We are a breed of travelers who are always making journeys or planning the next one. In all of these great adventures, there are times when a completely different kind of adventure takes place- we call it LOST BAGGAGE! Over my years of traveling I have had my own share of lost luggage mishaps. Ones I arrived in Milan during Christmas holidays but my luggage did not. The only thing that kept me from hypothermia was my woollen jacket that I was carrying on self. Once I lost it all on Turkish Airlines and got it after two months! At least I got it. Read my story of lost baggage and how I miraculously found it after two months. Though I revisit these memories like stories now but when I was going through those times, it was horrendous! But there is a lot I learnt from these experiences and here I am sharing it all so that you can manage the lost-baggage situation well. Some of these points are sheer logic and others come with my rich experience in this department!
1. Shun the laziness...it may save your luggage!
Put the address tag with phone number on each checked in baggage. It is quite some work but worth all the time. Something like you do with your kids and their belongings when they go to school for the very first day. When traveling, that luggage is your baby!
2. A spare at hand
We understand the need to have minimum cabin luggage but always keep one change of spare clothes in hand baggage. You should want to do it particularly for kids since they tend to get all dirty pretty quickly. Why? Well, that is anyone's guess! In case your luggage does not arrive, your kids won't have to be all drity until the time you buy new clothes!
3. One of those times, when checklist can save you!
Itemise all that you carry in each suitcase and keep a checklist with you. This will come handy when you are asked queries about contents of your baggage by airline while they are trying to trace it.
4. Don't put all your eggs in one basket!
Do not pack everything in one suitcase. Allocate clothes, jackets (particularly during winter) and money across other suitcases so that if one of the baggage goes missing you still have the other one. We are big advocates of easy-to-hide pouches as well where you can keep your valuables and passports. Keep in mind to carry one heavy jacket on you if you are traveling during winter months, (Refer our intro on how I kept Hypothermia at bay because of this).
Checkout: The Travel Accessory and Travel Security section of our Travel Store .
5. Retain Bills and receipts
You are in a habit to dump all bills in the dustbin? Well, if you have a plane journey to make, you might want to preserve them safely and that too on your hand baggage. Why? The receipts of shopping done before travel can be useful to claim the reimbursement in case the luggage is not found.
6. Selfie time!!
It is a good idea to keep a picture of your luggage in your phone to share it with relevant authorities if needed. Unique luggage TAGS to identify your luggage are also a neat idea.
7. First Things First
Upon realising that your baggage has not arrived immediately contact the Lost and found department of the airlines and lodge a complaint. You will be given a property irregularity number and asked to contact call centre number. Keep the itemised list of contents of your baggage ready to be shared in such a case.
8. No Pain No Gain
Keep in constant touch with the authorities and regularly follow up. You may be called to come to airport to identify your luggage so be ready to go there at a short notice. It is always better to put up in a hotel that is closer to airport in cases of lost luggage.
9. Claim it all!
In the unfortunate event of your baggage being untraceable you can lodge for a REIMBURSEMENT with the airlines. All your shopping bills for your shopping done during vacation can come handy then. You can also file for a reimbursement in case you find the luggage damaged after recovery.
10. Hotel Hopping.....?
If you have a busy itinerary where you have to hop from one destination to another, leave your hotel address and dates with the lost and found department. Whenever your baggage is traced it will be delivered to the place you are staying at, according to the itinerary shared. This gets us to another point- always have a written itinerary with hotel numbers and addresses in case you are traveling extensively and have lots of connecting flights.
Read: Our post on 25 Best Travel Apps that help you save your itinerary and do much more
11. Be safe now than sorry later on
There is one advice that I have got from some travelers time and again is that just before boarding where we are asked to go through the gate we can counter check the loading with the baggage tags we have. It is our right and no one can deny it to us. I have never tried it but frequent travelers who have had their own share of missing baggage do it at random .
12. Keep calm and carry on!
Lastly keep calm, you are not the only one who has gone through this. Keep the hope alive and don't let it spoil your vacation
So this was my to-do list in case of lost-luggage. I am sure some of you must have undergone similar situation and if so, then do share your experience with us. If you have some tips of your own that can add up here, do leave them in comments and we will grateful!