Some of the guitars best for you are not available in the local shop. The option is to get one shipped across. For instance, I cannot find a used American Standard Strat by Fender locally, so I have to import one- even with shipping and customs, it works out to at least six thousand INR less, and the price of an American Special after festive season discounts.

But there are dangers to note. Already one bloke ordered an Ibanez which got damaged in transit, and that has been documented on this forum elsewhere. Sometimes, packages vanish in transit. Besides, some shops provide outrageously high shipping quotes, so it works out a lot cheaper from a forwarding agency. Which forwarding agency would you recommend? Customs have their own fair share of unpleasant surprises. Keeping these in mind, I'd like to know what kind of checklist is needed for shipping.

For instance, I have noticed this forwarding agency called Shipito, who charge no setup or monthly fees, but charge by the package, and they work out to be more cost-effective than Bongo, USA2Me, MyUS and VIAddress. when I calculated the costs of shipping overseas, I find the most reasonable costs coming from DHL Express and TNT Express. FedEx is nearly double, but apparently takes one day less, but I'm not so sure I will get it in a day less if I choose FedEx. All of them provide free insurance. Which of these agencies would you recommend most? And what would you look for while choosing a logistics partner?

Then the packaging. How do these online shops package the guitars, hard case or otherwise? Maybe the difference is in an inch each side, but not so much in weight. What kind of packaging will these forwarding agencies or logistics partners use? What should be the way to go? It may be essential for a Mexican Strat or Japanese Jackson, but if you end up paying American Strat prices for the same once they land here, it will be disappointing.
Shipping Checklist:
+Flight Case - Max security against transit related damage.
+Hardshell Case- Less rugged than a FC but beats gig-bag covered in cardboard box.

I checked 6k INR comes up to roughly US $110 & it seems India charges 32.5% (tax+customs+duties) for musical instruments. A flight case will add a lot of weight & and you'll have to buy one online, contact the dealer via email & have them ship the guitar in it. That will increase the shipping rates quickly. Some dealers list what's included when you buy a guitar online, that should make it easier for you to know what it normally comes in with. If it already comes with a hardshell case then you are in luck, but with international shipping its best to be on a safer side.

No idea on the logistic services you mentioned. Hope you find the guitar you want & get it shipped in one piece.
The more reliable transporters (TNT Express, DHL Express, FedEx Priority) provide free insurance, but I don't know how they package the guitar. UPS, in particular, seems to have a poor record in transporting guitars. FedEx has a very high charge, but I don't know if I'll get it within 24 hours, or just one day less than TNT/DHL.

I've kept the customs calculations in mind all the time, and have got a figure on how much to spend on a guitar and shipping, so I may either opt for something used at the right price or use a coupon to get a discount.

Inflation due to shipping and taxes is the reason why I don't wish to buy new guitars from overseas, and would prefer to stick to the local dealership and importers, but they usually don't have what I ask for!
Now tell me, what is the deal with the taxes in California? A certain forwarding agency (guess?) says that I can save on taxes if I select Oregon as a storage/forwarding location instead of California. However, the shipping rates actually go up if I choose that location. What costs $125-135 goes into the $140 range if I choose Oregon. Is it worth the choice? And is FedEx really worth the extra $$ over TNT and DHL?
If you ship to Oregon instead of California, you don't pay the California state sales tax, which is probably somewhere around 8%. So you'll save more than the $15-25 difference in shipping cost by doing that.

I've never used DHL or TNT. I've had good luck with FedEx, although USPS is almost always the cheapest option by a long shot for international shippin. The only issue there is insurance. It's not free and I think there's a cap on value.