5 Steps to Take if You Lose Your Luggage During Your Trip


Packing luggage for business trips is half the battle. The other half is ensuring that it arrives with you at your destination.

Business travelers have many fears, and one that some have in the back of their minds is the possibility that the airline could lose their luggage.

The good news is that airlines lose between four to seven bags per thousand handled on average. Of course, no one wants to fall into that small percentage. Another study found that airlines recover and deliver 85% of lost luggage within two days.

Therefore, the odds remain in your favor.

It’s possible to lose luggage in other ways. For example, you can forget it in a taxi, Uber, or public transportation. In the worst-case scenario, you can lose it to theft.

If the worst happens and you cannot locate your things, remain calm. Then, retrace your steps. The goal is to keep a cool head on your shoulders, especially since you’re on a business trip.

The appropriate next steps depend on the length of the trip. Extended stay travelers have more wiggle room than those 3- to 5-day travelers.

Nonetheless, we outline the five steps to take if you lose your luggage during your trip.

1. Remain Calm

Remaining calm is the first step for recovering lost items during a business trip. You’ll need this mindset when you speak with airline representatives, customer service, or the police.

You’re a professional who represents a company or your brand. Therefore, you want to impress a pleasant demeanor. Plus, remaining calm will help you tell your story.

For example, you’ll have the patience to describe your luggage to the airline representatives, customer service, or the authorities.

More importantly, you’ll keep yourself together instead of panicking.

2. Retrace Your Steps

Retrace your steps as you figure out whom you need to contact. It’s easy to forget where you left your luggage when keeping travel documents organized and listening for boarding calls.

Although no one can leave their bags unattended at airports or other travel centers, pulling luggage through small aisles in food and gift shops is tough.

You might think you lost your items. However, maybe you left them at the other end of the gift shop aisle.

3. Make Some Calls

If you lost your items, figure out whom you need to call. At the airport, you can speak with the on-site representatives.

However, if you left your items in an Uber, taxi, or public transportation, find the appropriate customer service numbers and make phone calls.

Remain calm during your conversations and point out that you are traveling for business. Ideally, the status will encourage representatives to approach the situation with a sense of urgency.

4. Make a List of the Lost Items

Professionals who frequently travel for business must become efficient at packing their luggage. For example, essentials that each must pack include:

  • Two business attire outfits
  • Undergarments for each outfit
  • Shoes to match outfits
  • Grooming kit
  • Tech gear including laptop, smartphone, tablet
  • Accessories for tech

Making a list of the lost items serves two purposes. First, it allows you to explain what you need to recover to the authorities. Second, it becomes your shopping if you need to recover them quickly.

Of course, extended stay travelers will pack more heavily. Planners looking for extended stay options for staff can check out Hotel Engine.

5. Find the Nearest Department Store

Business travelers travel with itineraries. Their companies expect them to show up at meetings, training, and conference sessions as outlined by corporate travel planners and company executives.

Therefore, you must make do with the items you possess. For example, the clothes you wore on the airplane may suffice for the first day of your trip.

Then, when you have time to spare, find the nearest department store and head over to it with your list.

Ideally, you’ll find everything on your list at a clothing department store and drug store. Depending on your employment status and the company that you work for, an assistant could go on the shopping trip for you.

BONUS: Business travelers who pack a carry-on instead of check-in luggage are less likely to lose their things. Therefore, consider packing less or sending your things ahead of your trip to your destination.


Professionals who travel don’t have time to lose their luggage. If it happens to you, stay calm. Retrace your steps and start making phone calls to individuals who can help, including your company’s corporate travel manager. If time makes it challenging to wait for a resolution, make a list of your inventory and go shopping as a last resort.

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