I recently returned from a trip to Sicily where lost luggage was a major topic of conversation. A couple of friends in my travel party had their luggage delivered two days after they arrived in Taormina. On the trip home my luggage took a short detour to France.
What is a traveler to do?
I avoid the lost luggage risk going to my destination by packing light and only taking carry-on bags even if I will be gone for several weeks. I realize this a challenge, particularly for women, but you can do it if you try by reminding yourself that if you need something it is the perfect excuse to go shopping.
You can’t possibly pack enough to meet every possible need that may arise without bringing a steamer trunk so accept the challenge to pack lightly. And, be prepared to rinse a few things out in the bathroom sink.
If you just can’t do it and must check your luggage on the way over, here are some tips to help you avoid disaster.
• Take all necessities on the plane such as prescription medication, extra prescription glasses, etc.
• Bring two days of underwear, socks and an extra shirt or dress in your carry-on luggage
• Wear comfortable all purpose shoes on the plane
• Dress in layers so you can mix and match your clothes
Returning home from your trip presents a different challenge. Part of the fun for most travelers is shopping for products that are representative of the places they are visiting. Just as I never check my luggage going, I always check my luggage coming home. So what if I am without my travel clothes for a few days. There have been some trips when I would have been just as happy never to see my travel clothes
But, I would be very disappointed if I lost my new purchases. So I always have two carry-on bags for the trip home and put all my new purchases in them, especially anything that is fragile. On this trip I had more than one airport security guard comment on how heavy my carry-on bags were. I just smiled and said I know – but this way I knew that the bottle of wine I purchased in Marsala and my new Sicilian
pottery would make it home in one piece.
On the plane home make sure that anything fragile is protected in the overhead bins. People jam heavy bags into the bins without any consideration for other people’s possessions, so be vigilant.
As far as my luggage coming home, it finally showed up. I flew from Palermo to Rome to Nice, France. My luggage apparently decided to enjoy a few extra days on the Côte d’Azur compliments of Delta Airlines. The suitcase eventually arrived battered and bruised but structurally sound. It appears that some sort of liquid was spilled on it and then was bumped around for good measure.
My luggage was delivered at 3 am a couple of days after my arrival back in Atlanta. Not the most convenient time for a delivery, but I was happy to get the books I had purchased that were too heavy to carry in my backpack.
I am undecided as to whether or not I should replace my suitcase. What’s the point since the odds are sometime soon it will be lost again?
Rick Steves offers a line of products that are perfect for travelers. I have a bag that is similar to his hideaway tote that I use as my second carry-on bag for my trip home. When it is ready to be replaced, I intend to purchase the product shown below.