: the first idea--I am leaving out of a different airport than i arrived to, so i won't be able to store it. Re: suggestion 2--I unfortunately do not have military contacts.
I am currently studying in Rome (thus not being able to pack light, being here for 2 seasons and 6 months) and had planned to send my large suitcase back with my parents, who were going to visit, but no longer are and travel only with my backpack for the remainder of my trip.
A few additional options:
Take out the items that are absolutely necessary to keep, mail them in smaller packages. The post offices have a small packet rate for small light packages that maybe significantly less than mailing one large package.
Send and books or documents at the library media rate, usually slow, but cheaper.
Extra items, such as clothing that is still useful, but maybe not that important, donate it to a charity, shelter, etc. It may cost more to ship it than to simply buy new stuff when you return home.
Finally, check into shipping your bag to your final destination in Europe, collect it there, and then fly home with it. The railway station may have a luggage storage area for a reasonable fee.
I do not know if these ideas would work, but they may be worth checking out.
There are companies that specialize in shipping items overseas by either air or ship. Use google to find them.
As an example (and I've never used this company but you might get some ideas):
You could also check with the airlines that fly out of Rome and into the U.S. to see what they would charge.
There's also Fedex, UPS and DHL. Shipping luggage is becoming very popular with travelers who don't want to hassle with it at the airport.