Helping travelers travel safe, travel smart and love to travel!

Traveler Stories of Lost & Found

Lost and Found - Juicyrai on Flickr

Losing an item while traveling is an all too-common occurrence. Just ask at any hotel front desk how many items are in their lost and found box and they’ll just laugh! Though for as many sad stories there are about lost items, there are just as many stories about items that are found and returned to their rightful owner.

Here are happy stories by travelers of lost items which were found; and sad stories of items never to be seen again.

Andrea said,

I lived in New Zealand for 8 years and my sister came to visit me. As one does, we travelled around the North Island. One night on our way back to Auckland, we stayed in a hotel that wasn’t too “flash” as we say in NZ. Regardless, it was just a night and we were tired and wanted to get back to Auckland. The next day, we realised that my sister left her jacket in the room’s closet. I called the hotel and they said that other guests were checked in and that they couldn’t possibly disturb them!

So, I decided to call the hotel back and ask for the room number. Thankfully, they didn’t ask for the name of the guest! I then spoke to this lovely woman, who took the jacket, brought it home with her and then mailed it to me back in Auckland … and didn’t want any funds for the cost of doing so.

Gotta love kiwi people!

Suzanne Garber

My husband and I inadvertently left an entire drawer of his clothes in the first hotel we stayed at when we arrived in Australia before heading out to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef. We realized our mistake when we got to Cairns and he realized his swimming trunks were not in his bag; he thought I packed his clothes and I thought he packed them.

Luckily, we were staying in the same hotel chain (Starwood) throughout our journey, minus the 5 day boat trip to the outer most parts of the reef so when we checked in at the Sydney Westin, we had them call the original hotel to arrange for their overnight delivery to our final leg of hotels prior to our departure.

My husband had to make do with only half his clothes during our 2 week trip but we did get everything back before we left the country to return home. And they say women pack heavy!


Last year while travelling around Europe, I experienced an interesting situation where my jacket was left on a KLM flight. I had given my jacket to my girlfriend as the plane was somewhat chilly and she left it on board. During a stopover in the Amsterdam airport a week later we were able to locate it in the airport’s lost and found, however in order to get it we first had to once again pass through customs (when asked how long we were staying, the answer was 15 minutes), and then were forced to pay a 5 euro fee to retrieve the jacket from the lost and found. Overall, I was shocked that I managed to get it back.

Chris Pollard

Five years ago I planned a trip to Tokyo. Part of the reason for specifically heading there was because I wanted to buy a watch. This funky watch was from a Japanese seller and I had never seen anything like in the UK. It was possible to order the watch online but there were so many variable reports of heavy customs import duties that made it my mission to go pick it up in person!

Sure enough when I arrived in Japan, the first thing on my itinerary was to go pick up the watch. It was perfect for me and instantly a talking point with everybody I met. However – my love affair only lasted a mere 6 months..

I continued on from Japan through Australia and eventually found myself in New Zealand. It was here in the tranquil town of Franz Josef in Winter time that I took a warm shower in a shared bathroom at a pleasant guest house. I took off my watch, placed in on the side and never picked it up! Only 30 minutes later I realised my error but it was too late. On return to the scene the watch was gone. I was devastated. There weren’t so many people staying in the guest house at the time so I notified management and even took it upon myself to go door to door in search. But whoever had caught glimpse and pocketed it obviously liked it as much as I did because it never was returned to me. I would soon find out that the watch was a limited edition and was no longer even being manufactured anymore! Double whammy.

I guess I was just unlucky. This was one of the few items of value I have ever lost in my life and I’m not sure I could change much to prevent it from happening other than scouring shared bathrooms every time I exit. I usually do! I guess it’s a fact of life that the burden of having nice things is you need to be extra careful looking after them. And if you know you’re not that kind of person – get insurance! Anyhow – the past is the past. I’m over it.

Christine Surlien

There are a few taxi drivers in Beijing that have some really nice mobile phones, but normally I don’t lose things. Except when I lost my handbag at the Yashow market in Beijing. One thing was losing my very nice handbag (I still miss it) with all its contents (my credit cards, my boss’ mobile phone, my own phone and all the other useful stuff one has collected over the years). The other was that I found out on the bus to the train station, our train to Xi’an ready to depart in a few hours. By the grace of the Universe I hadn’t put my passport in the bag and I also had most of the cash in my pocket. Still, I decided to get off the bus along the 2nd ringroad, miracelously got a taxi in the rush traffic and headed back to Yashow. I traced my route, but none of the sellers said they had seen my green handbag. I talked to the people behind the information desk, who announced the loss over the loudspeakers, and even had one of the guards walk with me, with no luck. So I found the local police office, filed a report, got a receipt I could show the insurance company as soon as I could get it translated and then took a taxi back to the train station. No dinner for me that night, but at least I was glad I had tried everything I could to find it. Since I happened to be the tour leader for a group of Norwegian tourists I could also set a good example on the importance of always looking after ones belongings…

Why did I lose it? Yashow market is one of the biggest indoor markets where you can by absolutely everything. So I had about seven heavy plastic bags I had to put down every time I wanted to look at something, and mixed in with them was my bag. It had been a long day, the place is boiling hot, all the bargaining makes your head spin and I was just not paying attention. Since I had my money in my pocket, I didn’t notice until it was too late. Someone probably stole it when they saw it laying on a pile of clothes, I don’t know. Now I always make sure I know where my handbag is, try to carry as few shopping bags as possible (hard when shopping at Yashow) and keep passport, money and phone in separate places. Just in case.

Haralee Weintraub

Once traveling cross country with my husband I put my purse with all our tickets, ID, etc. into one carry on. While on the leg home we changed planes in Chicago. I left my purse on the plane and did not realize it since I had the carry on until we went to check our next flight. I ran back to the plane that was being cleaned and no purse! Delta was great about letting us board with out tickets or no ID for me and we made it home, although house key, and car keys were in my lost purse. Once home I cancelled all my credit cards and called all Delta official lost and found people. The next day I got a call from a flight attendant who found my purse wedged under a seat and he sent it all back to me. What I learned is to limit the number of credit cards, have spare keys with neighbors and of course keep tabs on your belongings!

Jenna Rose Robbins

While scuba diving in Saint Lucia, one of our group spotted something sparkling on the sea bottom and, lo and behold, it was a wedding ring! The names of the couple were inscribed on the inside, as well as the date of their wedding, which happened to be only two days earlier. Our dive master informed us that couples need to register to get married in Saint Lucia, so we reported the ring to the local authorities who were easily able to track down the couple based on their names and wedding date. We weren’t there to see the looks on their faces, but I bet the couple were both elated and surprised when their beloved memento was recovered from the ocean.

Riki Schmigel

A few years ago I was traveling across country to catch a cruise in San Diego. I am an avid traveler and usually very aware of my belongings. I had just bought my husband the brand new ipod and he was pumped. He allowed me to borrow the Ipod for the week. It was a treat. Well I had a connecting flight and left the beautiful piece of equipment in my seat. I realized about 5 minutes after getting off the plane that I had left it behind. I ran like lightening to the gate and the attendant refused to let me on the plane. He went back to “check” and said nothing was found. I started to cry, 1 because I still owed a few hundred dollars to best buy and 2 because it wasn’t even mine. The airline was adamant about letting me go back and somebody enjoyed the coolest new gadget. I felt awful and had to call the hubby to break the news. Now I am crazy about checking and rechecking when I leave a plane.

Ford Kanzler

Was staying at the Hyatt in Monterey, CA last weekend for a seminar and realized on the way home Sunday I’d left my phone and charger plugged into the room outlet. A call to the hotel and they mailed them to me by Tuesday. Crisis averted. Leaves me with a good feeling about that hotel.

Phillip D. Chatham

After many years of international travels I have lost baggage on only a few occasions oddly enough. With both circumstances I immediately filed claims with the lost baggage office and continued to follow up with their office each day until feedback was available. Typically I had my luggage returned to my residence within a week. I would always recommend confirming the location of your luggage with gate personnel or other staff. Especially if a lay over or late flight happens (which led to my loss in both cases). Mark your luggage with a very distinct marker. I even had a friend who would travel with pink hard case luggage…

Denine M. Anderson-Regan

My husband competed in the Ford Ironman in Cozumel in 2011. The day after he finished the race, I lost the memory card with all of the Ironman pictures on it while I was fiddling with my camera on the beach. The worst part was that I didn’t even know I dropped the card until we were at Chankanaab Park hours later. I searched for the card for two days – on my hands and knees – and by pure chance, my husband found it while kicking at the sand with his feet. Needless to say, I learned my lesson and only take the DLS cards out in a secure location!

Yes, several lessons learned by these travelers while others had their faith renewed. Many of the lessons I had to learn the hard way are in my complimentary ebook, 70 Secrets to Safe Travel. For example, ever think to put a few business cards in a coat pocket in case your coat gets forgotten on a plane or in a  restaurant? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I didn’t either until I had to run back to a plane for my coat. There are so many easy tips (70 of them, in fact) in this book so get a copy here at no cost.

And while lost & found stories are fresh on your mind, do share any tips or tales on your own “misplaced” items adventures in the comments below.

Image courtesy juicyrai on Flickr.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: