With billions of trips travelled per year, reports of lost luggage are not unusual. If this has happened to you in the past, you would understand the anxiety that comes with it. You are lucky if you manage to find it at all and find it in one piece, but if not, you stand to lose some valuable items. Of course stuff is just ‘stuff’ but it’s still frustrating!
Here are some tips to help you keep your luggage safe, especially when traveling long distances:
Understanding How Baggage Systems Work
Although airlines might say that they take responsibility for ensuring that your luggage arrives safely when you fly with them, this does not mean they will always bring it back to you when it goes missing. The baggage handling process involves several players: airport ground staff who load your bags onto the plane; baggage handlers who unload the bags on arrival; and finally, people working for the airline who take care of getting them into the system and on to the correct flight.
If your bag fails to show up on the carousel, there are several steps that you can take. The first step is always to report it missing as soon as possible. Airlines have 24-hour baggage tracing teams that will begin looking for your luggage once it has been reported lost. They will also do what they can to find out where it is. A pro tip is to take pictures of your luggage, as this makes the search easier.
Insure Your Luggage
It is a good idea to insure your luggage while traveling, which will help you get compensation if your luggage ever gets lost. Make sure that the policy covers items inside your luggage as well as the bag itself. Some may even offer additional benefits such as delayed baggage or trip cancellation coverage. Ensure you use the various tools to compare travel insurance rates to get the best deals. You can look for policies online or purchase them when buying your airline tickets.
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Label Your Luggage
Attach a name tag to your luggage and make sure the contact information is up-to-date, which will help identify your bag if it gets lost and also makes it easier for airport staff to return it to you quicker if necessary. Labeling your luggage also helps deter theft. No one is willing to put their neck on a line for a bag of clothes!
A clearly labeled suitcase or backpack makes it easier to prove that you are the owner and take it back from a thief. If you plan to use a lock, make sure it has a security mark, as this will help identify your luggage if it is stolen.
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Pack Your Luggage Properly
Pack your luggage so that important items are easy to find and access, which will help you if you have to open your bag in a hurry while at the airport. It is also a good idea to pack an extra carry-on bag with items you might need while on the plane or in transit. Properly packing your luggage will save you the time to rummage through your luggage when you are busy at the airport.
Protect Your Luggage
It is always a good idea to use luggage with locks that come with it before checking in. Locks on luggage are an excellent idea when packing for long trips. Make sure that they are TSA-compliant locks. These locks are approved for use in the US and can be opened by airport staff easily when necessary. There are many locking mechanisms to choose from, but the best ones require a key or combination.
Keep Your Documents Safe
Keep your important documents, such as your passport and tickets, in a safe place which will help to prevent you from losing them while traveling. You can either put them in your carry-on bag or keep them on your person. It is also a good idea to photocopy these documents and keep them in a different location. If you lose your documents, having copies will make it easier to get replacements. Have digital copies at all times!
Pack Your Electronics Safely
Packing your electronics in a carry-on bag to keep an eye on them at all times will help prevent them from getting lost and save you the hassle of having to check them in. Make sure your carry-on bag has a good strap so that you can wear it across the body. You might even want to consider buying a secure backpack or crossbody bag for this purpose. Electronic items are easy targets for thieves, but if they are locked away, they will help deter them.
So, now that you know how to protect your luggage make sure you put these tips into practice before your next trip. Losing your luggage can be a frustrating experience, but by taking some simple precautions, you can minimize the chances of it happening.
Nadine Westwood is an experienced travel writer with a passion for creating insightful and engaging content that’s easy to digest. Occasionally she spends her time playing with her cat while listening to her favorite podcasts.