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Why Frugal RVers Must See the Unclaimed Baggage Center

We RVers are a frugal bunch. After all, one of the reasons we love hauling our homes behind us is because we’re too cheap to pay for hotels. If you’re like most of us, you probably enjoy the thrill of hunting for a good bargain, which is why a detour to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama needs to be on your bucket list.

Did your lost luggage end up here?

Unclaimed Baggage Center
Rene Agredano

The Unclaimed Baggage Center (or UBC) is the final destination for lost airline, bus, train luggage and shipping cargo contents. It was founded in 1970 and every day since over 7,000 new items are rolled out for thrifty, bargain-hunting shoppers who drive to the tiny town of Scottsboro from all over the world – making it one of Alabama’s most popular tourist attractions.

Every year over a million cheapskates visit the UBC.

Unclaimed Baggage Center
Rene Agredano

Before items ever hit UBC store shelves, the transportation agencies from which they came go through an extensive process to locate their owners. Usually the agencies are successful but a small fraction of lost passenger bags still don’t find their owner within three months of becoming separated. That tiny percentage of bags will get sold to the UBC where they’re put through a sorting process to re-purpose them in the best way possible.

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Some items – like liquor – will get tossed, but everything from underwear to ukeleles are fair game for UBC’s recycling and reselling processes. Every item that’s of good enough quality to get resold will be put through a cleaning and inspection process before a sales tag gets attached to it.

A Sampling of What You’ll Find at the UBC

Jesus and Larry the Cable Guy.

Unclaimed Baggage Center
Rene Agredano

Movie props like this “Labyrinth” troll.

Unclaimed Baggage Center
Rene Agredano

Cheap iPads and other electronics.

Unclaimed Baggage Center
Rene Agredano

Sporting goods.

Unclaimed Baggage Center
Rene Agredano

Plan your UBC visit to allow for at least a few hours of scouring through the merchandise. The UBC is about the size of a giant big box store. You’ll need extra time to root through the really cheap bargains in the two annex buildings.

Before you get your expectations too high, prepare yourself for a little bit of sticker shock. The UBC staff knows what things cost and they price it accordingly. In other words, you’re not going to get big name labels at giveaway prices. After all, the UBC is in business to make a profit and it’s clear when driving through Scottsboro that the UBC is the economic engine for the entire town. Go there knowing that you’ll have fun hunting down offbeat and useful items, but don’t expect prices to be dramatically lower than your neighborhood thrift store.

Tips for RVing to the Unclaimed Baggage Center

  • Weekdays are the best time to visit the UBC. Crowds descend on it during the weekends and you won’t have as much fun shopping.
  • Traveling with a dog? Take your pup to Cutie Patootie’s Day Care and Boarding, a safe, clean kennel that’s just 5 minutes away. Their caring staff will watch your dog for a few hours at a very reasonable price. Just make sure you have current vaccination records.
  • Set up camp nearby. You’ll find two RV parks close to the Unclaimed Baggage Center:
    Goose Pond Colony Resort Campground: Located in Scottsboro along the Tennessee River, this is a family campground resort with 127 campsites (89 with full hookups).
    Crawford RV Park: Also located in Scottsboro, this park is mostly permanent residents with a few pull-through sites for overnight guests.

More RVing Fun in Alabama

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