• lost luggage in athens

Lost Luggage in Athens

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” -Maya Angelou

Well, shit.

I think it must tell you I’m a horrible person because I LOST my mind when they lost my backpack. Rewind three days to when I was pickpocketed in Barcelona, recovered with partying, and now here I am flying into Athens and half the passenger’s bags are not there. My best friends bag was there. I, who checked in right behind her, was without a bag. At 1 AM, apparently there was no one on staff that could speak English and man were the Greeks mad. It was a mini-riot at baggage claim and I was clueless as to what was being said. It was time to just stand back and watch the madness.

“We don’t know where it is” “We don’t know care when it’ll be here” “Here’s a stupid t-shirt” might as well have been what they said. I didn’t want the t-shirt and said no out of annoyance. I soon sauntered back to get it realizing I had no clothes. Because what did I take as carry on when you travel with only one backpack and your flight is only a few hours? Almost nothing.

backpacking, athens, greece, europe, lost luggageNuts, birth control, my journal, and a sleeping bag because even short rides I get in like a dork because I sleep better all balled up.

Our budget was small and we just couldn’t afford to take transportation to and from the airport each day to check. I had no cell to give the airline and no address because we never knew were we were staying. I had the number of the desk, so I decided just to call when I knew my address and then call each day to check up on it. The rest of the night we curled in our sleeping bags on a nice stretch of grass- we couldn’t see paying for a hotel for only a couple hours. (looking back on this is cracking me up, I would never do that now!) We were shooed away when the sun rose, as it was someone’s front yard we realized a bit too late. (If you have no cell and address, you can take the number of the airline they’ll give you with a reference number and call them once you gain residency, no problem.)

backpacking, athens, greece, europe, lost luggageCan’t let lost luggage spoil seeing all of this

Luckily, I had a friend’s backpack to help me get through the tough times but for some reason I wore my plane clothes around that first day. It’s a shame because I had packed the perfect outfit for my tourist photo on the Acropolis, ha ha. I was apparently too angry to shower as well; I make weird decisions when I’m mad.

The hotel let us pay at check out so money wasn’t a problem, and once I had an address the airport sent my bag within 3 days so it wasn’t in the end that tragic. *Since then, I have had luggage lost, like here in Goa- it always only takes 1 day for them to get the luggage out to me, so 3 days was a little slow. Others, have never gotten their bags there whole trip and it gets sent home. All you information is on the baggage tag so they can mail it to your permanent address. If you don’t want it mailed there you should let them know which address they should send it to. Sometime, luggage is never to be seen again :(

All you information is on the baggage tag so they can mail it to your permanent address. If you don’t want it mailed there you should let them know which address they should send it to. Sometime, luggage is never to be seen again :(

backpacking, athens, greece, europe, lost luggage


backpacking, athens, greece, europe, lost luggage instead of looking like a grecian goddess, megan stayed in her plane clothes so we could look like we’d just left the gym

backpacking, athens, greece, europe, lost luggage

Now, I always take more in my carry-on in case of lost luggage and I recommend the same to my friends. Glasses, contacts, toothbrush, camera, iPod, if I’m wearing tennies I bring flip-flops in my bag, a scarf, and anything else you deem important.

backpacking, athens, greece, europe, lost luggagefinally got my backpack, but megan is making a sad face because we really didn’t enjoy athens all that much – don’t go in summer.

Travel teaches you patience, if nothing else.

I see so many frustrated tourists, especially in India. Everyone has that “breakdown” moment when they’re on the road. To everyone else, it may seem over something too small, but it’s because they don’t know all that you’ve already dealt with, like the time I went berserk in Delhi. In this instance, lost luggage was just a topper to food sickness and pickpocketing.

I try very hard not to be impatient when things go off course. In that moment, I was pissed. And, I can’t really say anything great came out of my bag being lost… but so many other fuck-ups resulted in really cool things happening. This is what I keep in mind. Living in India has increased my patience ten fold. Now when my luggage gets lost I act super cool and say “no problem, I’d love a t-shirt, do you have a toothbrush too?”

So, Athens was a bit of a bust for us and we went to the islands pretty quickly. You can click over here to find some places to stay in Athens.


Have you had you bag lost abroad? Have you ever had a meltdown because it seemed like too many bad things were happening in a row? Vent in the comments! 



About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Michael Huxley November 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    This is my biggest nightmare when flying and I am currently touching every bit of wood I can see to try and convince whatever gods or fates that are out there not to mess with my pack!

    I don’t think anyone can blame you for losing it a bit!

    Normally I’m a huge supporter of remaining calm, but I think if I’d have been in that situation I’d have been joining those Greeks in one all mighty strop fest and a new wave of riots may have just started! Like you say, we’re all allowed one meltdown on the road! ;D

    It is good that you have taken something positive from the experience though and now carry extra in your carry on, I do the same, treating my carry on as a little emergency pack as well as a repository for my essentials.

    Great article!

    • Hippie-inHeels November 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      So smart of you! and you didn’t even have to get your luggage lost first to know better haha, i’m lightyears behind. I can pretty much only learn from making mistakes. not from just thinking ahead! thanks for taking time to read the article! cheers

  2. Wannee December 23, 2013 at 5:17 am - Reply

    Lost luggage? Luckily it has never happened to me before. I only lost my wallet when I travel alone in Florence. Anyway, it was my last day of the trip and I booked the train ticket back to the city I lived in. So, everything was fine for me.

    After reading this, I think I need a plan B especially when I travel alone. Thanks for the post!

    • Rachel December 23, 2013 at 6:37 am - Reply

      yes a plan B is important! i always keep important things in my carry-on now, and copies of my passports atm card, etc in my checked bag in case my purse gets stolen

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