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Worst case scenario: Lost baggage! Get a free carry-on packing list!

Each time you’re afraid of that moment. You’re standing at the baggage carousel waiting impatiently for your bag. Thoughts are running through your head: “Please, let the next one be mine! And what, if…” Lost baggage can be such a pain! And it just happened to me for the second time. However, this time wasn’t too bad, because I packed my carry-on as if I’d known this would happen. So I developed a packing list for you, in order for you to still be happy and enjoy your vacation without having all your baggage.

For travelers like me

This is for those people who cannot travel with only a carry-on! I myself cannot travel without going over the 8 kg (16 lbs) for my carry-on bag. So I need a checked bag too.

Where lost baggage is predictable

First off I have to give you a tip: Never fly over the airport in Paris (CDG – Charles de Gaulle)! This is actually where my suitcase got lost twice! The first time I had a 3 hour layover and the last time only one hour – yeah, that was a bit naïve. I cannot explain, but they seem to be unable to transfer baggage properly. If you google it, you’ll find thousands of complains about this airport!

Pack smart and don’t be sad, if it happens!

This time I could enjoy myself, because I put a few more things in my carry-on. Usually I pack as little as possible in my carry-on luggage, because I am too lazy to carry it. But my experiences have shown me, that it’s better to pack smart than have a bad start to the vacation!

Therefore I want to share my carry-on content with you, because I know how terrible it is to be without clothes for 3 days!

What I usually wear on flights

Too all my flights I wear pretty much the same – the longest and warmest clothes for the flight:

A pair of jeans, an undershirt, a loose t-shirt above, a thin jacket/cardigan and mostly another jacket (e.g. soft shell or rain jacket). As I am from Germany, I start and arrive in cold weather more than likely.

Hence I always need short clothes in my carry-on that I don’t have to sweat the first days, as I am mostly flying to hotter climate zones.

Here it comes! My ultimate carry-on packing list in case of lost baggage which makes life much better!

  • Things I always have in my carry-on:
    • Passport and flight documents
    • Wallet with my credit card and only really necessary cards (nobody needs a gym memberchip card abroad)
    • Laptop + charger
    • Phone (with music and eBooks) + charger (+USB cord)
    • GoPro AND/OR camera + gear
    • Headphones
    • Earplugs (best way to sleep for hours)
    • Folder with documents (e.g. Passport, International driver’s license, itinerary, flight documents, important phone numbers) and copies of necessary documents (e.g. passport, driver’s license, Credit Card)
    • pharmaceuticals: pain killer, birth control (if needed)
    • For longer flights: comfortable pants and thick socks, because I always get cold feet on a long flight
    • Empty bottle (that I can fill up with water after the security check)
    • Travel pillow
My regular carry-on items are a grey Dakine bagpack, red travel pillow, folder with documents (passport etc.), laptop, charger, GoPro Camera with gear, pain killer and earplugs
For lost baggage put some extra clothes in the bag pack: shorts, top, swimming wear and for long flights comfortable pants
  • Clothes:
    • 1-2 x top/t-shirt
    • Socks (if even necessary – your decision)
    • 1-2 x underwear (doesn’t take too much room – so worth it)
    • Shorts
    • Swimming wear (I always regret when I don’t have it in my carry-on)
    • Flip-flops or sandals

This way you can wash your clothes from the flight to have them clean for the second day.

Only necessary beauty products in case of lost baggage: toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, shampoo, shower gel, deodorant
  • Only necessary beauty products:
    • little shampoo
    • little shower gel
    • little portion of toothpaste
    • toothbrush
    • hair comb/brush – I have this little travel brush, it’s perfect for beaches too
    • little deodorant
    • (makeup, if necessary)

Towels are in most hotels/apartments/hostels or you can rent it for the first days. I don’t think this is a big deal, so I leave them in my checked baggage! Worst case: you just buy one for a few bucks.

Often you’ll get a “sorry-for-loosing-your-bag”-bag from the airline

Air Canada gave me a really big one last year, but they also needed more time to bring back my suitcase. In this bag was almost everything – even detergents, clothes refresher, and body lotion.

Delta gave me only a small pack with a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, razor, and lotion. However, Delta also pays you reimbursement for reasonable expenses, you had to make. Their policy says that they refund you $50 a day. You can upload the receipts or go to a Delta airport baggage service office.

A packing list for an enjoyable start even with some complications

With this packing list you’re able to take a shower and put on clean clothes, even with the lost baggage. My next step after a shower is mostly buying sunblock and then going to the beach. Waiting at the hotel/hostel/apartment till the baggage is there, makes you depressive!

And negative thoughts are not made for vacation! So go out and enjoy your life, the airline will call and email you as soon as they deliver the suitcase to your place. Although it will take at least a day to locate and bring your lost baggage. You can spend this one day perfectly at the beach!

Lanikai beach on Oahu has blue calm water
Relax and enjoy your vacation – your lost baggage will arrive sooner or later!

Grow with Unbridled World now!

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Curious who writes here?

Curious who writes here?

Adventurer, digital nomad, and freedom seeker - that's me, Nate the Nomad!
In October 2016, I packed my bags in Berlin and been roaming the world with my husband ever since.
We are slow travelers, who enjoy the freedom of the location-independent life. We love to go on little adventures and learn about new cultures everywhere we go.

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