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How Not to Lose Your Luggage and What To Do If You Lose It


You just gut out of your plane, you’re exhausted but ready to roll! All you can think of is the trip ahead of you – that tour you’ve got tomorrow, the museum tickets you have waiting for you, and your sense of wanderlust is at its most heightened.

You head all giddy-like to the baggage carousel and wait for what seems to be a lifetime….Until it hits you. Your bag won’t show up. What happens next? Let me tell you.

  1. You convince yourself that your bag is coming even though everyone has left and the carousel has stopped moving.
  2. Totally understandable, and I won’t even tell you that you shouldn’t panic. This stage is where you frantically run around asking anyone in a uniform to please help you.
  3. What do you mean you can’t find my bag? I don’t want to fill a form…I want my bag!
  4. After what seems to be hours, you start accepting that you won’t be finding your bag soon and go to your hotel defeated.

You had it all planned out didn’t you? You might even be a Type A personality with a meticulously planned itinerary, schedules, hours lost on packing, and to do-lists…But nothing throws you off like losing your luggage does. Your vacation dream? Crushed! Your soul? Also crushed! Your next few days? Super stressful.

You might have spent an entire week packing and unpacking, rolling and unrolling, making all those packing lists and trying to figure out what the best travel packing cubes are.  You would’ve finally organized your bag in the most photogenic way possible, maybe even took a few pictures of your new packing style with your new methods and packing cubes and then what….? All this gone?

I get it, really. The futile waiting, the constant thought of losing your beloved items and the complete oblivion to where your bag just might be. See, there’s a way you can safeguard your stuff so this never has to happen again.

If you don’t want your suitcase to end up wherever all lost luggage does (Neverland anybody?), there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your luggage always stays with you.

A few statistics first – the odds of losing your bags are actually pretty slim. But that still leaves us with about 33 million pieces of lost luggage per year. Now I don’t know about you, but you can’t just depend on your “good luck” for this.

So what can you do?

How to Never Your Lose Your Luggage

Book direct flights.

Did you know that more than half of the delayed and lost luggage occurs due to transfer problems? It seems pretty obvious in hindsight! You know those connecting flights where you have to literally run from your terminal to the other terminal to catch your connecting flight? Yeah, chances are, your luggage guy is also running. So, chances are, your bags won’t make it. Try never to schedule layovers of less than an hour. You might be lured in by the cheaper prices, but is it really worth losing your luggage for a few less dollars?


Arrive early.

Check your airline’s cut-off time, and try not to make it at the last minute. Due to the fact that a lot of delayed luggage occurs due to transfer problems, that means you need to give your bags enough time to arrive safely. If you’re arriving really late, your bags may not have time to get transported to your plane. Reason? It failed to load.

Make sure the right destination has been entered.

A lot of times, lost luggage could just be on another plane – going to Hawaii while you’re on your way to Alaska…Ensure with your handler that they’ve put in the right destination. Everyone makes mistakes, and their little mistake might cost you your bag. Politely tell them to double-check your information.

Prepare for the worst.

Wow, pessimistic much? Well, yes. Pack as if you know you’re losing your luggage anyway.  Here are a few things you can do to ensure a slightly less than terrible experience when you lose your luggage:

  • Have a change of clothes and toiletries in your hand luggage.
  • Your documents and money should always be on you, no matter what.
  • Laptops, iPads, expensive cameras…All on you!
  • If you’re going to a cold area, keep a warm jacket with you.
  • If you’re going to an important conference, keep that conference’s outfit with you.
  • Pack your medications in your carry on.
  • Get your bathing suit with you if you’re going to the beach.

Always try to minimize the losses when it comes to lost luggage. Try to make the things in your bag as replaceable as possible, and put the important things on you.

Ensuring you are prepared before you travel lowers your chances of unfortunate experiences. Knowing exactly where you’re going helps immensely when it comes to packing and being able to differentiate what is essential from what is not. As seen on my blog, you can get a gist of some of the destinations you’re going to be visiting in order to know exactly what to pack in accordance to the places you’ll visit.

Don’t take luggage.

This might seem like such an….obvious…solution. But hear me out! By not even giving the airline a chance to lose your luggage, you give yourself the best odds of not losing your luggage. Maths!

Grab a carry on, put all your important stuff, pack wisely and your bags will never leave your sight. No baggage carousel hassle, no lost items, nada! You also get to avoid the checked bag fees.

Lock it Up

A lot of “lost luggage” could simply be “stolen luggage” and by simply locking up your suitcase, you’re making the luggage a harder target for the thief. Don’t make the locks too bright though as they might attract unwanted attention and incite curiosity as to what might be in the bag.

Bling it Up

Your lost luggage could have easily been taken by some other hasty, equally tired traveler who mistook his bag for yours or vice versa. Make your bag stand out! I’m talking bright belts, colorful straps, ribbons, or even your picture on it! Go as far as you want to go – just make sure you can identify your bag from miles away.

Take Photos

Take photos of your bag and its belongings, just in case you lose it. It will come in handy in case you need to file an insurance claim and it will help the airline staff members to locate it.

Remove old luggage tags.

Don’t keep the old tags as they might cause confusion.

Make sure you have travel insurance.

Always insure for the worst. Ensure that you have travel insurance to cover your luggage and any of the items inside. Keep your expensive items on you.

Pack an itinerary

Place a copy of your itinerary and your business card inside of the bags. This way, if your bag gets lost, you make it easier for the staff to forward your luggage to you depending on the left itinerary and the contact details.

What to do if Your Luggage Goes Missing

There are a few things you can do when you realize your luggage has gone missing! The first thing you need to remember is don’t panic. Your bag could have simply been delayed, it could be on another flight, or it simply is with another honest traveler who will bring it back.

Here are some steps you should take:

  1. Immediately file a claim. Before you leave the airport, write a copy of the claim. Make sure you have a claim number and a telephone number to make follow-ups easier.
  2. Track your luggage. A lot of airlines offer you the chance to locate the bags.
  3. Don’t let them forget about you. Call all the time, e-mail them constantly and always ask that you stay as updated as possible.
  4. Be nice! The airline staff knows how much you need your bag and they’re doing their best to help you get it.
  5. Demand your bag fees back.
  6. Check if you can get reimbursed from your credit card.


Losing a luggage is a terrible experience, but it’s in your hands to slim down the chances by half. Pack carefully, take the needed precautions, and know your rights and you’ll be on the safe side!

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