Lost Luggage on Holiday
Loosing your luggage whilst on holiday is, for some people, considered their worst nightmare. I have to admit, it is not a pleasant experience, especially when you have 12 and a half weeks worth of expedition kit in it. Luckily I had flown out before the group, and had three frantic days in order to recover my kit from Johannesburg, whilst I was sitting waiting in Windhoek. Not a great start to the expedition.
Unfortunately there are not many things you can do to prevent your luggage being lost, as this is completely out of your hands. Unless you have a state of the arc tracking system which can be attached to your luggage, there is little you can do. I am always relieved when I see my luggage on the carousel in the arrivals lounge. When it does not materialise there is a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach as I realise I have become emotionally and physically severed from my luggage. And then there is the whole rigmarole of ascertaining which country/continent/universe my luggage potentially could be. If this is on my return flight, then there is the consolation that I do not have to carry my luggage home!
However, other more stressful occurrences can happen to your luggage whilst in transit, which are more in your control, such as having your luggage rifled through by opportunistic baggage handlers, someone accidentally taking your luggage instead of theirs and bags and items being damaged whilst in transit. Here are some top tips to reduce the likelihood of these things happening:
- Secure your bag, preferably with a padlock, as this does prevent sticky fingered people pilfering some of your possessions. Strapping around your bags also helps and the best thing to prevent your bag being searched through is having it wrapped in cling film. The problem with this method is that it is not very environmentally friendly. Clingfilm wrappers are often found at airports, particularly the African ones. I wonder why that is?
- Most peoples luggage seemed to be black in colour and I have known of a couple of friends of mine where somebody else has inadvertently taken their luggage home, much to their annoyance. To reduce the risk of a mix-up, I have some colourful Peruvian fluffy balls attached to the handles of my holdall, no self-respecting person will admit that this is their bag! I also find that I can spot my I bag a mile off, making life just a little bit less stressful. So why not tie a colourful ribbon onto your bag? Peruvian fluffy balls not being obligatory!
- Make sure that you wrap up anything that is fragile, or even better put it in your hand luggage. And there are bound to be lotions and potions in your bag, such as suntan lotion and after sun, so my advice to prevent spillage all over your clothes, is to put them into resealable plastic bags.
Be Smart When Packing Your Hand Luggage
My most important piece of advice to those of you that are travelling on holiday is to be smart when packing your hand luggage. Make sure you have your valuables, such as camera and camcorder, in your hand luggage as well as those necessities that you may need on arrival. In my hand luggage I pack a complete set of clothes (including underwear), any medication that I am taking such as malaria tablets, sunglasses, bikini and sandals. Obviously these items are for travelling to warmer climates! It is also worth wearing walking boots (especially if you are tracking or going on a walking safari) and also other trekking kit, such as decent trousers, that you may need immediately.
Be prepared, the likelihood is that none of this will happen.
I hope you enjoy your travels, and pack wisely!