How to avoid losing your luggage overseas

Losing your luggage on holiday is something many travellers dread. Being the last person waiting at the conveyor belt, with your bags nowhere to be seen is the worst case scenario for many travellers. 

Craig Morrison, CEO of Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) is no stranger to lost luggage tales, from wedding dresses going missing in transit to backpackers not being reunited with their luggage for up to four months.

To help ensure your belongings make it all the way to your destination and back to Australia with you, he's pulled together some tips on how to avoid losing your luggage whilst travelling overseas.

  • Safeguard your luggage - A bit of extra protection goes a long way when it comes to looking after your luggage. Specially designed travel bags with inbuilt anti-theft mechanisms, such as heavy-duty zips and slash-proof lining, will help prevent your luggage going AWOL and give you the confidence that your personal belongings won’t be stolen. 
  • Get smart - Follow in the footsteps of today’s tech savvy globe trotters and invest in a smart luggage tag that gives you real-time updates on the whereabouts of your luggage via your smartphone. Knowing you’re able to trace your belongings from anywhere, at any time, will give you that extra peace of mind.
  • Be prepared for lost luggage - Keep electronics and other valuable items in your carry-on luggage so you can keep a close eye on them throughout your journey. Carry a change of clothes and essential items, such as prescribed medications, in your carry-on bag so you’re prepared for any outcome.
  • Avoid tight connections - Don’t push it! Transferring luggage from one flight to another when you’re stretched for time could lead to luggage being put onto the wrong flight. Give yourself a good amount of time to change aircrafts.

While touching down on the tarmac without your luggage is the last thing on anyone’s mind when planning a holiday, it’s useful to know what to do if your bags do go astray…

  1. 1. Don’t panic - Keeping your cool is often easier said than done when something goes wrong on holiday, but staying calm will go a long way in resolving the situation as quickly as possible.

2. Get baggage services onto it - Locate the airport’s baggage service counter to report the loss and file a claim directly with the airline. In most cases, an attendant will issue you with a case reference number and take down your contact information, which will allow them to contact you if your luggage is found. Ask them for a copy of the lost baggage report – you’ll need this when you come to make a claim.

3. Keep everything - Additional costs due to your lost luggage can quickly mount up. Many travel insurance policies offer baggage delay cover, which covers the additional costs of buying essentials (such as clothing and toiletries) if your luggage is delayed for 12 hours or more. Keep all of your receipts as you will need them to make a claim. 

4. Make a claim - Don’t get left out of pocket! If the airline will not reimburse you for the full amount, you can make a claim for the difference through your travel insurance provider.