We hopped off the train at the last station and dropped our bags at our feet, glancing around to check that we had everything. Yes, everything was in order … Except that I seemed to have misplaced my iPod case, a small zip-up pouch I’d bought in Turkey. Thinking back, I remembered pulling it out of my pocket to listen to my iPod, and leaving it in my lap. It must have fallen onto the floor of the train compartment when we got up to leave.
By this point we were the only ones left on the platform, except the conductor, who was just getting ready to blow his whistle to signal that the train, now empty, could take off again. Without thinking, I jumped back onto the train to retrieve the pouch, the conductor shouting at me loudly in German as I did so.
The train was starting to move, so after a quick glance around what turned out to not be our compartment, I jumped off the train again… without my beloved pouch. I was a bit sad, I quite liked it after all, but it had only cost a dollar and I had another, quite similar one, somewhere in the bottom of my bag. At least it hadn’t been something valuable or irreplaceable.
However, people do leave things on trains all the time. You hop off, do a quick check to see if you’ve got everything, and realise that you’ve left one of your bags on board. This doesn’t tend to happen if you follow the one-bag rule, but it’s true that you spread out while on a train, especially if you have the compartment to yourself. Maybe your small bag got left on a seat while you were grappling the larger one down from the overhead rack, or got kicked under the seat while you were taking a nap.
At least if it’s the last station on the line you have a bit of time to get back your things, but if you’re getting off at a mid-point station, it can be almost impossible to work out where your bag is, let alone get it back.
If this happens to you, the first thing to do is talk to station staff and see if there’s a process for getting your bag back. You’ll probably have to fill in forms and jump through a few hoops, but you might be lucky and be reunited with your bag. If not, it’s time to call the insurance company and make a claim. If you don’t have travel insurance yet, consider travel insurance from comparethemarket.com
However, prevention is always better than cure. Travel with just one bag, with a smaller, compressible one inside for daytrips. You can use this one while on the train for snacks and entertainment, but don’t put anything valuable in it — like tickets for your London flights — and pack it away ten minutes before you’re due to get off the train. When it’s time to leave, do a final check of the compartment: the seats, under the seats, and the overhead rack — even if you’re sure you’ve got everything. And if you do leave something behind, don’t jump back on the train as it’s leaving … it’ll cause more problems than it’s worth!