Travelling can be stressful enough. The last thing you want to worry about is losing your luggage. It’s a terrible way to start any vacation! Here are 9 tips to help you ensure the next vacation goes smoothly.
1. Label It
Label your luggage with your name and contact information so the airline can trace it back to you easily. Use a luggage tag that won’t easily get damaged or ripped off by the baggage handling equipment. Select a good quality tag made of neoprene, plastic, silicone, and stainless steel. These materials won’t damage easily and are available in colors or patterns that make it easier to identify your bag. The paper ones the airline provides don’t cut it.
It was once standard practice to include your name, telephone number, and address on luggage tags. Nowadays, you might prefer to include only your email address and telephone number, or social media handles.
There are now luggage tags with QR codes available in the market. The airline can simply scan the QR Code and access your contact information. Better still the info contained in QR codes can also be updated to show the hotel address you are staying at.
Pro-Tip: Put all your contact info inside the luggage too. That way the airline can identify the owner of the luggage tag does get separated.
2. Less is More (likely to arrive with you)
It’s common sense. The more luggage you have, the more there is that can get lost. Pack light and try to get everything you need into one suitcase. If you are a couple, you can use a large-sized suitcase rather than two small size suitcases.
3. Carry On Only
Even better, is to not check any luggage at all, just bring a carry-on. It takes some practice to pack this lightly, but experienced travelers know that no checked luggage will get you through the airport much faster, as well as guaranteeing that you won’t lose a bag.
Pro-Tip: Check with your airline about their baggage policies and fees before you pack. Limits may vary from airline to airline. If your luggage is too large or heavy you will have to check it. Also, check the TSA website that outlines what you cannot bring in carry-on luggage. You don’t want to lose your favorite Swiss Army Knife.
4. Remove old tags and stickers
Modern luggage handling systems are highly computerized. Their machines scan the luggage tags and route them to the correct conveyor belt, airplane, and luggage carousel. If there are old tags or bar code stickers on your luggage, it may get routed incorrectly.
5. Track It
The airline may lose your luggage, but that doesn’t mean you have! Slip an Apple Air Tag inside your luggage and you’ll be able to find it anywhere. Air Tags use Bluetooth to communicate to any Apple device in range that is on the Find My network.
If you use Android, Air Tags won’t work for you, but you can use Tile or Galaxy SmartTag. They work in very much the same way, using all devices in their respective network to track them even when out of range of your phone.
6. Fly Direct
Connections are notorious as the cause of lost luggage. If you must make a connection, allow yourself and your bags adequate time to connect. Check-in early There are plenty of reasons why the airlines suggest passengers arrive several hours before departure, but baggage is certainly a big one. It takes some time for baggage handlers to transport all those bags from the check-in drop-off all the way to the airplane. Those running dangerously close to boarding time may clear the long lines at security, but the bag you checked last minute may not be so lucky.
7. Arrive Early
Avoid panic-inducing sprints through the terminal to the gate and lost luggage by arriving at the airport well ahead of your departure time. Check with your airline how early they suggest you should arrive. You generally need to arrive earlier for international flights than for domestic, and increased security and health screenings are taking longer than in the past.
8. Identify your luggage
There’s a good reason why luggage is misplaced and lost at the airport. It all
A trick used by generations of travelers is to tie a brightly colored ribbon around your bag handle can help make it easily identifiable on the carousel.
This doesn’t say much about you, other than you have brightly colored ribbons at home. You can make a real statement about yourself with personalized luggage. This luggage allows you to have luggage decorated with your name, favorite photos, pet, or pretty much anything else that catches your fancy.
Photo by Singular Luggage
9. Prepare for the worst
Even with all the precautions in the world, luggage goes missing. Being prepared for your luggage to be lost can help you to relax more on the trip and suffer less if it does happen. These 3 tips will prepare you for the worst
- Make a list of what's in your suitcase, including the brand and size of clothing. The airline will ask you to complete an itemized list of the contents of your bag, along with the monetary value of each item when making a claim.
- Better than making a list is to take photos. It will be faster and easier to prove to the airline that you actually had a bar of gold in your luggage.
- Take a photo of the outside of your bag as well. This will make it easy if your bag is lost and the airline requests a description of the bag.
- Keep your copy of the baggage tags safe. You will need them to claim if your luggage is lost. Most check-in counter staff stick them on the back of your boarding pass. But they can fall off and get lost from here. Take a photo or remove them and put them in your purse or wallet.
- If your luggage is lost, demand any bag fees back. DOT rules require that airlines must refund any bag fees paid if your bags are permanently lost. Strictly speaking, this rule doesn’t apply if your bag is eventually returned, but it can’t hurt to ask.