Nothing takes the shine out of vacation faster than arriving at your destination only to realize your luggage is MIA. What can you do to ensure this never happens to you or decrease the chances? Let’s look at ways to avoid lost luggage on vacation.
1. Act ASAP
Immediately realizing your luggage is lost, make a beeline to the airline baggage desk. This is typically located by the luggage carousels. You’ll want to make a claim as soon as possible. If your airline does not have a representation desk in the baggage claim area, call them so you can start the claim.
This step comes later, but you’ll want to also file a claim with your travel insurance company if you bought a policy. Do this as soon as you return home.
2. Keep Receipts
If you’ve arrived at your destination without luggage, you will have to replace necessary items, even if it’s just an outfit or two. Keep receipts for anything you purchase, even toothpaste.
3. Pack Smart
While a carry-on is the way to go if you want to avoid the chance of losing your luggage altogether, sometimes a suitcase is the only thing that will do the trick, particularly for longer trips or those to another climate. Ensure that you don’t lose the essentials by packing items like passports, vaccination cards, medications, electronics, and jewelry in a carry-on bag.
Pro tip: If you’re bringing more than one suitcase, pack outfits in each others’ bags. That way, if one bag is lost, each person in your party has at least one set of clothing in the other person’s bag (which hopefully didn’t also get lost!).
4. Brighten Up
Add a little flair to your checked luggage and you’ll likely avoid someone else picking up your stuff by mistake and not realizing it until much later. Wrap a bright or unique luggage strap all the way around your bag. Not only will the bag stay secure, but you’ll know it when you see it.
5. ID Your Bag
It’s not enough to have a sturdy luggage tag (read: not the paper ones from the airport) with your name, email, and phone number (skip your address) on your bag. Put your identifying information inside your bag as well, which will give you a backup if the luggage tag falls off. Nothing fancy, just something inside that includes ways to contact you.
Another tip: Be sure to remove all old stickers and tags from previous flights.
6. Double-Check Your Bag Tag
Just because a computer spits out your luggage tag, it’s worth it to take a second to verify that the info is correct. Double-check the destination airport code before your bag is loaded onto the conveyor belt and off into the depths of the airport baggage area.
7. Fly Non-Stop
If at all possible, fly non-stop to your destination. This isn’t going to guarantee that the airline won’t lose your luggage, but it certainly reduces the chances of it going AWOL. If you have to connect, aim for enough time between flights that your bags and you will get to the connection.
8. Use a Location-Tracking Device
Most airlines these days will send a text directly to your smartphone once your bags have been loaded onto the airplane. That gives you some peace of mind, but if you’d like to go a step further, research the various location-tracking devices available in the US and Canada. Ones to consider: Apple AirTag, Blue Ribbon Bags, Lugloc, and BagID.
9. Consider a Carry-On
If you’ve had lost luggage before, you know what a hassle it is. If possible, pack in a carry-on suitcase for your travel purposes only. With some creative, efficient packing, you can likely fit all you need in a carry-on or at least a bag for each group member. The peace of mind, and the ease of whisking through the airport to a connecting flight without worrying if your bag is making the transition, too, is well worth packing fewer items.
For more tips, ideas on luggage-tracking companies, and even information on companies that will ship your luggage ahead of you to your destination, connect with me. I’m always available to chat about travel logistics and make your experience as smooth as possible.