Delayed, temporarily misplaced, or entirely lost luggage is something every traveler dreads the thought of when embarking on a vacation. And it’s a legitimate and growing concern when it comes to air travel as the industry faces multiple shakeups. However, there are a few things travelers can do to avoid the situation, so read on for some pro tips.
1. First and foremost, buy insurance that includes lost baggage. That way, if the worst happens, at least you’ll be covered for it. Some policies come with skilled tracking personnel that will attempt to locate your luggage for you. Ask your travel agent if they sell such a policy, or research before you buy.
2. Purchase an electronic tracker. Tech gadgets such as Tile Mate and Apple Air Tags are conveniently small and light. They can be tucked inside suitcases and tracked using Bluetooth technology and a phone app. To read about Tile Mate and how this product works, check out our review HERE.
3. For short trips, consider packing light and fitting everything into carry-on luggage so you can avoid checking your bag.
4. If your upcoming trip entails more than just a few days so fitting everything into a carry-on is impossible, ensure that your least needed items are placed in your checked baggage. Everything important should be placed in the carry-on. This includes ID and travel documents, medications, and all valuables (jewelry, electronics, wallet, etc) so they are with you at all times. And just in case your checked baggage gets misplaced, place a few essential clothing items in your carry-on as well so that you can function for a day or two at your destination while the airline locates your luggage, or until you can get to a store. These items include some necessary toiletries and a change of clothing—at the very least a change of underwear and a shirt. Add a bathing suit if you’re headed to a resort and want to enjoy the beach or pool while you wait for your luggage to arrive.
5. If you’re traveling with another person and you each plan on checking a bag, consider half and half suitcases—pack half of your items and half of the other persons in one suitcase, and the same for the second suitcase. Why? Because the chance of BOTH suitcases going missing is far less than losing just one.
6. Ensure that your luggage is properly marked with secure ID tags and contact info, and make it STAND OUT. You can accomplish this in numerous ways. A colorful scarf or piece of material tied around the handle can assist in identifying your luggage, especially if it’s a run-of-the-mill gray, black, or navy suitcase. A unique luggage protector tends to stand out in the crowd. Distinctive luggage is also useful. Brands such as Mia Viaggi make extremely colorful and unique luggage that can assist in identifying suitcases quickly and easily. Finally, take a photo so you can physically show the airline what your bag looks like, rather than trying to describe it.
7. Be sure to arrive early for your flight so your luggage has plenty of time to be properly sorted and loaded onto the correct plane.
8. Deposit your checked bag in the correct place. Oftentimes, after an airline rep weighs and tags your luggage, you will be asked to walk the bag(s) to a designated drop-off area that corresponds with your airline. If you’re not sure where the proper drop-off is, make sure you ask. Not all lost baggage is due to airport or airline errors—sometimes it’s the passenger that gets it wrong.
9. If you’re taking a cruise and need to fly to the cruise port, try to arrive a day early if possible. If your luggage goes missing on the flight there, you’ll have some time to sort out the situation before your cruise departs. Let the airline know where you’re staying so they can deliver your suitcases to your hotel.
10. If you’re still skeptical and don’t mind paying a little extra for peace of mind, skip the process of checking your bag at the airport and have it shipped to your destination instead, even if it’s a cruise ship. These days, almost anything can be shipped, luggage included, via companies such as Fed Ex, UPS, and DHL.
Ship Sticks originally began as a means for golfers to ship their clubs to their golf vacation destination, and at a price much lower than airlines charge for sporting equipment of this nature. They now ship luggage as well.
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