Travel Q&A

Know when to give up on finding lost luggage

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These are questions posed to Washington Post travel experts:

Q: My daughter's connecting flight from Newark to National was canceled. The airline arranged for her and her friend to take Amtrak home without their luggage. Her friend's suitcase made it to National, but not my daughter's, although United says it was delivered. She filed a missing suitcase report, and they told her that all she can do now is file for reimbursement. Is there anything else?

A: You could send a brief, polite email to a United Airlines executive, asking them not to give up on your baggage. But normally, when luggage is declared lost, it's gone. You might find your property at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in a few weeks.

Q: We're going on a cruise and will be using new, lightweight hard-shell luggage, but the damage from misuse by airlines can make new pieces look old on the first trip. Are there any TSA-friendly slip-on covers to protect this type of luggage?

A: I like covers such as the Luggage Sock, but an agent would have to remove the sock to access the insides, which could lengthen your screening time. My advice? Carry your old, inconspicuous luggage and use duct tape to mark it. No one will want to steal anything from it, and as long as the bag is intact, it should work fine. The TSA will probably do its thing, and I doubt that a cover will protect luggage in a meaningful way.

Q: My family wants to plan an all-inclusive vacation to Puerto Rico. I've done a few Google searches, but I'm not finding what I need. Can you help?

A: Unlike Jamaica or the Dominican Republic or Riviera Maya, where all-inclusives are the norm, Puerto Rico is not known for this form of lodging. Some hotels, such as Copamarina, offer meal/beverage plans, but I don't believe there are any traditional all-inclusives.

Q: If we have a free week with no particular destination in mind, what's the best website for looking for good deals to, well, anywhere?

A: Airfarewatchdog and Kayak's Explore feature.

Q: What's the best time to visit Charleston. S.C.? I hope to get the right combination of nice weather, good time to sightsee, but also hit it at a time when it's not super crowded.

A: It was early October last time I was in Charleston, S.C., and the weather was pretty perfect. None of the humidity of summer but still warm enough for shorts and a dip. Crowds were down, although there are always tourists. But with kids in school, there are fewer.


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