When talking about traveling, we’ve all heard jokes like, “My wife and I went to New York - but our luggage went to Chicago.” Of course there’s nothing funny about it when it happens to you. That’s why we found some expert advice to help make sure lost luggage doesn’t ruin your next vacation:
- Prepare for the worst. According to Travel and Leisure magazine, the number of lost bags has nearly doubled in the last ten years. So, before you leave, put a copy of your itinerary and cell phone number in each bag. That way, your luggage can catch up with you when it’s found. It’s also a good idea to pack a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and your prescription meds in your carry-on just in case.
- Get to the airport early. Susan Foster is the author of Smart Packing for Today's Traveler. She says that most routing mistakes happen when baggage handlers have to rush. Arriving two or three hours in advance gives the airline plenty of time to screen your luggage and get it to the correct gate.
- Tip #3 for preventing lost luggage: Ship it. George Hobica is founder of the website AirfareWatchdog.com. He says that compared to the fees many airlines charge for checking luggage, it’s actually cheaper to ship your things. Plus, you won’t have to drag them through the airport - and you can track the shipment online.
So, what should you do if your luggage does get lost? Bill Mosley is a spokesman for the Department of Transportation. He says to go immediately to the baggage claim office and report it missing. If you have to buy necessities like toiletries or clothes, airlines are required by law to pay you back. Make sure you keep copies of your receipts and carefully complete the airline’s reimbursement form.