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What to do When Your Luggage Is Lost
Everyone has been there at some point – you're headed to the Bahamas for your luxury vacation, and your baggage gets lost along the way. When you're thousands of miles from home, it can be hard to figure out what to do.
Unfortunately, if your bags are now smashed into the lower decks of some far-away plane, they may never be found. However, chances are something just went askew along the way. The first step is to be patient. Check that everyone else has removed their bags and that yours are no where in sight. If this seems to be the case, go speak with the counter attendant. Be nice – no matter how frustrated you are or how helpful he or she may want to be, they can't make your bags reappear by magic. Counter attendants are often besieged by angry travelers – if you're nice and polite, they'll be much more willing to help you.
Usually the airport personnel will check various areas of the airport before confirming your bags aren't there, since it's possible they're simply on the wrong conveyor. If your bags can't be found, the airline will take your information and find out where you're staying. They may offer you a number to call if you want to check on the status of your claim. If they're able to find your luggage, most airlines will send your bags to the hotel by courier. Many airlines will even offer you back-up toiletries to help you on your stay.
And although lost luggage is frustrating, it's important not to panic. Unless you're traveling to the South Pole, most every location in the world has clothing stores of some sort. While you may not be able to find the exact outfits you had planned, you should be able to find something suitable. Ask the hotel to recommend a reasonably priced shop, and try your best to avoid the popular tourist shops – they'll almost always charge you a higher price.
If your luggage never arrives, you'll need to file a claim to be reimbursed for your items. Therefore, it's best to make a list of all the items in your luggage as soon as possible – preferably before you even leave on your trip. Carry this list with you when you board the plane so that you'll have access to it if your luggage is lost. Some airlines have limits on the amount they'll pay for lost luggage, but it's still important to make sure you report everything.
Medications can be very difficult to replace while traveling, so it's best to carry them with you on the flight. If, however, you've lost medication in your luggage, call your physician's office and explain what has happened. Many doctors will phone the prescription into a local pharmacy and you can have a friend pick it up for you. A quick overnight flight (hopefully this is not lost as well!) and you should have your medication the next day. If you're traveling in the United States, you can have your doctor call your prescription in to a pharmacy close you.
Lost baggage can be very frustrating, but don't let it ruin your vacation. It's hard enough to actually get away, so do your best not to be miserable while you're there. Chalk it up to a rotten travel experience and leave it at that. Enjoy the chance to go shopping again and purchase new clothes. Who knows, you may just find your next favorite outfit in your vacation destination!