Lost luggage

You’ve patiently waited for all the bags to take their turn on the conveyor belt. No more seem to be exiting the chute. And, yet, yours is not there. You couldn’t have missed the bright red tape on the handles. Surely no one else took it.

It’s lost.

What do you do?

First, make sure you have the baggage claim ticket. You know those things the check in counter staples to your envelope or hands to you? Don’t immediately discard that little piece.

Most airlines have a counter or office in the baggage claim area. Talk to them and fill out the missing luggage form. It’s possible your bag was sent to the wrong place and you’ll have it in a couple of days. If it is truly lost, you can file a claim for damages. Keep in mind…you will have to make a list of everything that was in your bag. Whew!

And, you will only receive the depreciated value for those items in your bag. You know those shoes you paid $500 for just last year in Venice? You won’t receive $500. Bummer.

So, don’t pack valuable, essential, or priceless items in your checked bag. Make sure your name and address are clearly marked on your bag. Add contact info to the inside of your bag. When the ticket counter puts the destination tag on the bag and hands you the claim ticket, make sure it reads the correct destination. AND…hang on to the claim ticket.

Cancelled Flights Due to Unforeseen Issues

With the recent events in Paris, many people visiting or there on vacation weren’t sure what to do first or how to get back to the US. Check out these tips from a fellow traveler who was there.

Always have your airline phone number in your phone. Put your current flight information there as well. Then, contact the airline as soon as possible to rebook your flight. In times of a situation like Paris, airlines are aware and will usually do what they can to help.

If you have a relative or friend in the US, call them to see if they can get through to the airline quicker than you can.

Keep your phone charged.

When you need to get to the airport, get there much earlier than normal. There will be lines of people.

Stay patient.

If you’ve registered with the State Department, STEP, you will have access to the local embassy. This helps both you and your family or friends in the US.

Call your phone carrier and request temporary international cell service.

Do you know where you parked?

Two weeks ago you parked your car in the airport long term parking lot and left on a fantastic vacation to Europe.

Now, you’ve picked up your luggage, made it through customs, and arrived at the shuttle bus stop. All you need is to remember where you parked your car.

If you had taken a photo on your phone of the section where you parked…you’d be able to pull it up and head right to it. If not, you could always try to remember. I’m sure you’ll find it.

Where are my car keys?

Let’s say you’ve been gone for 10 days. When you parked at the airport parking lot, you stashed your car keys in a pocket or in your carry on bag. After all, you won’t need them for 10 days.

Now you’re riding the shuttle to your car…and you can’t find your keys.

Plan ahead and find the keys before you get on the shuttle to the parking lot. If you’ve really lost them, you can deal with it at the airport terminal instead of standing in the dark by your car taking everything out of your bag.

Ship Those Gifts

Traveling this holiday season? Taking gifts with you? You do know you have to leave your gifts unwrapped per TSA guidelines, don’t you?

Have you thought about shipping the gifts ahead of time? If you have several packages or ones that are awkward to pack, you might be better off shipping them ahead of time and not worrying about how to get everything packed.

Follow That Map

Have you ever been in an airport AND in a hurry? Did it seem like everyone in the entire airport was following the same path as you?

Did you know there may be shortcuts in airports to get from one hallway or one point to another? How do you find them?

Take a good look at the airport concourse map. It shows all the hallways, the elevators, etc. You may just find a better way then following along after every other traveler.

Leftover Currency

You’re at the airport, ready to head home after a couple weeks in Italy…or wherever. You have some leftover Euros. What do you do with them?

You could bring the Euros home and use them next time.

You could buy something at the airport.

You could find a chain coffee shop, like the one you have back home. Buy a gift card with the exact amount of leftover Euros. Whatever it translates to when you get home…it’s a cup or more of coffee.

Help! I lost my passport…

There’s probably no worse feeling than that of not finding your passport…when you’re in a foreign country.

You’ve looked everywhere. It’s nowhere to be found. It may be lost. It may be stolen. It’s just gone.

What do you do? Search everything one more time. I mean everything. Did it get wedged in your suitcase behind your shoes? Did it get covered up with the morning’s newspaper? Look everywhere.

Then, if it’s gone…

Contact the police in case it really was stolen. Contact your local embassy. If you’ve registered with STEP (see a previous post on this), you’ll know where the embassy is, the phone number, and other pertinent info. You’ll have to show up in person at the embassy to get an emergency passport to get home. Once at home, you’ll need to apply for a new passport.

When you’re at the embassy, you’ll need to show ID. If your wallet was stolen, take someone along who can vouch for you.

It would be a good idea to have a preparation kit of sorts with you in a different place than where you keep your passport. If you received two passport photos when yours was taken, put that in your ‘kit’. Include a copy of your US birth certificate…not the original. Include a copy of your passport and a copy of your flight itinerary and tickets. If your phone is password protected, you could keep a file with this information on it.

If you’ve registered with STEP…this process will be easier.