My tips to prevent lost luggage when travelling, as well as airport tips and travel gadgets will help get your next trip off to the right start.
Unfortunately lost luggage is no longer a rarity. With airports, airlines and baggage handlers all suffering from staff shortages, and a larger than expected return to international travel, delayed or lost luggage is now something that you need to consider when travelling abroad.
However, I am here to help! Firstly I should point out that most luggage is delayed when people are travelling to a destination via another airport. The majority of the delays are arising when baggage needs to be transferred from one aircraft to another. Therefore if you are travelling on a direct flight, your luggage will more than likely arrive with you!
However, there are ways to help prevent losing your luggage, so you arrive at your destination with everything you need to enjoy that well deserved holiday. I have highlighted my top tips to avoid lost luggage below, along with some airport tips to help you get your holiday off to a flying start!
1. Don’t check in a bag – Invest in light weight carry on instead
Well you can’t lose your bag if you don’t check it in – right? While you may think you need to bring a 20kg suitcase, you might be surprised at some of the light weight suitcases that are available now.
I invested in a Samsonite Lite-shock case and find it invaluable. Although I knew it was ultra light, it was only when I took out my other 10kg / cabin bags for our family holiday recently, that I realised how much lighter the lite-shock case really was.
If you travel with a good light 10kg suitcase, you will not only avoid checked baggage fees, but you will also be less likely to lose your luggage when travelling – it will be with you at all times.
The lite-shock case is one of the best on the market, and the price reflects that, however, there are also light weight cabin-size suitcases available in Primark from €26!
2. Make sure to pre-book a cabin bag
Bringing a cabin bag on board is probably the safest way to avoid lost luggage. However, this is not without its challenges! There are only a certain number of spaces on board aircraft for cabin-size suitcases, so it is vital that you pre-book cabin baggage space.
Many airlines now charge to check in a 10kg bag, and if you haven’t included this option at the time of booking, you may find that you have no choice to opt to check in a bag instead. I recently tried to change my checked bag to carry on, only to find that there was no cabin space available on the flight.
Priority boarding may also be worth considering, as there is likely to be space available for your bag close to your seat.
3. Track your luggage with an Apple AirTag, Smart tag or Tile
If you want to know where your luggage is at all times, then it makes sense to use a tracking device. The Apple AirTag looks like a large coin and can be placed in your suitcase or backpack when you travel.
The AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby Apple devices in the Find my Network. These devices send the location of the AirTag to your iCloud account so you can see exactly where you case is. The notifications are anonymous so your privacy is protected, and your luggage will be traceable via the Apple app.
Priced at just €35 for one coin, and €119 for a pack of four, these are a good investment if you are concerned about lost luggage. Samsung have a similar device called a Smart Tag, and Tile is another alternative that works with any mobile device, but does not have the same precision finding as the AirTag.
4. Check in your luggage for each flight separately
It is rare I hear of Ryanair losing luggage, and that is mainly because of this reason – they don’t transfer your bags from one aircraft to another.
If you are flying to a destination via another airport, most airlines will give the option of checking your luggage all the way through to your destination. However, this means that your luggage will have to be transferred from one plane to another by ground staff. With staff shortages in all major airports, this is where the chances of losing your luggage increases.
If flying via another airport, and time allows, tell the check-in staff that you don’t want to check your luggage all the way through. Reclaim your luggage at your first point and re check it in again for your next flight. This will mean you will need a much longer connecting time. However, if you are worried about lost luggage, this is the price you might have to pay.
5. Label your bags and make them stand out
Although all checked baggage contains electronic tracker tags, having your luggage labeled smartly avoids the risk of someone taking your luggage in error. Make sure all cases are labelled with your name and address, and mark your bag with a ribbon, paint or something that is easily recognisable.
6. Bring a change of clothes in your carry on bag
It is vital that you keep any valuables in your carry on bag, along with a change of clothes, just in case your luggage does not arrive at your destination with you.
If travelling to a warm climate I suggest a dress that can double as a beach / evening dress for women, and swim shorts that could also be worn as casual wear for men. A change of underwear, flip flops and basic toiletries are also a must.
If travelling with friends or family it makes sense to pack your clothes in different suitcases, just in case one suitcase doesn’t arrive.
Prefer to listen? Check out The Travel Lounge podcast where myself and Ed Finn give our top travel tips in under 30 minutes!
Other top airport tips and airplane tips:
7. Pre-book food on the plane or bring food on board with you
I have travelled a lot over the last few months and thankfully, I haven’t had any issues with lost luggage. However, I have found it difficult to get food, both in busy airports and on planes from time to time. If you are delayed, you don’t want to get hangry! Bring snacks with you, or better still pre-order your meal on the plane.
Many airlines allow you to pre-order breakfast or snacks via their website /app – you can do this up to an hour before departure on the Ryanair app. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the flight attendant come to you first asking you what food you want!
8. Book Fast Track – but check the opening time
In these extraordinary times, I would advise booking Fast Track if available. It is not always available via the Dublin Airport website, but is available on the Ryanair website. This will save you valuable queueing time at security.
Top Tip: However, it is important to know that Fast Track only opens at 4am in Terminal 1 and 5am in Terminal 2. If you have a 6/7 am departure time, you may plan on arriving at the airport earlier than that, in which case purchasing Fast Track is a waste of money….
9. Arrive at the requested time and use the self-check in and bag drop facility
Not all airports are experiencing delays and staff shortages, so make sure you check the suggested check in times with your airline and airport in advance.
The latest advice from Dublin airport is to arrive no more than 2.5 hours before your flight for short-haul travel, or 3.5 hours before you flight for long-haul travel, even if you have checked in online. However, if you have a bag to check in, you should add another hour on to these times.
If checking in a bag, use the bag drop facility, which can reduce the queuing time dramatically. Not all airlines have this facility, so it is best to check with the airline you are travelling with, before you arrive.
10. Pre-book an Executive Lounge
If you fancy starting your holiday off in style, book an executive lounge. You can book two hours in the lounge in Dublin Airport’s Terminal 1 for €25, which includes complimentary drinks, snacks and newspapers / magazines. The more luxurious 51st&Green in Terminal 2 is €35 for two-hours if pre-booked online.
11. Use evening before check in or bag drop
Aer Lingus has re-introduced Evening Before Check-In. If your flight departs Dublin Airport between 05:30 – 08:00 in the morning, you can check in at the airport between 16:00 and 19:45 the evening before.
Each passenger needs to present themselves to check in and drop off bags, but if you are travelling with immediate family, one member of the family can check in and drop bags for the group the evening before.
Passports/ID cards are required for all passengers travelling, and must be presented the evening before. Kiosk Bag Drop is also available for all passengers availing of this service.
12. Be prepared for security
In case you have forgotten – you can not bring any liquids over 100ml through security in Dublin airport. Leave water bottles at home – you can pick up a bottle of ‘plane water’ to bring on board with you when you go through security – it only costs €1.
Place all liquids that are under 100ml in a small clear plastic bag. If you arrive with a large clear plastic bag you will be asked to put your liquids into the official airport bag. If they don’t fit, you will have to leave them behind.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the right size, you can pick one up before you go through security. Take off watches, jackets, and check there is nothing in your pockets, and if so place them in a security tray. Phones, laptops, and electronics should be placed in a separate tray, and the laptop needs to be out of its sleeve.
Shoes with heels, buckles etc will need to be removed. I usually wear runners to avoid that.
13. Pre book travel insurance in advance and check cover limit
Most travel insurance policies include some sort of Covid cover now, and should cover expenses if you contract Covid abroad. However, most policies have a moratorium in place, so you need to make sure you have booked travel insurance at least 14 days before departure.
I always use Multitrip.com and they currently have Covid cover included ( check Ts & Cs ), but always check with individual policies for more details.
It is also vital you check what your policy covers for lost luggage. Multitrip’s Essential policy only covers you for €1200 if you luggage is lost or delayed, their Premier Plus policy covers you up to €5000.
14. Pre book car park in advance
I was amazed that when I went to book the Dublin airport car park over the October bank holiday weekend that it was fully booked. I recommend booking the car park in advance to guarantee space, prices are only going one way this summer so the chances are the earlier you book, the better price you will receive.
15. Use Click & Collect for Duty Free
Did you know that The Loop guarantee that fragrances are 20% cheaper than downtown prices, and skincare and make up products are 15% cheaper than downtown prices? These savings apply to all passengers, regardless of whether you are flying to a duty free destination.
To ensure you avail of the discounted prices when travelling, and to save you valuable time, I recommend you use Click and Collect service online before you go. You can use this service as far as three months from your flight date! This is a free service available to all passengers travelling within the EU – note it isn’t available to passengers travelling to non-EU destinations.
Simply order 3 months – 12 hours before your flight departs and your products will be ready for you to pick up at the Airport Shopping Collection points. You will need to have photo ID with you, as well as proof of purchase, when collecting your goods. See all collection points here.
To give you some shopping inspiration I have selected some travel exclusives currently available at The Loop that I think you should watch out for, as well as some of my personal favourites beauty buys in this post:
16. Check travel restrictions of the country you are going to
Thankfully more and more countries are dropping Covid-19 restrictions, however boosters or pre-departure tests are required for travel to many countries within the EU if initial vaccination is over 270 days. If travelling outside the EU, many countries including the USA require you to be fully vaccinated. Please check the DFA website for the latest travel information.
Passenger locator forms are still required to be filled out in advance for some countries. Many countries will only accept these online, and some require them to be filled out up to 48 hours in advance. Therefore it is vital you check the entry requirements before you travel.
Like this post? See my top tips for travelling through Dublin Airport
I hope my top tips to avoid lost luggage will help you with your travel plans. Please note these tips are guidelines only travel restrictions and requirements can change at any time. Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links, where I receive a commission if a purchase is made, but at no additional cost to you.