Lost luggage tales - and advice
Tom, who really should know better, tells us about how not to travel, pack or arrive at your holiday destination.
“No clean clothes? Check.
No charger for phone or laptop? Check.
No sun cream, insect repellent, malaria pills for the coming Amazon trip? Check.
Card not working in the ATM. Check.
Total money on person. 30 Euros. Check.
I could hear my own narration in my head from the Before You Travel video I’d made for Andean Trails as I stood watching the baggage carousel not produce my bag.
Lost I felt, lost, lost with the other lost people who now had lost luggage, and we found ourselves in the lost baggage area.
A lot earlier that day I had been whisked from my delayed Barcelona-Amsterdam flight through Schipol passport control by a KLM air hostess waving a flashing ipad.
Similarly, the KLM staff in Lima were very helpful, took all my details and assured me my bag could (shouldn’t that have been should or will?) arrive tomorrow.
All I had now was a pencil and notepad, but the pencil was blunt and I hadn’t got a sharpener.
I trudged out and bought a ticket for the new and easy to use Lima airport bus to Miraflores. Naturally, I then left my plastic folder with my itinerary, yellow fever certificate, blood group and travel insurance at the bus office.
Of course, this is all mild inconvenience, but I did smell, was skint and wondered if I would have to spend a fortune on lots of repeat products simply because I hadn’t planned or packed for a lost baggage scenario.
Luckily I had a day in Lima, luckily my bag arrived at midnight the next day, 5 hours before I was due to fly to the Amazon - and luckily the bus people found my folder and I could pick it up.
But it was all thanks to others, and it’s not always as simple as the mantra ‘tickets, money, passport’.
Here’s what Tom should have done -we think!
Top tips given by his Andean Trails’ colleagues (and much appreciated by Tom of course):
Kathy says: "I once had a whole bottle of coke spilled over me by the air hostess and got completely soaked - ever since then I always pack a spare set of clothes! I definitely recommend taking anything you cannot do without in the first 48 hours of arriving, in case your baggage turns up much later than hoped."
Alan adds: "Always wear your trekking boots if going on a walking holiday - it may not be the most comfortable but replacing boots can be a nightmare....everything else you can usually buy more easily at your destination."
And Kat recommends "to pack all essentials such as medication, money, any valuables, phone and camera as well as chargers into your cabin luggage".
Allowing an extra day upon arriving to your destination - like Tom's day in Lima - is a great idea if your itinerary allows it. Not only does it mean you get to settle into travel mode gently, but you also give your luggage a chance to "catch up", should it need to.
While we'd hope that any bag turns up within 24 hours of you arriving, you may face longer delays and in actual fact you should probably pack on the assumption that it may indeed get lost, full stop.
Fill out a PIR - at the airport you will receive a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). Ensure you fill this in, as it will make the process of tracking your luggage much easier.
Keep track of your luggage - in most cases nowadays you can log into an online tracking system and stay in the loop this way, following your bag as it makes its way to you.
A photo of your luggage can help when you need to describe your bag, and is also useful if your bag is damaged and you need to make a claim. So make the first holiday snap one of your bag!
If you do have to buy items to replace what is in your baggage, make sure you keep all receipts and clarify with the airline as soon as possible what your rights are. If you take a look at this link, you may find other helpful tips: lost luggage - your rights