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Getting to Bonaire: Luggage Lessons Learned
Getting to Bonaire:
Archives - 1999-06-02 to 2001-12-31:
Luggage Lessons Learned
Greeting Bonaire talkers! I promised a trip report will show up sometime- I'm having too much fun on my summer time off! I did want to share the only frustrating experience I had in hopes that it will save someone else a headache. I learned a few lessons the hard way. On the return trip my luggage was stolen, stipped of my souvenirs, and credit card number stolen off a receipt. As a consequence a lucky Indonesian women in Jakarta is enjoying $180 dollars of lovely lingerie purchased with my credit card from an Australian internet company. Quite a tale of international intrique! It all started with ALM while leaving Bonaire. I noticed the girl at the counter had only marked my bags to go to LA ( I knew to watch for this.) I corrected her and she put the new tags on for the city whre I live. HOWEVER, I did not watch carefully enough and she also left the LA tags on. 2 of my 3 bags made it home. Luckily, they contained my dive gear. The day after I got home I received a call from the LAX Airport police who had found my bag curbside. Since I was about to leave on another vacation, I decided to just pick up the bag as I passed through LA rather than risk more bumbled baggage transfers. When I got my bag I discovered that about $180 of my beautiful Bonaire souvenirs had been stolen. Plus I realized I had probably left a credit card receipt containing my entire credit card number on it in the bag with the souvenirs. Sure enough, some one had made a purchase via the internet.
1. Destroy all receipts or keep them in your wallet. Every purchase made in Bonaire had a receipt with my entire credit card number on it. Most places in the US the block out all but the last 4 digits, and I forget to check for that.
2. Take tags off purchased items - especially clothing . The thief didn't touch anything else in my bag even though there was some fairly expensive outdoor clothing in the bag.
3. Don't keep souvenirs in original bags.
4. Check to make sure the correct routing tags go on your bag.
5. Next time I plan to use locks (even though I've had them cut off at times in the past) and use webbing to strap my bag. I saw a lot of damaged bags this trip.
Probably most people are aware of these precautions. I should have known better as well! I do have the name and address of the Indonesian women who received lingerie courtesy of my VISA and I do plan to write her a little note asking how she likes her new lingerie! American was very good - they immediately sent me a check for $180 for the stolen souvenirs and VISA will refund the $180 lingerie charge. Happy traveling.
| By Cynde Lee on Saturday, July 28, 2001 - 10:30 pm: |
Wow, Carol. Unbelievable...glad you were able to at least retrieve your $$ loss, though not the souvenirs (which can't be replaced at this point).
When I went to ST. Croix years ago, we were told to make sure we saw our luggage being loaded onto the plane...we saw the luggage on the tarmack as we were getting ready to take off, and had to tell them our luggage was sitll on the ground.
I have a question, maybe some can share your experiences. When we travel on dive vacations, we usually pack all our stuff in our dive gear bags (locking them of course). Is it safe to travel Air jamaica this way, or are the dive bags too obvious, and is it better to use regular "luggage."
Thanks to anyone who can share their thoughts.
| By Anonymous on Sunday, July 29, 2001 - 10:16 am: |
i've been told that scuba gear is in the top five for rip-off...bag designers are even removing diving related logos and labels from the bags...i use a very "straight" looking clothes suitcase for my gear (handy carry my reg and instrumentation)...
We have done both on American-ALM and AJ. I usually hand carry 2 Regs and put my dive gear for 2 in a big rolling suitcase. My kids have dive bags which look like gym bags and have had no problems.
One time in Phila they took all of our bags and those of another passenger and weighed them first. Later when they made labels they almost gave one of each others bags to the other. They were staying in Jamaica so it could have been a problem. Both the other passenger and I watched them closely and were able to fix this before it became an issue. So it can pay to be vigilant.
| By Cynde Lee on Sunday, July 29, 2001 - 4:20 pm: |
Thanks for the feedback. We usually carry our regs with us, and the rest in the bags, but are usually only going to Mexico on Alaska Air, which has never been a problem. I just remember my experiences getting to St. Croix. I think we will leave the dive bags at home and pack everything in regular suitcases this time to be on the safe side.
In 94 my family along with my sister decided to make the trip to Bonaire. We were looking for something easy and and tough to use for luggage. We ended up buying the Action Packer from the car section in K-Mart. A strong plastic container with a lid that can be padlocked on both ends. We took 5 of them. 2 were used for dive gear and other water sports stuff, 1 was used for food which even had a cooler inside packed with frozen items, and the last 2 were used for clothes, shampoo ect.
These tubs have proven to be worth their weight in gold. They have been to Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac where they served as our rinse tanks since we rented homes. My daughter was very happy to stomp clean the wet suits and dive skins once it was filled with bubbles. On the Brac she opted to fill one to take her bath on the deck so she could look at the ocean. They have been to the Keys and even to West Palm in the back of the truck. For local diving they do keep the trunk area of the car dry. Depending on what size you buy they will carry 2 sets of gear quite well. At home they are great for storing gear like all the stuff you thought you needed and have been wondering what to do with since you found out you really didn't need it.
Remember to write your name on the lid with perm. marker.
Yes, I do own regular luggage, but it is very busy collecting dust in the closet. Sad, yet another item I thought I needed.
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