How to prepare for the airline losing your bag

Last weekend, yet another friend told me a story about checking a bag that the airline then lost. Of course, this friend was on his way to Mexico for vacation, not on a business trip. When he asked me how to avoid this being a problem in the future, I realized that the principles are the same, no matter the type of trip. So here are my tips for minimizing the impact of the an airline losing your suitcase, regardless of whether you are traveling for work or fun.

  1. Pack the necessities in your carry-on. For a work trip, that might be your chargers, files, and laptop. For a vacation, could be your swimsuit and sunscreen. Whatever the most important items are for your trip–make sure you’ve got them with you!
  2. Wear work clothes. If you’re traveling on a non-work day and checking your bag, it’s better to wear something work appropriate just in case. Don’t worry, work clothes can be comfortable, so find something you can sit in for hours on a flight.
  3. Keep your toiletries with you. Most hotels have basic toiletries in case you forget something. Some don’t, though, and my experience has been those are in the towns where nothing is open past 10pm. And good luck finding contact solution at a gas station! I’ve found it’s just easier to keep my toiletries with me when I check my bag.
  4. Clearly label suitcase inside and out. Make sure your name, phone number, and address are on the outside and inside of your suitcase. If you have an unusual or hard to describe suitcase, it may even help to take photos of it on your phone.
  5. List of internal contents. Should the worst happen, and the bag is lost forever, it will help you get reimbursed more quickly if you know exactly what was in your bag. If you are carrying something very expensive or unusual, take a photo. Having the original sales receipt is a bonus.

You all know that the number one strategy to keep the airline from losing your suitcase is to carry on. But that’s not always an option. With a little preparation, you can keep the damage to a minimum if your bag is misplaced.

Readers, what are your tips for minimizing impact should the airline lose your bag?


  1. On this note but more of “I really did that to myself” – this week I forgot my suitcase at home – which is an hour from the airport and I did not arrive until 90 mins before flight. I was not prepared as I was going to carry on – but I used Amazon to have a few items delivered to the hotel using next day air (they arrived today), hit Walmart for one outfit upon landing, and shopped last night. I stay weekly at the same hotel so I had a bag here with all toiletries so that was not a problem. Note to self – even if you assume your husband put your bag in the car check no matter how rushed you are!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.