This blog post was updated on October 25, 2018.
After jet lag and logging hours upon hours in airports and on flights, the last place that you want to be is at the lost baggage counter at the airport. Once you arrive at your final destination, there is always the assumption and hope that your bags made it with you. Unfortunately for many, they wait and wait around baggage carousels only to see no sign of their bags. Lost luggage can be a nightmare for the traveler no matter what you do. However, you can lessen the burden by following these lost baggage tips.
Know the brand, size and color of your luggage: Before you head out for a long journey with several flight connections, you can proactively do something to prevent a problem with lost baggage at your destination. You should write down the brand of your bag, the size and the color. You need to have as much information as possible to give to the airline if they lose your bag. It is also helpful to take a few photographs of your bag before you hit the road. If anything happens to your bag, you can provide the airline with an actual picture of what your luggage looks like.
Have the addresses on hand of your first few hotels: If your bag doesn’t show up at your destination, you will file a claim and tell the airline where to send your bag when they find it. The trouble with many travelers is that they don’t know the exact address of their hotel or accommodations. They might know the name to give to a taxi driver or the bus stop, but they don’t have the actual address. To cut down on the chaos of a lost bag situation, you should have the address of your first few nights of accommodations on hand.
Hold on to your baggage slip for dear life: The airline gives you a tiny baggage slip when you check-in for your flight. Perhaps it is small and easy to lose by design for if you do lose it, it will be difficult for the airline to find your bag. In the worst-case scenario, the airline might have no way to track down your bag if you don’t have that little reclaim slip. This baggage slip should be kept in a safe place so as to avoid any accusations from the airline that they never had a bag of yours.
Keep in contact with the airline about your lost bag: Lost baggage is not the time to just walk away and let the problem work itself out. While in many cases the bag shows up on the next flight, you need to remain in contact with your airline. Some airlines are better about keeping you in the loop about your bag while others will let you do the heavy lifting. You should be tracking your bag online if that feature is available. You should be calling for status updates. You should email with a lost baggage claim if your bag is significantly late. It is vital to stay in contact with the airline about your bag.
Consider travel insurance for your luggage: If you bag is lost, the airline does have to compensate you to some degree. What those terms may be are outlined in lost baggage policies. Aside from reading these carefully before you book with certain airlines, you can also cover all bases by having travel insurance on your luggage. If it is lost, you will be compensated. Insurance can also cover all of those purchases that you have to make for clothing and toiletries when your bag is lost.
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