As you pack for your upcoming flight, take a moment to think about what would happen if your baggage were lost. Could you survive with only the contents of your carry-on bag for a few days? Rethinking your packing techniques can minimize the impact of baggage loss or delay.
Use Your Carry-On Space Wisely
Some travelers pack an entire extra outfit in their carry-on bag. For many senior travelers, this might not be possible, because medications, toiletries, valuables, cameras, eyeglasses, and electronics take up a great deal of carry-on space. At a minimum, pack a change of underwear and socks in your carry-on bag. If possible, add sleepwear and an extra shirt. Wear your jacket onto the plane so you have room left for other items in your carry-on bag. You can always take the jacket off once you are on the airplane.
Divide and Conquer
If you are traveling with someone else, split up your clothing and shoes so each person’s suitcase contains some of the other traveler’s items. This way, if one bag is lost, both travelers will have at least one or two outfits to wear. If you are traveling solo, you may want to investigate shipping some items ahead by DHL, FedEx or another freight company to your cruise ship or hotel, depending on the cost of this service, in case your luggage gets lost.
Carefully Pack Breakables and Liquids
As you pack liquids and breakables, consider first whether you really need to pack them in your checked baggage. Could you repackage shampoo into smaller bottles and keep them in your carry-on bag? Could you send that fragile gift ahead instead of bringing it with you? If you really need to pack these items in your checked baggage, think not only about the flight itself but also what would happen if your suitcase were lost. Then, pack accordingly.
Burglar-Proof Your Suitcase
The best way to prevent theft is to carry all of your medications, travel papers, valuables, and electronics with you. Do not put them into your checked baggage, even if you secure your suitcase with a TSA-approved lock.
Document Your Belongings
Before you travel, make a list of all the items (or at least the expensive ones) you will pack. Take photos of your packed suitcase, inside and out, to document your belongings and to show what your luggage looks like. If you have to file a lost luggage report, you will be very glad you have your list and photographs.
Assist Your Airline
Help your airline return lost luggage to you by including your destination address and a local or mobile telephone number on an outside luggage tag and on a piece of paper taped to the inside of each bag you check. Luggage tags, while helpful, sometimes get torn off suitcases, leaving airline personnel wondering where to send baggage that has gone astray.