How To Ensure You Have A Good Trip Even If Your Luggage Goes Missing

Lost luggage is just one of many disasters that can make travelers experience all five stages of grief in a matter of minutes. Denial that your luggage is actually lost. It's just taking a while to get loaded onto the carousel, right? Anger and bargaining once the belt stops and everyone else's bag is claimed. Depression and acceptance once you've realized your luggage's fate. 

But lost luggage hardly means your trip is ruined, it will look a little different from what you imagined. The outfits you planned and the clothes you need are not at your disposal, so you'll have to pivot a bit.

If you can afford to, purchase a couple of key clothing items. A few pairs of underwear, a top, a bottom, and maybe a dress for going out at night. This should hold you over for the next few days. However, if you can't buy new clothes, we definitely recommend you prepare in advance by swapping some clothes with your travel companion or placing key outfits in their luggage. You'll have an emergency stash if one of your bags goes missing.

With any luck, your luggage will arrive a few days later, and you'll be back in business. However, remember that travel is an adventure, and lost luggage is a prerequisite for calling yourself an experienced sightseer. However, there are ways you can prepare yourself and your luggage in case they are lost.

Keep your luggage from getting lost in the first place

You can't prepare for everything — especially for lost luggage. But we have some tips and tricks to help prevent it from happening in the first place.

If you're a frequent traveler or have just returned from another destination, remove all of the previous luggage stickers and tags. Yes, even the little ones. This is because there aren't humans directing where your luggage is going — it's all machines and scanners at designated spots. Pretty nifty. However, this can lead to computer errors. These luggage scanners can incorrectly read old tags and route your bag to the wrong destination.

Another luggage prep essential is luggage tags. Write your name and number on these tags so that, wherever they end up, it's easy to contact you and coordinate the logistics of returning your bag to you. You can also include your home address to ensure it arrives at your front door.

Something else you can try is purchasing a unique piece of luggage. Sure, black luggage is sleeker, but more difficult to find if it gets lost. If you want to keep your black luggage, attach a brightly colored ribbon or fabric to a strap or fasten something else to make it stand out, like a patch on soft-sided bags or some vinyl stickers for hard-sided luggage that can't get scraped off.

Prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario

Even after taking all these precautions, your luggage can still go missing. Sometimes your bag can get left on the tarmac or fall off a luggage carrier. Stuff happens, and humans make mistakes. You, on the other hand, will be prepared for this. As we mentioned, you can swap a couple of outfits with your travel buddy so that if one of you loses your luggage, you'll still have some of your own clothes on hand.

Alternatively, if you're traveling alone, we recommend doing the following: always pack your most essential and valuable items in your carry-on. These can be toiletries, extra pairs of underwear, and anything of sentimental or material value. Even if this makes your carry-on annoyingly heavy, it'll be worth it to prevent losing your most precious items.

Additionally, if you have to gate-check your bag, never let your electronics, personal documents, or cash leave your side. Pull out your laptop, local currency, etc., and keep it on your person. Unfortunately, carry-ons are much easier to open and rifle through by opportunists. You should also consider packing an extra outfit in your carry-on. Something small like a light dress, pair of shorts, and a T-shirt will do. 

Lastly — if you want to get high-tech — toss a Tile or Apple Air Tag in your luggage. This way, you'll always know where it is, even if it gets lost.