The day you've been waiting for is here: we've braved the park rangers and potholes to try out McFaddin Beach, the 'unofficial' nude beach of the Texas Gulf Coast, and we're here to report back on the intricacies of skinnydipping on the Bolivar Peninsula.
It happens to everyone eventually: you arrive at your destination but your luggage doesn't. Maybe you're stuck in San Diego without your swimsuit, or Steamboat Springs without your skis.
It's a real bummer when your luggage is lost, but we have some good news - the majority of the bags that go missing aren't really missing at all. Thanks to a sophisticated system of tags and scanners, the airline usually knows exactly where your bag is, even if its not where it's supposed to be. The majority of all 'lost' luggage is reunited with its owner within 24 hours.
Still, to avoid inconvenience, here are some tips we got directly from a baggage handler at a major US airline:
1. Show up early. Passengers who rush in at the last minute may be too late to check bags, and will certainly be first in line to have their luggage - or themselves - removed if there's an issue with space or weight.
2. Remain on your original itinerary if at all possible. When you take an earlier or later segment, your bags have to be located and re-tagged, and that doesn't always happen as planned.
3. Don't schedule tight connections. If you have to rush to make your next flight, so does the person who transfers your luggage, and they may make a mistake or be unable to load it in time.
4. Remove all straps, ribbons, flagging tape, yarn, tags, or anything else hanging off your bag. These things can get caught in the equipment, increasing the likelihood that your bag will be damaged or delayed. If you're worried about being able to recognize your bag, use correction pen, permanent marker, tape, or stickers to mark the bag itself. Your bag should also have your full name, address, and phone number somewhere on the inside in case it loses its tag.
5. Keep your carry-on bag well within the size and weight limits. Gate-checked bags (those too big to fit in the overhead bin) get a handwritten tag; if one digit is transposed or misread, your carry-on could be on its way to Honolulu while you're en route to Hartford.
6. A bag that's easy to handle is less likely to get dropped. Make sure your suitcase is under 50 lb, has handles on at least 2 sides, and doesn't have any sharp edges or protrusions. If you have trouble getting your bag into and out of the car, the baggage handlers will probably have trouble loading and unloading it.
These tips can't completely eliminate the possibility of your luggage being mishandled, but they'll certainly reduce the risk. Better safe than sorry!
We camp a lot, and we consider ourselves pretty serious nature enthusiasts. We like to go to bed early and listen to the coyotes yipping in the distance, or get up early and watch the deer walk through the campground. We love the sounds of the lake lapping against the shore and the nocturnal birds calling. We watch birds, read, play cards, and nap in our hammock.
But invariably when we set up in a nice, quiet campsite with a good view of the water and a nice, level spot to pitch our tent, a carload of people with boomboxes, beer, and dogs show up and set up camp nearby. They talk loudly, their dogs bark incessantly,and they play music for the entire campground. They usually stay up until 2am. The noise scares off every bird and animal within a three-mile radius, and it drives the serious campers, including us, absolutely crazy.