Could you survive on holiday if you lost your luggage?

It’s a small world – till they lose your luggage. Then it can seem a very large and lonely place indeed.



Travelling can be demanding even if everything goes to plan. But when something goes wrong, the stress-ometer can switch into overdrive and leave you anxious, exhausted – and wishing you were safely back home again.

Losing your luggage ranks up there with the most frustrating and inconvenient problems a traveller can encounter.

If you have luggage strife, travel insurance can help – and it does. Insurers ERV and Columbus tell us that almost one in four travel insurance claims are for lost or damaged luggage.

So that prompted us to ask, just how easy is it to cope if you’re travelling without belongings?

To find out, we asked five experienced and adventurous travel writers to set off on an EPIC overseas adventure – without any luggage.

Our intrepid luggage-less explorers…


Paul travelled to Montenegro’s stunning Durmitor National Park – which is a challenge for even the most well-equipped walker. So how did Paul cope with just the clothes he was hiking in? #MSMLostLuggage


Kash and his partner Sofia headed to Eternal City, determined that the little matter of not having any luggage would not stop them seeing the sights – but did they succeed? #MSMLostLuggage


It might be summer in Iceland, but it’s not called Iceland for nothing. So how did Becki manage in Reykjavik without a full complement of clothing? #MSMLostLuggage


The Venice Biennale art festival is a highlight of the cultural calendar – so did Neil maximise the experience with the absolute minimum of luggage? #MSMLostLuggage


Imagine attending Malta Fashion Week with only the clothes on your back, thanks to a luggage catastrophe. That was the challenge facing Tereza – so how did she survive those seven days? #MSMLostLuggage

Losing your luggage ranks up there with the most frustrating and inconvenient problems a traveller can encounter”

Lost or delayed luggage? Your rights

My luggage has been lost or left behind at the airport…

If you arrive at your destination airport but your luggage doesn’t, fill in your airline’s Property Irregularity Report (PIR).

Most bags are traced and returned within a few days. It won’t be classed as “lost” until it’s been missing for 21 days (it’s “delayed” until then)

If your bag is declared lost, you can make a claim for compensation for checked-in luggage from the airline.

What about compensation?

Some airlines will pay for essentials such as toiletries and a change of clothes – but check before you spend. And keep receipts.

If your bag is declared lost, the airline will be liable to pay out for the luggage under the Montreal Convention, which typically means you get up to approximately £1,000.

The airline could ask for a list of what was in the bag, as well as receipts, and you might see a deduction for wear and tear.

Your travel insurance policy might enable you to claim for more than the amount the airline offers. If so, you could claim for the difference, minus any excess payable under the policy.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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