A few weeks ago MoneySuperMarket.com challenged me to last a trip away without luggage on their #MSMLostLuggage Challenge
I have to admit the thought of my luggage going astray fills me with quite a bit of fear. Although it’s never actually happened to me yet personally, it’s not uncommon – apparently over 15% of travel insurance claims are related to lost luggage. I also know plenty of people that is has happened to though – my best friend planned a romantic trip to Paris with her brand new boyfriend only for their luggage to not to catch up with her on arrival (ouch) and a relation was visiting family in Germany when they lost two weeks worth of his luggage en-route. The family lent him clothes to wear during the stay but most were a couple of sizes too small (double ouch). My personal lost luggage paranoia is so strong I usually cram all my travel essentials into the largest carry on case I can possibly find – contacts lenses, makeup, dry hair shampoo even a spare pair of underwear.
So when Money Supermarket offered me a trip anywhere of my choice but without luggage, I honestly had to think twice. After weighing it up for a couple days I thought I could probably manage a weekend, just about! I was long overdue a visit with friends who live in one of my favourite cities – Dublin – so I thought it would be the best option, at least this way I knew I could borrow things!
I arrived at Luton airport on a bank holiday weekend and battling the crowds (and a Ryan air flight packed with stag do goers) was a hell of lot easier without luggage – there were some advantages to the challenge! When I finally got to Dublin I headed straight to the department stores of Grafton Street. Travelling without clothes also gave me a great excuse to go shopping (but without too much guilt afterwards).
I still was determined to make the most of the trip, so I had a prearranged Skyline Tour at Dublin’s Croke Park which was recommended to me my Dublin based friends. Both vertigo-inducing and awe-inspiring in equal measures, I only had a small momentary wave of lost luggage panic as I was walked around by my genial guide.
Exploring Dublin was a also a lot easier without a heavy backpack or wheeled suitcase in tow and by the end of my first day of the challenge I’d managed to squeeze a visit to the fabulous vegetarian raw food restaurant Cornucopia, checked out the colourful street art and even whiled away a couple of carefree (and luggage free) hours watching live music in Temple Bar.
Heading to my friend’s house in the evening was a slight relief though – at last I access to things! The next day we both headed to the Guinness Storehouse – the most popular tourist attraction in the capital – to learn about beer production, watch more live music and of course sample of a perfect pint of the Black Stuff.
Apart from having a seemingly endless bad hair weekend I still managed to enjoy the craic – Dublin is a place with such spirit that it can’t help but rub off on you, even if you don’t have all your essentials to hand. I think it’s helped my lost luggage paranoia though, it’s definitely not an ideal situation but at least I know I can survive!
Travelling without your luggage – my tips!
- Firstly and the most obvious one is to try and squeeze as much as possible into your carry on case or luggage. Valuables are essential but also try and squeeze in most of your favourite toiletries and even a change of clothes if you can.
- If the worst has happened and you’re staying in a hotel make use of all the freebies they have on offer (like toiletries, use of a hairdryer etc.) and then head to the local shops to get all the essentials you need so it won’t spoil your trip!
- Travel with a less flashy/luxury bag and the chances of it being “accidentally” picked up by someone is not as high.
- Check your luggage labels after you’ve checked in your suitcase to find out whether your luggage label ID matches your flight number and destination – human errors do happen sometimes. Also even consider a luggage tracker which integrates with the worldwide airline baggage system to identify your bag even if you lose your luggage tags.
- Make sure your luggage is labelled and always have your name and contact details inside the bag too.
- Last but not least, always take out good travel insurance which will help you out if your luggage does go missing in transit.
Big thanks to MoneySuperMarket for inviting me to take part in the challenge.