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Lost Luggage and Defensive Packing

There has been much posted lately about airlines and lost luggage. Here is a strategy for a checked bag. Think of the checked bag as disposable. Use an old or cheap bag. Pack things that are not going to stress you much if lost. (Example - old clothes.). After packing - learn the maximum dimensions for an underseat bag for your particular airline. Then, move the most important items from the checked bag to the underseat bag. You can then continue your trip even if your bag doesn’t make it. Use an underseat bag that can double as a day pack like the many totes and RS Appenzell already listed on this site. Or, use an overhead bin bag if allowed at no extra charge.

Posted by
8597 posts

You are right Sun-baked. If I have a checked bag (domestic or overseas) its only for replaceable things and not my favorite clothes.

Posted by
2780 posts

I get your point, but I check a bag and in the spirit of packing light, I do not want to take anything that I would consider disposable. If I’m packing it, I plan to use it/wear it multiple times. So, no old clothes for me. 😊

Posted by
5046 posts

What Carrie said. My bag is not a cheap one. I buy bags that last or have a lifetime warranty. I don't wear old worn out clothes anywhere in public, let alone on vacation. Of course valuables, documents, meds, and anything else of great importance is packed in my personal item. That goes for anyone, where there they are checking a bag or not. I don't need to wait until my primary bag is packed to decide that. That's what a packing list is for. And it always includes at least one change of clothes.

In almost 50 years of travelling, I've never had a bag lost. Delayed, yes. To that end (but not the only reason), I always plan to stay several days at my destination city before moving on. Worst comes to worst, I have an excuse for a shopping spree that will eventually be covered by the airline or insurance. Different strokes, and all that.

Posted by
4253 posts

For me, defensive packing would make sense to prioritize my wife's stuff over mine. I'd have a much easier time replacing everything that I've packed. She's now a carry-on convert, but if we were forced to check one of our bags, mine would be the sacrificial lamb.

Posted by
1259 posts

I am a simple, one bag + one small personal item, carryon-only kind of guy. My luggage arrives with me.

If one is checking a bag, one must realize that being reunited with said bag is a binary event: it either happens or it does not.

A binary event such as this, just like tossing a coin, is an event for which no relationship exists with any previous events. Perhaps you have successfully checked one or more bags one hundred times in the past. None of those successful events can possibly have any influence over or relation to the present checked luggage event.

Posted by
4293 posts

Just finished doing this….. I have 3 more days of my trip and then the mess of flying home with too tight connections through London. So I have basically packed my backpack with what I would need for the next 3 days and if I am delayed for a couple of days getting home. Total carryon isn’t possible at this point and I would miss my stuff if it gets lost. But at least I could manage.

Posted by
83 posts

I have also been thinking about this. I’m considering taking a good chunk (most) of my clothes out of my checked bag and putting them into one of those very lightweight packable duffle bags to carry on. And then repacking them into the suitcase when we arrive.

Posted by
10 posts

I can imagine doing this if I were going on a trip with minimal personal hauling of baggage, and a fairly long time in each lodging. (I guess those are sort of the same thing--the value of the long time in a single lodging is about minimizing the luggage hauling and the packing/unpacking.)

In that scenario, I might look at the added pleasure of a couple of paper books instead of ebooks, and eliminating or reducing the annoyance of laundry, and add a "disposable" checked bag.