By Diana Maiola
What a joy it is to travel. Exploring the endless characteristics of our fantastic world is always amazing! Experiencing new cultures, new landscapes, new people, new art, new food….a pure pleasure!! You choose your destinations, you plan your itinerary, you make an investment and alas, departure day is fast approaching….
Next step: pack your suitcase(s). Being an avid traveler, I have my system for preparing my luggage. First, I gather my documents. Passport, tickets/vouchers, itineraries, vaccination card, credit cards, a little bit of cash. All of these items stay with me in my purse at all times. I have photos front and back of all my documents that I leave at home with a loved one in case of loss or theft.
Next, my outfits. Various mix and match items that can be layered and interchanged, comfortable shoes and minimal accessories. Less is more and a light packer is a happy traveler. If you wear a pair of pants 2 times, nobody cares. Finally, a few toiletries, make up, phone charger, meds and medical support equipment. Meds and medical equipment are packed in a purse or carry on and NEVER in your checked baggage!! I repeat, NEVER in your checked baggage!!
,Now you are at the airport. It is time to hand over the luggage that you so lovingly prepared to complete strangers. There is always a bit of anxiety at this point - who knows what will happen to it behind closed doors. For the most part, the process is smooth. You arrive at your destination and you grab your things from the baggage claim and off you go. However, there are those times when you arrive, but your luggage does not. UGH!! NO LUGGAGE!! This is one of those things that is completely out of our control and we are consequently at the mercy of the airlines to remedy the situation in a timely fashion or not.
Here are a few tips to maintaining your sanity when you experience lost luggage.
Before you go:
1. Pack a change of clothes or two in your carry on. This is genius, folks, and will really help with the anxiety of being without your things, should your checked luggage get lost.
2. If you are travelling with a companion, split your belongings between the two luggage. If one gets lost, you still have the other to fall back on.
3. Take a picture of your suitcases before departure, so you can show it to the lost and found agents, who will have an easier time identifying them when they are located.
4. Tag your bag properly. Place 2 (if not 3!) name, address and phone tags on or in each piece of luggage. Also make sure that the ticket agent places their printed bag tag on correctly and confirm the final destination for your checked bag.
5. So many bags look alike, so place an outstanding marker on your bag: a sticker, a fuchsia-colored bow, something that will stand out so that another passenger does not accidently take your bag.
6. Download the airline baggage tracking app on your phone to have up to date tracking of your luggage.
If it is lost:
7. File a claim for the lost item(s) with the airlines. Sometimes in smaller airports this can be difficult. If you find that you arrive during an hour when these offices are closed, take a photo of your watch along with the closed office for proof that you were not able to file a claim due to lack of personnel.
8. Call for assistance soon as you are able. If you purchased travel insurance. Familiarize yourself with the policy. They usually have a special concierge to assist with the lost luggage. Depending on your policy, you could have an allowance to spend on clothes and toiletry items per day to get you by. Use the concierge as they can be very helpful.
9. Finally, no matter what, enjoy your travels. Do not let your lost luggage get you down. In the grand scheme of things, it is insignificant.
As always, travel safe, love what you see, and be realistic in your expectations.