Afraid of Losing Your Luggage? Do This

Mistakes happen, and your bags can get lost in the shuffle and not join you at your destination. While you can’t avoid lost luggage, you can prepare for it. These are some things that will make the travel disaster easier to handle.

Know What to Do When Your Luggage Goes Missing

If your luggage is missing from the baggage carousel, you should go to the baggage desk at the airport and file a lost baggage claim right away. The representative will give you a claim number and contact information, where they can update you on the status of your luggage.

It’s likely that your luggage isn’t lost — it’s just delayed. If the airline locates your delayed luggage, they’ll arrange for it to get on an upcoming flight to your current location. It could be back in your hands within 24 hours.

The airline will declare your luggage as officially lost if they can’t locate it after a week or two. At this point, you can accept that you won’t reunite with your belongings.

Get Additional Coverage Before Your Flight

After filing a baggage claim, you can expect the airline to compensate you for your lost belongings. If your luggage is delayed, you can also expect the airline to compensate you for any essential purchases you had to make while waiting for it to arrive.

Airlines will only offer so much. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the maximum liability amount for domestic flights is $3800. The airline can pay more, but they are not required to. The limit for international flights is approximately $1780 through the Montreal Convention.

The amount offered by the airline might not be enough to cover what you’ve lost. That’s why it’s important to have other coverage through travel insurance, homeowners insurance/renters insurance and lost baggage insurance through your credit card. These forms of insurance could compensate you for any financial losses that the airline can’t manage.

Prepare Your Budget for Emergency Expenses

After making a lost baggage claim, the airline will usually offer you an overnight kit. It will have essentials like a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap. Some airlines might offer coupons to help you buy these basics.

But an amenity kit and some coupons won’t be enough to tide you over for long. You’ll probably need clothes, toiletries, medications, and important tech that could be lost for good.

This is what an emergency fund is for. You can withdraw the necessary savings from your emergency fund to help you pay for the essentials you lost. Just keep the receipts of any purchases so that you can show the airline and the insurance companies later on.

If you don’t have enough emergency savings, you can turn to credit for help. You can use your credit card, or you can look into fast loans available online. If you get approved for an online loan, you can use the borrowed funds to help you get through this travel disaster. However, you should only use online loans for essentials in an emergency — don’t use them for souvenirs from the gift shop.

Pack Your Carry-On Wisely

Finally, pack your carry-on bag with items that you don’t want to go missing, like your expensive tech and essential medications. Squeeze in some clean clothes that you can change into if your luggage goes missing.

Now you won’t panic if your luggage goes missing. You’re ready to handle this travel disaster.