One of my biggest fears while travelling is somehow losing all of my luggage when I get to my destination. The simmering anxiety of standing at the baggage claim carousels at an airport and watching everyone else’s bags slowly trundle around is palpable. Please, for the love of God, tell me my bag somehow didn’t fall off the plane while I was snoozing in my seat or eating tiny snacks! How can we avoid our stuff slipping into a void after it goes down that bag drop conveyor belt? Well, a travel expert has shared a few hot tips.
Jodi Bird — a travel oracle from the consumer advocacy group CHOICE — told The Sydney Morning Herald there are a few things you can do to avoid the nightmare of trying to have a successful holiday with just whatever’s on your back.
His first tip is to arrive at the airport nice and early so staff (who are already under major stress) can process your bags without rushing.
“It takes time and labour to carry your luggage from one place to another and we know right now that there are labour shortages across the aviation industry,” he said.
“So arriving at the airport early and giving staff that are on the ground the time they need is the first thing.”
Opting for a direct flight is also a vital tip — and if there’s no way around a layover, try to give yourself a good amount of time between flights so you can pick up your bags and get them on the next flight if necessary.
Bag tags with GPS functionality are something recommended by airline staff themselves. One anonymous QANTAS worker told the SMH bag tags are lifesavers when it comes to locating luggage that’s gone MIA.
Double it up with normal bag tags with your name and number on them so baggage handlers can pick your bag out from all the other identical ones.
Bird also recommended taking a photo of the inside of your checked luggage on the off chance it goes missing and you have to give an itemised list to the airline or your travel insurer (taking out travel insurance is also a hot tip).
“People should take a photo of what’s inside their luggage before they check it because insurers and airlines will ask for an itemised list of what was in it and an approximate value,” he said.
“Once I’d been on a plane for 24 hours I would struggle to remember what was in it, so a photo can be a really easy way to jog your memory.”
And if you have any important meds with you: take them in your carry-on bags. That way you definitely won’t get stuck without your clothes and also anything that helps you to, you know, live.