How to Prepare for Losing your Luggage

I am lucky that in the past ten years of my travels I have only had one luggage mishap. Of course it had to happen in the worst place that it could of – Uganda! Not a country exactly known for it’s shopping! Our plan had been to trek to see chimps and gorillas in rural Uganda which obviously requires certain types of clothing. The night before our flight we had a sudden change of heart about the clothes we would wear from our flight from Cape Town to Entebbe! Waterproof trousers, fleeces and walking boots are not the most comfortable attire for a flight but we thought if the worst should happen it would be good to have at least one set of trekking clothes. Thank God we did!

As if to curse us, as we sat on our connecting flight on the Tarmac at Johannesburg airport I noticed our cases, wrapped in plastic and with the gaudiest luggage ties imaginable, being loaded onto the plane. ‘At least we know our bags have made it!’  I remarked happily feeling relieved.

Fast forward a couple of hours, we were the last off our plane and then had to contend with long queues inside the airport as we went through immigration and Ebola screening. By the time we were through, the airport had emptied out so when we saw only 1 bag left on the carousel we knew we had hit trouble!

After an hour at the airport describing our case and full of the sense of dread of never seeing the case again, we left the airport hopefully looking for our ride. With the delay getting through, our driver had left so there was another 30minute wait. When we eventually arrived at the hotel to assess what we had left our patience was somewhat frayed. After assessment, we found we only had pants for only half the holiday, no extra hiking gear but 4 very nice bottles of wine that we had bought during our South African wine tour.

Daddy Wandermust was particularly pessimistic about the chances of our luggage being returned. I thought if we hadn’t heard anything in 24hours then we were in trouble.

Fortunately for us the next day, our case turned up after someone rang us up having mistakenly taking our case. It took a further three days for us to be reunited with our case after it had been flown around Uganda on a plane taking stocks to far flung lodges.

So after this how would I prepare to lose my luggage in future

  • Wear the essentials, obvious I know but not always done. Trekking gear did not make for the comfiest of flights but we were so glad we had done it at the other end!
  • Have whatever you can’t live without in your hand luggage – for me it was malaria tablets, hand sanitizer, sun cream and my camera but in future I would put a lot more underwear in there! Now travelling with a baby our hand luggage essentials is obviously a lot longer.
  • Split your clothes between the cases – again another obvious, but something when you are travelling a lot can be forgotten.
  • If all else fails, I can say by experience that having four nice bottles of South African wine doesn’t hurt!

What advice do you have to be prepared in case of luggage disasters?

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