Top Tips to Avoid Baggage Blues
Are you worried about delayed, misplaced and missing baggage on your next trip. Don’t worry! We've got your back
with essential tips to make sure your holiday isn’t ruined by baggage blues.
Producer and host of BestTrip TV, Lynn Elmhirst, explains.
Carry On Heroes
For many people, their first solution is to not check bags at all. I suppose there are some people making rather short trips with little variation in clothing who can do that, and if you are one of them, I tip my (packed in my carry-on) hat to you!
Even if you can’t pack just a carry on bag, make sure that: all your documentation, valuables like jewelry, medication and anything you can’t live without for a day or permanently in your possession at all times. Do yourself a favor and add a couple of pieces of essentials that might include swimwear, some way to make yourself dressier for dinner, and a change of footwear as well as toiletries that can get you through a day of luggage delay.
Get Travel Insurance
Comprehensive travel insurance – unlike just travel medical insurance – can include compensation if your bags are lost. Some specialist luggage insurance even includes expert trackers who will work on your behalf to recover your luggage and reunite you with it. Your expert travel advisor can help make sure you get the travel insurance coverage you’re looking for.
Split your Luggage
It’s like hedging your bets. The odds of ALL your luggage being delayed or going missing are pretty small. So if it’s two of you travelling, put half of your belongings in each bag you’re checking. That way, if one bag is delayed, you’ll still both have something in the bag you recover at your destination. It gives you essentials and some breathing room for your remaining piece of luggage to catch up with you.
Ship your Luggage
If you’re like most of us, you’re using shipping services more than ever before, and it’s never been easier to ship your luggage to meet you at your hotel – or even your cruise ship! In fact, some ultra-luxury cruise lines even offer that service to their guests. There are companies who specialize in exclusively shipping travelers’ baggage. As a bonus, it also makes your airport experience more relaxed as at this point, you are only traveling with your carry on bags.
Document, document, document - and make your bag stand out!
I had a piece of luggage go missing recently – and in fact, it wasn’t an airline or airport error. It was human error. Someone’s porter had mistakenly picked it up (and the traveler hadn’t been paying attention.) But because I had a label with my name, phone and email on my bag, before I’d even made it to my hotel, she was texting, emailing and calling me to tell me she’d accidentally taken my bag. And she delivered it to my hotel for me. No label – no solution!
Make a list of what’s in your bag and the value of the bag itself. If you do need to make a claim, you won’t be second-guessing yourself.
Take a photo of your bag. If it does go missing, a photo can be a lot more help than a vague description of a bag that looks like a million other bags that go through the airport.
And - PLEASE choose a bag that stands out! Or make your bag stand out from the million of other black suitcases on the carousel.
Of course you’re going to put a solid, secure, proper label on every piece of your luggage.
But some people are going to greater lengths, with Apple Air Tags or other digital solutions inside their checked bags they can track on their smart phones. The airline might not know where your bag is, but you will.
Arrive Even Earlier for your Cruise
Cruise travelers should already know it’s best practice to arrive in your port of embarkation a full day ahead of sailing in case of any flight delays or luggage problems.
These days, I’d suggest two days if you can. It’s much easier to be reunited with lost or delayed luggage if you’re still in the same place where your flight landed instead of two ports of call away, and these days, getting lost luggage sorted out can take more than one day.
And Finally - Be a Good Fellow Traveller
Don't just pack your patience, pack your politeness, too.
It goes without saying that you should check to make sure a bag is yours before you walk away. And be polite to stressed baggage service staff if something goes wrong.
But you can go even farther. Someone I know saw a bunch of ‘abandoned’ bags at an airport carousel, and as a good citizen, while she was waiting for her own bag, started texting owners of ‘missing’ bags their bag label and pic of where it was in the airport so they could reclaim it. She got messages back saying she had saved the day for some fellow travelers!
Don’t let luggage worries stop you from traveling or get you down. Use these tips to keep the baggage blues away from your next trip.