Travel Tips

How to Increase the Chances Your Lost Item in the Rental Car or on the Plane Is Found

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I had just slumped wearily into my seat, having dropped off the rental car at the airport and waited an interminable 30 minutes for the hotel shuttle bus on my way to rejoin my dad when he called. Since we were still in Spain with calls $1.79 a minute, I figured it must be important.

“I forgot my prescription sunglasses in the rental car!”

Tired from a long day of driving, I took the lazy way out. “I just left the rental car company and am headed back to the hotel, we can call them when I get there.”

Dad: Ok, I also left my cash in there!

This complicated matters alot, and fortunately jerked me to my senses. It was possible that after several days or weeks of follow up, Dad’s glasses would be mailed to us in the States. It was less likely that all the money would. So then I did what I knew I should have done in the first place.

I stayed on the hotel shuttle when it arrived (confusing the driver a bit) and rode back to the terminal. Dashing back down to the rental car place, which was much further than I remembered, I arrived panting and out of breath. If only I could get there before the cleaners had taken the car away, or at least while there was still time to contact them…

I was in luck, the car was still sitting where I had left it an hour ago and I gasped out my problem to the concerned attendant. He helped me look, and sure enough, the glasses and money were found. An extra hour out of my day saved days and weeks of follow up, not to mention the guilt and worrying until it was resolved.

Tip: If you leave something on the plane or in the rental car, go back in person and as soon as you can.

Obviously this might not work if it’s been more than a few hours, but going in person will lead to a higher likelihood for success.

At the Airport: If you’re still within security, go back to your gate. The cleaners might have left it when the agent to take to lost and found or might still be on the plane! If you’re already at baggage claim or even a few minutes away from the airport, go to the check in desk.

At the rental car place: Go back to the return area, if they can’t help you or there’s noone there, go straight to the check in desk.


Your physical presence makes you a priority. Assuming the best intentions of all the customer service reps, they have a dozen things to do. If you call in, or worse, call a central number that then calls them, you become a line on their to-do list which may or may not get done immediately. And the sooner they act, the less likely your stuff is going to be lost.

If you’re standing off the to the side, eyes fixed imploringly (or not) on them to save you from your plight, they’re more likely to call anyone and everyone that they can.

Your results may vary, but so far this has worked for me and my friends 4 out of 5 times.

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