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You can just picture it. Your plane has landed on the tarmac. You’ve shuffled off the plane and made your way through the airport, all the way to the baggage carousel. Standing with all of the passengers, you watch as suitcases and duffel bags circle around the conveyor belt. People grab their bags and head out, and soon the conveyor belt is sparse. Panic sets in. Your bag isn’t there.
You’re worried that the airline is going to lose your bags the next time that you go on a trip. How can you prepare for this travel disaster?
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Be Strategic with Your Carry-On Bag
You’ll be allowed to bring a carry-on bag onto the airplane. You should pack this carry-on bag strategically so that you can handle losing your checked bags for a short period of time.
What Should You Pack In Your Carry-on?
- Important travel documents. This includes future tickets, passes and forms that you’ll need during your travels. You can also save digital copies of travel documents onto your electronics.
- A wallet with ID, bank cards, credit cards and some cash with the currency you will need for the destination.
- Electronics like your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You should also pack chargers and portable battery packs in the bag.
- An extra pair of clothes. If you lose your checked bags, you’ll be able to change into clean clothes. At the very least, pack a clean pair of underwear, socks and a shirt.
- Any necessary medications that you cannot risk losing or missing a dose of.
Before you start packing, make sure to check the airline’s policy regarding carry-on bags. It could have specific limits for the sizes and weights of carry-on bags. You should also go through the TSA’s list of prohibited items. If you pack them in your carry-on, they will be removed.
Know What to Do When Bags Go Missing
If your bag doesn’t arrive at your destination, don’t assume that it’s gone forever. It’s likely stuck at your previous destination, or it got loaded onto the wrong flight. The airline might be able to locate its whereabouts and have it sent over to your current location as soon as possible.
Go to the baggage claim and let a representative know that yours is missing. Give them a description of the bag, along with your contact information. They will try their best to track your bag and update you on its whereabouts.
If the airline can’t find the whereabouts of your bag after weeks of searching, that’s when it will declare the bag as officially missing. In that case, you can file claims for the financial losses of your personal items and the airline should cover it up to a certain point. If you have travelers insurance, you should also have some coverage for lost baggage.
Prepare an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is the perfect safety net for all sorts of travel problems, from missed flights to rental car repairs. And, of course, it can help when your bags have disappeared into thin air. With a fully stocked emergency fund, you can withdraw enough savings to replace your essentials at a moment’s notice. You won’t have to wait for your bags to return (if the airline finds them).
What if you don’t have enough in your emergency fund? In that case, you will want to turn to a backup plan to cover expenses related to travel problems. You could use your credit card, as long as the balance is nowhere near the set credit limit. Or you could go to a website like CreditFresh and apply for an online loan there. If your online loan application gets approved, you can use borrowed funds to cover your emergency expenses in a short amount of time. Then, like a credit card, you could repay what you borrowed over a straightforward billing cycle.
There’s not much that you can do to prevent an airline from losing your bag. It’s out of your control. What you can do is prepare for that loss so that you can get through the stressful situation without breaking a sweat.