Last updated: 08:21 AM ET, Fri September 09 2016

2 Apps Help Turn Free Luggage Space Into Money

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | September 08, 2016

2 Apps Help Turn Free Luggage Space Into Money

Photo courtesy Instagram

We live in an exciting age wherein you don’t have to just play the part of business traveler or holiday tourist. With the following two apps, you can also play a temporary courier.

The Economist recently reported on two apps that make use of unwanted or underutilized luggage space.

One example is flying somewhere that hardly demands you use that free checked bag allotment. Instead of letting it go to waste and flying all carry-on you might as well toss in some random items a complete stranger requested into a checked bag and schedule in a few moments waiting for the baggage carousel at your destination.

That’s the thought, anyway.

The Economist sheds a light on Airmule and Grabr, which essentially allow you a personal revenue stream for that free luggage space you might have.

Let’s take a look at each.


The following video is a nice, brief breakdown of the service:

As the website illustrates, making use of the app is as easy as following three steps. After listing your trip, someone with a shipment going your way will make contact in the hope their gift basket or tech gadget can procure passage in your luggage.

From there, you fly as you normally would, but in this case, you arrive with package in hand and the knowledge that you just made a profit on, well, space.

For Airmule, you will be charged $40 for a standard delivery or $60 for an express service with $6.00 and $8.00 being added for every additional pound over five pounds, respectively.

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Grabr is a similar service that instead highlights those “unique cultural items” you might not ordinarily be able to track down globally.   

In this case, you would post what you would like to “grab” Internationally. As the website explains, from there you choose the best offer, negotiate through a secure payment system and then meet your impromptu courier in person to pick it up.

The website highlights various examples, such as the journey of one Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader that went from Lisa to a man named Jonathan in Buenos Aires.

Now, The Economist does note various issues that might arise from services that market the transport of just about any item you can imagine.

The report highlights a Forbes article that notes one particular problem: “Then there’s the issue of individual countries’ restrictions on imported goods. As Forbes notes, a courier bringing Serrano ham from Spain to the United States would face problems because of the restrictions on imports of cured meats.”

Grabr’s FAQ section addresses this issue by largely putting the impetus on you the traveler. It notes that the apps transparent system means you will know exactly what you are transporting.

From there, it essentially tells you to Google it: “However, do make sure that this item can be brought into your destination country. To check, you can enter ‘prohibited items customs [name of your country]’ into Google.”

Airmule has a more descriptive list of what you can’t bring, such as drugs, cash, weapons and, obviously, human remains, but if you want to examine the country’s customs intricacies yourself and wade through the crucial minutiae to ensure the package’s safe passage then you can turn that wide open space in your luggage into a few extra bucks.


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