Monday, August 22, 2011

Baggage Claim

This past week we were thinking about which baggage we wanted to bring on our trip to France, and I thought this would be a good topic for blogging.
We have tried every which way of baggage.... let me give you a recap.

Tahiti: Packed one huge cloth bag with wheels - we waited at baggage claim for a long time and never saw our bag?!?, but we did see a garbage bag that was duct taped up that no one had claimed. After everyone picked up all the bags, we went over to the garbage bag and duct tape ball, opened it up and sure enough it was our bag inside.

Lesson Learned: Don't trust cheap cloth with a big bag in an overseas flight, and never underestimate the duct taped bag that keeps going around and around....

Italy: Decided to pack 2 smaller bags. Took an Air Italia Flight (only 40 min flight from Rome to Nice...) Bags never made it. Still not sure how that happened. I don't think they even were put on the plane! We ended up backpacking across Italy not intending too (I think it was 14 days without our bags?)... I spent hours arguing with the baggage claim lady in Naples, who did not feel like helping. She kept telling me " you are American so you must call the US office to help you." Wow. My husband had to hold me back. I ended up just saying calmly, "Let me see the lost luggage room." She finally showed me and it wasn't there, so I asked to see the next room. It wasn't there either. I asked to see the next room, and she answered that was all of the rooms, but after seeing the lost luggage line, I insisted that there was another room, and sure enough, she finally showed me.... and there they were. After months of negotiating about the cost incurred while backpacking across Italy, I finally got a check for ~ $128.32 from them. I think I still have it, and am going to frame it.

Lesson Learned: There is always another lost baggage room in Italy!
Also, I have small carry on bag that can be worn on the side, as a back pack or actually put around me in front. I keep all essentials in this bag I need to survive if my luggage never comes. This bag can be unloaded during the trip and used trekking around for anything anywhere.
Consider taking a picture of what is in your luggage before you zip it up. This is easier to have proof if something happens.

China: I packed a bag that can zip up into a small 5" square patch into my larger bag. I put all of my travel treasures in this bag and bring it on the plane with me home to ensure nothing brakes.

Lesson Learned: Pack a carry on collapsible bag for souvenirs. Make a copy of your passport especially if you are going to a country that would like a passport. Never have your passport and your copy in the same bag.

Verona, Italy: We went to see a opera in an old Roman Colosseum. My hubby went to take a picture of the beautiful site, and when we went to go inside... no tickets.
He had put them in his back pocket to take the picture, and ... gone that fast. Never felt a thing. I think we ended up buying the same exact tickets twice. :(

Lesson Learned: Front Pocket Wallets - This is a must for guys. They are shaped like a front pocket to make wearing them comfortable as well as safe while still organizing things you want to keep on you with you.
Money Belts: Tried this too... This is just for emergency because we could only fit one paper bill in there!

Los Cabos: We bought a souvenier ceramic tequila decanter in the airport thinking we would carry it on home to ensure it was safe. What we didn't know was since we had to switch planes and we were coming from a different country, they make you go through customs at the stopping airport, and they insisted that we had to check the decanter since it had a small bit of tequila in it. We smelled our luggage before we saw it...and my beautiful decanter was broken.

Lesson learned: Tequila smell eventually comes out. Down your tequila before going through customs.... Then you can bring your decanter with you, and you will know your tequila will be in good keeping too.

Chile: My hubby wanted to maximize the amount of wine he wanted to bring home from this famous wine region of the world. When he came home he only had (4) bottles in a wine carring case (the max they would let him bring). I told him I was sorry he couldn't bring more home. He just smiled and opened his luggage. I took out a very heavy rolled pair of pants. Sure enough there was a bottle of wine in them. We ended up with (20 bottles).

Lesson learned: My husband is lucky and strong. I would have not risked my wardrobe on some wine, but I am sure glad he did. Oh, and clothes can be used as bubble wrap substitute. (Note: this was attempted before the tequila incident.)

As you can see, we are still figuring the whole baggage thing out.
I did have a fear of checking luggage for a while (tried to pack every thing in carry-ons), but after seeking help at Carry - Ons Anonymous, I am getting better.

Good luck packing!