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How to Ship Luggage Internationally with DHL: A Comprehensive Guide


Imagine arriving at your dream destination, only to realize your luggage is still stuck in another country. This scenario is a traveler’s nightmare, but with proper planning and a reliable shipping partner, it can be avoided. Shipping your luggage internationally can be a smooth and hassle-free experience, especially when you choose a trusted provider like DHL.

This blog post will serve as your comprehensive guide to shipping luggage internationally with DHL, providing you with step-by-step instructions, helpful tips, and everything you need to know to ensure your belongings arrive safely at your destination. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler, a student studying abroad, or an individual relocating internationally, this guide is designed to make your journey as stress-free as possible.

Table of Contents

  1. Preparing Your Luggage:
  2. Choosing the Right DHL Service:
  3. Booking Your Shipment:
  4. Packaging and Labeling:
  5. Tracking Your Shipment:
  6. Delivery and Customs:
  7. Additional Tips for Shipping Luggage Internationally with DHL:
  8. FAQ Section:
  9. Conclusion

Preparing Your Luggage

Packing Essentials

The first step in shipping your luggage internationally is ensuring you’ve packed everything you need. Before you start packing, make a list of the essential items you’ll require at your destination. This list should include:

  • Clothing: Pack a variety of clothing items suitable for the climate and activities you’ll be engaging in. Consider layering for different temperatures, and don’t forget essential accessories like hats, scarves, and gloves.
  • Toiletries: Pack travel-sized toiletries that comply with airline regulations. Include essential items like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, and toothbrush.
  • Electronics: Pack your electronic devices like laptops, tablets, smartphones, and chargers. Ensure you have the correct adapters and converters for your destination.
  • Documents: Remember to pack important travel documents such as your passport, visa, and any other relevant paperwork.
  • Medication: If you have any prescription medications, pack them in their original containers with your doctor’s prescription. Keep these medications separate from your luggage and carry them with you in your carry-on bag.

Securing Your Luggage

Now that your luggage is packed, it’s time to ensure it’s safe and secure for its journey. This means investing in sturdy luggage and using appropriate packing materials:

  • Strong and Durable Luggage: Opt for luggage made from durable materials like polycarbonate or ABS plastic, which can withstand the rigors of international travel. Consider luggage with reinforced corners and wheels for added protection.
  • Protective Packaging Materials: Use packing materials like bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or packing paper to protect fragile items within your luggage. This helps prevent damage during transit.
  • Labeling and Identification: Clearly label your luggage with your full name, contact information, and destination address. This is crucial for easy identification and ensures the luggage can be returned to you in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Choosing the Right DHL Service

DHL offers a range of services designed to meet different shipping needs and budgets. Here’s a breakdown of the two most popular options for international luggage shipping:

DHL Express

DHL Express is the premium service for fast and reliable international shipments. It’s ideal for time-sensitive luggage shipments, such as when you’re traveling for an important event or need to have your belongings delivered quickly to your destination. Key advantages include:

  • Speed: DHL Express offers fast delivery times, typically within 1-3 business days to most destinations worldwide.
  • Reliability: DHL Express is known for its high level of reliability, ensuring your luggage arrives on time and in good condition.
  • Tracking: You can track your shipment in real-time using the DHL tracking system, providing peace of mind throughout the journey.

DHL Parcel

DHL Parcel is a cost-effective option for less urgent luggage shipments. If you have enough time before your trip, DHL Parcel can be a budget-friendly alternative to DHL Express. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Cost-Effective: DHL Parcel offers lower shipping rates compared to DHL Express, making it a more affordable choice.
  • Delivery Times: DHL Parcel typically takes 3-5 business days to deliver internationally.

Comparing Services

To make the best choice for your luggage shipment, consider the following table comparing DHL Express and DHL Parcel:

FeatureDHL ExpressDHL Parcel
Delivery Speed1-3 Business Days3-5 Business Days
TrackingReal-time TrackingLimited Tracking
SuitabilityTime-sensitive shipmentsLess urgent shipments

You can choose the service that best aligns with your budget, timeline, and shipping needs. If you’re unsure which service is right for you, contact DHL customer service for expert advice.

Booking Your Shipment

With your luggage packed and a DHL service selected, it’s time to book your shipment. DHL offers convenient booking options to suit your preferences:

DHL Website

The easiest way to book your international luggage shipment is through DHL’s user-friendly website. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Visit the DHL website: Navigate to the DHL website and locate the “Shipping” or “International Shipping” section.
  2. Enter your details: Provide your shipping information, including the sender’s and recipient’s addresses, contact information, and the weight and dimensions of your luggage.
  3. Select your service: Choose your preferred DHL service, whether it’s DHL Express or DHL Parcel, based on your needs.
  4. Get a quote: DHL will provide a real-time quote for your shipment, factoring in distance, weight, and chosen service.
  5. Proceed with booking: Once you’re satisfied with the quote, you can proceed with booking your shipment online.
  6. Make payment: Securely make your payment online using a credit card, debit card, or other preferred payment method.

DHL Customer Service

If you prefer a more personalized approach or have specific questions, you can contact DHL customer service directly. They can guide you through the booking process and answer any queries you might have.

  • Phone: Contact DHL’s customer service hotline for assistance over the phone.
  • Email: Send an email to DHL customer service, providing your detailed shipping information and any questions you have.
  • Live Chat: Some DHL websites offer live chat support, allowing you to interact with a customer service representative in real-time.

Collecting Your Luggage

After booking your shipment, you’ll need to choose how you want to get your luggage to DHL for shipment. DHL offers two convenient collection methods:

  • Doorstep Pickup: DHL can arrange to pick up your luggage directly from your doorstep. This is a convenient option that eliminates the need to travel to a DHL service point. Schedule a pickup time that works best for you.
  • Drop-off at a DHL Service Point: You can drop off your luggage at a nearby DHL service point. Locate a convenient service point using DHL’s online locator tool and drop off your luggage during their operating hours.

Packaging and Labeling

Before DHL can ship your luggage, it’s essential to package it correctly and label it accurately. Proper packaging and labeling help ensure your luggage arrives at its destination safely and on time.

Packing Materials

  • Cardboard boxes: Use sturdy cardboard boxes specifically designed for shipping. Avoid using fragile or flimsy boxes that may not withstand the rigors of international transport.
  • Tape: Securely seal the boxes with strong packing tape, ensuring all seams and flaps are firmly closed.
  • Bubble wrap: Wrap fragile items individually in bubble wrap to prevent damage during transit.
  • Packing peanuts: Use packing peanuts or packing paper to fill empty spaces in the box, preventing your items from shifting during transit.
  • Protective padding: Consider using foam padding or other protective materials to cushion your luggage and protect it from bumps and shocks.

Labeling Requirements

Ensure your luggage is labeled accurately to avoid any confusion during shipping and delivery. Include the following information on clear and durable labels:

  • Sender’s name and address: Include your complete name and address, including your phone number and email address.
  • Recipient’s name and address: Include the complete name and address of the person receiving your luggage, including their phone number.
  • Destination country: Clearly indicate the country where the luggage needs to be delivered.
  • Contact information: Include your contact information in case the luggage needs to be returned to you.
  • DHL tracking number: Once your shipment is booked, you’ll receive a tracking number. Attach this tracking number to your luggage so DHL can easily identify it.

Custom Declaration

When shipping luggage internationally, you’ll need to complete a custom declaration form. This form is required by customs authorities to ensure the contents of your shipment comply with international regulations.

  • List of items: Provide a detailed list of the items you’re shipping, including their value.
  • Origin and destination: Specify the country of origin and the country where the luggage is being shipped.
  • Purpose of shipment: State the purpose of your shipment, for example, “Personal belongings” or “Study abroad materials.”
  • Declarations: Declare that your shipment doesn’t contain any prohibited items or items that require special permits or licenses.
  • Signature: Sign the customs declaration form to confirm the accuracy of the information provided.

You can typically find customs declaration forms online or at DHL service points. Ensure you complete the form accurately and honestly, as any discrepancies may cause delays in customs clearance.

Tracking Your Shipment

DHL provides a robust tracking system that allows you to monitor the progress of your luggage shipment in real-time.

DHL Tracking System

Once you’ve booked your shipment, you’ll receive a unique tracking number. Use this tracking number to access DHL’s tracking website or mobile app. You can track the following details:

  • Shipment status: View the current status of your shipment, including when it was picked up, processed, and delivered.
  • Estimated delivery date: Get an estimated delivery date for your luggage.
  • Location updates: See the location of your luggage throughout its journey.
  • Notifications: Receive email or SMS notifications about your shipment’s progress.

Proactive Communication

Monitor your shipment’s progress regularly using the DHL tracking system. If you notice any delays or issues, contact DHL customer service immediately. Be proactive and communicate any concerns to ensure your luggage arrives on time.

Delivery and Customs

Your luggage will undergo a customs clearance process before it’s delivered to the recipient.

Delivery Process

DHL will handle all the necessary customs clearance procedures, including providing the customs declaration form and ensuring the shipment complies with all applicable regulations.

  • Customs clearance: Your luggage may be subject to inspection by customs authorities.
  • Delivery to recipient: Once customs clearance is completed, DHL will deliver your luggage to the recipient’s address.
  • Recipient signature: The recipient will need to sign for the delivery of your luggage.

Receiving Your Luggage

The recipient can typically expect to receive their luggage within the estimated delivery timeframe. Depending on the DHL service selected, your luggage might be delivered directly to their doorstep or picked up at a designated DHL service point.

Additional Tips for Shipping Luggage Internationally with DHL

Here are some additional tips to make your international luggage shipping experience smoother:


Consider purchasing insurance for your luggage shipment, especially for high-value items. Insurance protects you against damage or loss during transit, providing financial compensation if something happens to your luggage.

Packing Tips for Specific Items

For delicate or fragile items, use extra packing materials and consider specialized packing methods:

  • Clothing: Fold clothing neatly and use packing cubes or compression bags to minimize space.
  • Electronics: Wrap electronics in bubble wrap and secure them within the luggage with packing peanuts or foam padding.
  • Liquids: Pack liquids in leak-proof containers and seal them securely.
  • Fragile items: Wrap fragile items individually in bubble wrap and place them within a box inside your luggage for extra protection.

Travel Documentation

Keep important travel documents like passports, visas, and airline tickets separate from your luggage and carry them with you in your carry-on bag.

Booking in Advance

It’s always advisable to book your shipment well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. This allows DHL to plan the delivery route efficiently and reduces the risk of delays.

FAQ Section

What happens if my luggage is lost or damaged?

If your luggage is lost or damaged during transit, contact DHL customer service immediately. DHL will investigate the situation and provide you with information about the next steps.

What are the fees associated with shipping luggage internationally?

DHL shipping fees vary depending on the chosen service, destination country, weight, and size of your luggage. You can get a real-time quote on the DHL website or by contacting customer service.

How long does it take to ship luggage internationally with DHL?

The delivery time for international luggage shipments with DHL depends on the chosen service and the destination country. DHL Express typically takes 1-3 business days, while DHL Parcel takes 3-5 business days.

Can I track my luggage online?

Yes, you can track your luggage shipment online using the DHL tracking system. Enter your tracking number on the DHL website or mobile app to monitor the progress of your shipment.

What are the customs regulations for shipping luggage to my destination country?

Customs regulations vary from country to country. DHL will provide you with information about the customs regulations for your destination country during the booking process. It’s essential to ensure that your shipment complies with all applicable regulations.

Can I ship luggage to a hotel or Airbnb?

Yes, you can ship your luggage to a hotel or Airbnb, as long as you provide the correct address and contact information.

Is there a size or weight limit for shipping luggage internationally?

DHL has size and weight limits for international shipments. Check the DHL website or contact customer service for specific limitations based on your destination country.


Shipping luggage internationally with DHL can be a convenient and efficient way to transport your belongings to your destination. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free shipping experience. Remember to prepare your luggage properly, choose the right DHL service, and track your shipment’s progress to stay informed. If you have any questions or need further assistance, contact DHL customer service for expert advice.