You disembark, walk briskly to Baggage Claim and stand, slightly anxious, eyes fixed on those black flaps as they spew forth valises of all shapes and sizes. Your eyes follow each rotation but as the crowd begins to thin out so does your positive attitude. The last passenger hoists his Samsonite off the carousel and exits the hall into the first day of his holiday and you, hating on everyone that got their bags, resign yourself to the fact that your suitcase is officially a no-show. Nada, niks, zero, rien, niente – it’s simply nowhere to be seen.
Losing luggage- it has at one point or other happened to us all. In lieu of finding yourself in this situation, here are seven tips of mine to hopefully ease your stress and help you get through the time it takes – up to three days – for the airline to locate and return your case. These days, after my recent SAA experience, I pack as if my cabin baggage will be all I have when I land on the other side; I’m prepared for the off chance that my belongings will end up in Reykjavik whilst I’m in Paris.
Just Do It
1: Before you leave home, take a pic of your case – outside and in – as this will come in handy when describing your missing bag and contents to airline staff, and when making an insurance claim if it comes down to that (hopefully not!)
2: Label your suitcase clearly. Avoid those flimsy paper tags in favour of sturdy plastic ones that can withstand the rough baggage handling process, and tie on a ribbon in a bright, unusual colour that will help to easily identify the case
3: Keep your baggage receipt, that small piece of paper that gets stuck onto the back of your boarding pass – it’s critical to those searching for your goods; and take a pic of it with your phone as well, for good measure
4: Keep your valuables in your cabin / hand luggage: your DSLR and lenses, all chargers, plug adapters, flash drives and fully charged battery packs for your mobile/laptop/iPad; if your phone is alive at least you can keep in touch on Instagram and the Book of Faces, which is some compensation
5: Pack a spare pair of undies, socks, a T shirt and your fave item of clothing that has sentimental or monetary value, that you’d absolutely hate to lose
6: Keep prescription meds on you and NB your basic toiletries like toothbrush and paste, face mist, make up remover, moisturiser (if liquids, NB the 100ml container rule), mascara and lip gloss. No matter the circumstance, one should look fresh and unfazed by the fact that your Prada heels may be gone for good
7: Pack your guidebooks, itineraries and important documents, with copies saved onto a flash drive as well.
It’s worth looking into the Away You Go app and get syncing if you qualify in terms of where you live. San Diego airport is way smarter these days – click the link and find out more about how they’ve streamlined travel.
Hopefully though, your suitcase will emerge when it’s meant to and you’ll still have loads of vacay time to enjoy, in your own threads and treads!
Have a safe trip, happy holidays if you’re still in that mode, and may your bag always be with you!
@allisonfoat / www.capetowndiva.com