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Recently, a friend called me in a panic because one of her good friends had just arrived to Bora Bora but her checked baggage hadn’t made it. Foolishly, she had packed her medications in the bag along with other important things. She asked if there was anything I could do. The short answer was no but here’s my long answer; it might help others who are also traveling to remote places.
When traveling to remote places like Bora Bora, it’s important to be diligent about packing as it’s not like going to New York City or Paris where, if you forget something or if your baggage doesn’t make it, you can at least find replacements. It will cost you but you won’t be stuck. Here are my tips:
1. Make a check list and start packing days in advance
This is self-explanatory but if you need ideas on what to pack when taking a road trip with kids, here’s my wife’s check list.
2. Never ever check anything valuable – especially medications
This bears repeating since it’s so important. Never EVER check anything of value – especially medications. Always pack them in your carry-on, as well as cash, tech devices and jewelry. Really, you should just leave the jewelry and expensive stuff home as they only makes you a target. Here’s more on that disturbing trend.
3. Pack spare clothes in carry on
Not only should you pack your valuables and medications in your carry-on, but you should also pack at least a day’s worth of clothes, including a bathing suit if you’re going to the tropics. My friend’s friend said she ended up spending $150 on a bathing suit in the hotel’s boutique in Bora Bora because – that’s Bora Bora. It’s not like Honolulu, where there’s a Target or Costco to get an inexpensive swim suit. And if you’re going to a wedding or an important meeting, you might want to carry on what you’ll need for those as well.
4. Split your contents between two suitcases
If you are traveling with at least one other person, split the contents of your suitcases. My wife and I rarely check two bags but when we do, we put half of all of our stuff in one bag and the other half in the other. That way, if the airline loses one bag weren’t not scrambling for the first couple of days.
5. Use your camera phone
Not only should you photograph what your bags look like but you should also take pictures of medication labels. About eight years ago, my then 86-year-old dad met me in Barcelona to go on a cruise. Of course, he forgot to bring his medications, which almost gave us both a heart attack. Fortunately, I had photos of his medication labels (thanks to my sister for sending them) on my phone. I went to a pharmacy in a small village in France and the pharmacist was able to fill the prescriptions because of the photos. On top of that, the medications were much cheaper than what they cost in the U.S. RELATED: 5 Tips For Traveling with Medications
6. Check baggage location
These days, most airlines do a great job of not losing baggage thanks to technology. Most have a free app, which you can download and use to check the status and whereabouts of your luggage (see screenshot below). It also shows the time you checked in, the time your bag was loaded and unloaded onto the plane and the time it arrived on the baggage carrousel. Use it or get an Apple AirTag, which you can throw in your bag to find its precise location. Another trick is to tag the baggage receipt the agent gives you and ask the gate agent (if they’re not too busy) to quickly scan the QR code and confirm your bag made it on the plane.
So, those are six ways to avoid scrambling when traveling to remote places and here are 8 ways to make sure an airline doesn’t lose your bag … and that you don’t get robbed or stalked.
Let me offer tip #7 – put an Apple AirTag or Tile in each of your bags. If they are lost by the airline this will allow you to locate them and direct the airline to their location. The quicker your bags are found the quicker you can be reunited with them and get on with your vacation.