Ahhh vacations! Like the rarest gems on earth, they come much too few and far between. But I took the plunge, I put myself first (for once) and decided to go spend a week in Florida with my family! They drove down from New England, and since Chicago isn’t on the way to Florida no matter what route you take from there, I was on my own in the airport. It isn’t often that I get to travel alone anymore; it was kind of a treat, my solo adventure. Luckily it was a smooth trip, even including both of my encounters with my nemesis; the baggage claim.
Call it paranoia if you will, maybe irrational fear, but I absolutely hate watching that baggage claim belt snake around the baggage area full of luggage that all looks the same. Every single time I’m terrified that 1). my bag won’t be on that belt; how many times have we all been faced with that horror? Trying desperately to track down your missing bag while in the meantime being forced to live out of your carry-on for what could be days until they finally locate your beloved luggage. Didn’t your mother always warn you about that? Mine did, “now don’t forget to pack some extra underwear in your carry-on just in case they lose your luggage”…that phase literally sends chills down my spine, lose your luggage…where will it go? What will happen to all of my favorite outfits and accessories and worldly possessions specifically combined for this very trip that took me days if not weeks to pull from my closet, shop for, and coordinate. Really?!
The worst experience I ever had was after flying down for spring break years ago (ok, not that many years ago!). I was traveling in from the arctic cold, so naturally I was wearing my winter clothes, only to arrive in balmy Panama City Beach, Florida to find my luggage hadn’t made it. I wasn’t the seasoned traveler I am now (nor nearly as paranoid!), so I was completely unprepared for this, nothing in my carry-on was clothes related…not even an extra pair of underwear (sorry mom!). And of course it was late at night so there were no stores open, I was forced go out partying my very first night of spring break, in my winter travel clothes. Horror of horrors, right? Ok, looking back on it now that I have some perspective and have had more life experience, it’s not so bad, but at the time it felt like the worst moment of my life. Even though after a few beers it really didn’t seem to matter so much (oh, how I miss those times when I could drink beer! Or any alcohol without getting sick for that matter…but I digress) it was still a traumatizing travel moment which taught me to hate baggage claim.
Now back to my irrational fears, let’s not forget option 2). that someone is going to carelessly grab my bag without checking the tag, innocently thinking it’s theirs and take it home with them. While in the meantime I’m left, alone and luggage-less (not that this has happened to me yet, but I know deep down that inevitably, my day is coming). Not to mention option 3). where someone actually knows this is not their bag but they are taking it anyway. Most likely they scoped me on the plane, liked my style, they think we wear roughly the same clothing size and want my luggage instead. Now this one has also not yet happened to me, but yes, I have put a lot of thought into this one while stuck on the plane…perhaps stepping into someone else’s potentially more glamorous life for a week would be fun! That’s right, I said it! And don’t act like it hasn’t ever crossed your mind too! Fortunately for all of you stuck in baggage claim with me, your bags are safe…well from me at least. My luggage is just too impeccably packed to specifically meet my needs and crazy tendencies (thank you “type A” personality); there’s no way I’m leaving it behind no matter what potential treasures you might have in yours!
Do you hate baggage claim as much as I do? Even after a smooth trip are you traumatized by memories of luggage handling gone wrong? I would love to hear your thoughts and horror stories!