Lost luggage is a drag. If you travel enough, you will inevitably have the misfortune of being one of the stragglers standing at an empty baggage claim belt, clinging to the desperate hope that your bag is going to come floating around the corner at any minute. You’ll then experience the sinking feeling when all the other passengers disperse and you’re left standing empty handed with the realization that your bag didn’t make the flight.
The drama continues as you file a lost luggage report and attempt to squeeze a gift card from the airline to buy some necessities in order to get you through the next few days. While some major airlines may offer up a few bucks for replacement toiletries and fresh undergarments, many won’t. If you flew with a budget airline, forget it. Most of the time you wind up leaving the airport feeling defeated and uncomfortably light.
This paints a depressing picture, but not all lost luggage stories have to end this way. Seasoned travelers know that lost luggage comes with the traveling territory and always stash a few key items in their carry-on to protect against missing-baggage blues.
Stack your carry-on bag with these three essentials and not having your luggage for a few days will be the last thing on your mind
1) Change of Clothes
It’s no easy feat to stay fresh during your travels and it’s likely you’ll be wrinkled, rumpled, and in need of a shower when you arrive at your destination. Your pants are probably stained thanks to an unfortunate cola spill or a stray spattering of spaghetti sauce. And don’t be ashamed if you’ve got peanut grease smeared on your sleeve. Oh, the joys of travel. The point is, you’ll be itching to get out of those day-old clothes, take a steamy-hot shower, and jump into some fresh new duds.
This daydream can be shattered pretty quickly when a lost luggage situation arises. That’s why keeping a change of clothes in your carry-on is our #1 tip. Roll a pair of socks and a few pairs of underwear into a basic tee, wrap a pair of versatile leggings or light pair of pants around those, and tuck in a flannel or long-sleeved shirt and you’re good to go. Having your own back-up outfit and dealing with a little extra bulge in your carry-on beats getting off a red-eye and having to shop for new clothes any day.
2) Mini Toiletries Kit
After free in-flight cocktails, salty snacks and a series of heavy meals, your mouth will be begging for a good scrub. Unfortunately, your toothbrush is somewhere in Detroit and you’re in Casablanca. The chances of a timely reunion? Slim.
That’s when packing an emergency toiletries kit is a total life and trip-saver. Snag a travel toothbrush, mini-toothpaste, and invest in a set of these silicone no-leak travel bottles for soap, shampoo, conditioner, face wash and whatever else you can’t live without for a few days. Purchase a few travel-sized items like travel deodorant and single packet make-up removers, too. Pack them all into an FDA-approved toiletry bag and you’ll be able to stay fresh for days – even without your full kit.
3) Charging Essentials
It’s a rookie mistake to separate your electronics from their charging devices, but it happens. If you’re just hopping a domestic flight it may seems like over-kill to load up your carry-on with a power bank and charging cables. BUT as we all know (or will eventually learn), you can never be too prepared when it comes to traveling. Arriving in a new place with no luggage and a phone battery on 5% feels nightmarish. Not only do you not have your belongings, but you’re about to lose contact with the outside world, GPS, and essential travel apps. Avoid disaster by making a habit of keeping a light-weight power bank and a few cables in your carry-on. If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you’ve got a converter with you, too – your charger won’t do you any good if the plug doesn’t fit!