A travel and photography blog by Loke Chee Meng
About the title shot :
In the autumn of 2009, I found Little Bugsie, of all places, on a toilet sink in the Days Landscape Hotel located at the foot of Changbaishan, Jilin, China. I invited Bugsie into the room. I gave it the 'red carpet' welcome and took the shot above with a Panasonic DMC-LX3.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Travel tip #8 - How not to lose your luggage?

My colleagues and I had checked into the Seoul Plaza Hotel, Seoul at about 9 pm after a long flight from Singapore.  Only then did one of them who goes by the moniker of 'Eagle Eye' realised that he had carried the wrong luggage all the way from the airport to the hotel.   Apparently, he had exchanged luggage with someone else as his luggage could not be found in the airport.  Two wrongs don't make one right!  We were scheduled to have a business meeting the next morning and the attire was business suit.  So Eagle Eye had to go out to do some late night shopping.  He ended up buying an ill-fitting beige coloured suit which was probably the best he could find at that time of the night.   That made Eagle Eye looked like a lizard in the meeting the next day in a room where everyone else was wearing dark coloured business suit.

I was told of this case that happened recently.  Mr X was flying into Singapore and his luggage was overweight.  At the departure check-in, he did what most people would do.  He pooled his luggage together with a fellow passenger except that this fellow passenger was a total stranger.   To make things worst, his luggage check-in counterfoil was with the fellow passenger.  On arrival at Singapore, this fellow passenger had problems with his visa and was eventually turned back.  Poor Mr X was practically left with only the shirt on his back! 

So, how not to lose your luggage?

The obvious thing to do is to made your luggage look unique and distinctive.  Most people do this by tying a red ribbon round the handle of the luggage as red is an auspicious colour in many cultures.  No one wants a white or black ribbon!   I do not want to discourage anyone from doing that but if you think that that is good enough, you are dead wrong.   Great men think alike and fools don't differ.

A more distinctive way is to tie a luggage belt round your luggage.  I find it strange why so many people are not doing it.  Luggage belts come in all kinds of colours and patterns. It is certainly more distinctive than a ribbon.  Besides identification purpose, a luggage belt makes it easier to haul your luggage and helps to bind your luggage together in case it opens up during handling.  

These days, shrink-wrap services are available at some airports for travellers to shrink-wrap their luggage in cellophane sheet.  Great idea, great service.  Not really!  Firstly, it is very difficult to handle a shrink-wrapped item (especially after it gets wet).  Secondly, good luck to you if airport security requires you to open up your luggage.

At some point in time in the past I used to paste stickers on my luggage.  But let me caution you if you want to do that.  Please ensure that your stickers are completely and absolutely innocuous.  Nothing should be culturally, religiously, socially and politically biased!  Not even your favourite football club.  The best sticker to put is the 'Fragile' sticker you get from the airport check-in counter.

Now, one more very important thing to do and yet people are not doing it;  take photographs of your luggage at the airport check-in counter.  The advantages are obvious.

And finally, NEVER pool your luggage with strangers and DON'T help to carry the luggage for any strangers.  Ignore the damsel in distress.  

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