*I have been compensated by QVC for this blog post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*
After the airline (thou shall not be named) lost my bag last year, your girl has a small case of travel anxiety which has led me to pack a lot more strategically and efficiently. I devoted last year to traveling as much as I could and definitely picked up some travel tips, tricks and hacks along the way that I wish someone would have told me! Before we get started I figured I would share the crazy, semi-comical lost baggage story for your reading pleasure. If you are just here for the tips and tricks, keep scrolling to the bottom of the post!
Last July I flew to Miami for Miami Swim Week. Hands down one of the best weeks ever… until this situation happened. Silver lining: it was on the way home instead of on the way there which would have been an absolute disaster. Anywho, long story short, the last night we decided it would be a good idea to party all night long and go straight to the airport because YOLO. When we got to the airport (early I might add), we decided to check our baggage outside which I’ve never done in my life but alcohol told us this was a fantastic idea. Fast forward to landing in Houston, my bag never showed up.
At this point I was delirious from lack of sleep but was assured by the airline that my bag would show up on the next flight and they would bring it to me. FALSE. It never showed up. I was on the phone with customer service every day for the next week trying to get any sort of update on my bag. I even went up to the airport multiple times to try to get some kind of answers to no avail. I had thousands of dollars worth of product in that bag including ALL of my make up, ALL of my hair products/tools, and ALL of the designer swim suits and clothes I had taken and then been gifted in Miami. The airline couldn’t tell me anything. Supposedly it had been scanned in at check in and then never scanned again. Side note: They scan your bag at every check point (check in, TSA, on the plane, arrival, etc) and mine was just apparently MIA.
At one point they told me my bag might be in the Bahamas which made me LOL. I was all like “my clothes get a tropical vacation and I don’t?!”. I say LOL lightly because I wasn’t laughing. Funny enough though, my friend Kylee was traveling back to Miami the following weekend and offered to look for my bag at the Miami airport. I was sure that she would find it somewhere since I was so sure it had to still be at the Miami airport. Nope. She searched that whole dang airport with the help of a baggage claim assistant and it wasn’t anywhere to be found. I officially gave up hope after this.
I ‘m sure you are not surprised to find out that I had documented this entire process on my Instagram stories. Documented…ranted… same thing. So one of my sweet followers happened to be flying into a completely different Houston airport than I had flown into and messaged me that she thought she saw my bag. There was hope. I drove straight to the other airport and went straight to the baggage claim office. There were only 4 bags and none of them were mine. At that point I decided it was time to come to terms that I would never see any of my stuff again. I went and purchased new make up that day.
Then a miracle happened. Kylee happened to be flying into the Houston airport that my follower had said she had seen my bag. Kylee, who had flown into this airport many times, versus me who had never flown into that airport and didn’t know about the several cages that they store lost bags in, FOUND MY BAG. I woke up to several missed calls and FaceTime videos. It was possibly one of the best mornings of my life. The bag had been exactly where my follower had said it was but I just hadn’t looked in the right spot.
When Kylee found the bag they released it to her no questions asked. All 4 of my baggage tags had been ripped off which meant there was no identifier anywhere on the entire bag that could have tied it to me. No personal baggage tags. No airline baggage tags. No airline barcode stickers. Nothing. Sadly this happens more often than you think where baggage tags get ripped off somewhere during transportation from being on the conveyer belts. Now how my bag even made it on a plane, let alone to the correct city, just wrong airport, we will never know.
Something I learned during the process, if unidentifiable bags are “lost” for more than 30 days they are sold to a huge warehouse in Alabama where your beloved belongings are sold off piece by piece. 90’s kids: I immediately thought of Halloweentown and Gort’s cottage where all of the missing items go. Thankfully after a series of extremely lucky events, I got my bag back in tact, with everything still in it a little over a week later.
NEVER check your bags outside.
The staff outside is employed by the airport, not each individual airline, so if your bag goes missing, the airline isn’t held responsible.
Always put some form of identification IN your bag
On the off chance that your bag somehow does have all of it’s bag tags or identifiers ripped off, you should always have an identifier inside of your bag that can link your bag back to you. This could be a business card, a copy of your driver’s license or passport, or even a print out of your flight itinerary. I was told by the airline it is best to have your phone number and email in case anything ever happens.
Invest in a luggage tracker
I suggest doing your research on which option is best for you but luggage trackers are 100% worth the money. It’s basically like buying insurance on your belongings when you travel and while it might not solve all of your problems should your bag actually get lost, it will at least help figure out the bags location which is more than the airline can do sometimes. The Tile is a popular tracking device that you can stick to just about anything (keys, phone, luggage, etc) and tracks the item via an app on your phone.
Always pack your “can’t live withouts” in your carry on
Obviously this might be a little different for everyone but for me this means jewelry, especially sentimental jewelry, make up, hair tools, designer items, a change of clothes, a couple pairs of underwear, passport, and laptop. To keep these things organized in your carry on I suggest purchasing a couple different bags or pouches. I’m linking mine for you below.
If you are always that girl at the airport unloading one suitcase to another to get below the 50 pound mark, save yourself the trouble and get one of these luggage scales! If I’m going on a trip where I know i’ll be coming home with more than I’m going with, I make sure to toss this in my bag!
Packing cubes are a game changer for your checked bags and even mid size carry ons to keep your clothes organized, wrinkle free and room for more. If you are one of those people that can never find anything in your suitcase, these are for you!
While you should definitely pack your normal chargers too, never leave for a trip without a portable charger. I can’t tell you how many times these have saved me when I didn’t have time to charge my phone or didn’t have the ability to charge my phone on the go.
Travel Size Makeup/Toiletries
Maybe not a gadget, but if you plan to bring your toiletries and makeup on the plane with you, you are going to need to invest in some travel size products. QVC has a great selection of name brand, travel size makeup and toiletries. You can also use TAKE10 for $10 off of your purchase for new customers!