When it comes to travel and living overseas, there’s no bigger hassle than losing your luggage – especially if you’re headed to a winter wonderland or damp rainforest. Don’t waste your time wondering what your next steps should be. Instead, prepare yourself with these tips.
Think Ahead – Start Preparing Before You Leave
If you’re heading out to relax, traveling with just a carry-on luggage may be an option, but most vacations require a few more belongings. Start your prep at home – while you’re packing.
There are a few things you can do to prevent your bags from getting lost. Make sure your name is stored on the inside of your bag as well as on the outside. Another option is to use a Tile – you’ll always know where your bag is.
Purchasing a bag with a unique print or tying a colored ribbon on the handle can also help if your bag is lost, as it gives airline employees a clear marker of what to look for.
Another thing to note is the importance of packing your expensive belongings in your carry-on bag. The airline may have a maximum amount that they can refund for lost bags, so it’s best to eliminate the stress of losing expensive items by keeping them close at hand.
Additionally, if you have any rewards credit cards, there may be some type of baggage protection associated with them as well. Your benefits depend on the card. Call your carrier to find out more or sign up for a card that offers the coverage you’re looking for.
Most importantly, always get insurance for your baggage! There are plenty of travel insurance companies that cover baggage insurance. Just be sure you find the right coverage for your trip.
Learn the Airline’s Policies
Whether you do so by talking to an airline representative or by skimming the website, educate yourself quickly. You can even look up lost luggage policies before you embark so you’re prepared, just in case.
Knowing their policies will help you determine your next steps. Will they bring your bag to you once they locate it or will you have to return to the airport? How will they notify you when they find it? How much will they reimburse you if it’s permanently lost? The more you know, the better you’re able to negotiate. And remember—everything is a negotiation.
If Your Bag Goes Missing, File a Report
If you arrive at the baggage claim but your bag doesn’t, make sure to stay and file a report at the airport. It’s important to let them know right away that it hasn’t arrived; don’t wait and call them later on.
The baggage department is typically located near the baggage claim, making it easy to find. Once there, ask to fill out a form to file a lost luggage complaint—and get a copy of the slip for yourself.
Negotiate with Your Airline
After your initial talks with the airline, you’ll have some negotiating to do—even if they do find your luggage.
If they force you to return to the airport to pick it up (which they shouldn’t), ask them to reimburse you for your travel costs. You should also ask to be reimbursed for the baggage fee you initially paid.
If it turns out your bag is lost, make a list of what was inside and the cost—but don’t exaggerate. If the airline thinks any part of the claim is false, it may be rejected completely and you won’t be reimbursed at all. Don’t forget the cost of the luggage itself!
You should also be wary of accepting ticket vouchers in lieu of money. While extra vacations may sound nice, they may have blackout dates or restrictions that will put a halt to your travels. Then you won’t have received any compensation at all.
Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster is an adrenaline junkie, culture vulture and eater of dumplings. He has been traveling for many years, flying around the world, jumping off bridges and climbing volcanoes. You can check out his adventures on Travel Freak now!