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Lost baggage: tips and tricks how to avoid it

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You've booked your flights, shopped for your trip and the day has arrived for you to take-off to your destination. Of course you want to avoid losing your luggage. Ideally, carrying everything onto the plane with you would be great. But, you have to check your luggage in, whether you do it curbside or at the check-in counter, it's the first step once you arrive at the airport but nothing spoils a trip faster that started off great than lost luggage.

Savvy travelers have learned that there are steps you can take that will reduce your chances of having to deal with lost bags:

  • Make certain that you have a secure luggage tag with your name and cell phone number of the outside of your bag. Also double check the bag sticker the agent prints to confirm that it shows the correct flight number and destination. Any mistake on this and your luggage might be on its way to a different destination altogether.
  • Use distinct identification mark your luggage in unique ways to distinguish your bag in a sea of other bags. Consider adding bright ribbons to the handles. Apply stickers, so that your bag stands – anything that differentiates your luggage from everyone else’s. Take a photo of your bags with your identifiers, to ensure that even if you bag is misplaced; you would have something to show to the baggage agent. This will easily illustrate the brand, shape, color and distinctive markings so your bag will be easier to identify and recover.
  • Don’t leave anything valuable in your checked bags. Instead of tempting fate, as the saying goes, in the event your luggage is lost, you certainly don’t want to lose your valuables. While our advice is that you travel with as few valuables as possible, if you need to carry anything valuable, don’t pack it. Pack it in your carry-on bag.
  • Leave a copy of your flight itinerary inside your bag so that if your baggage tag is lost, the airline has a chance of getting your bag to the proper destination. If you and your luggage are separated, this will make it easier for the airline to find you and your bag. The faster they find you, the faster they will get the bags to you.
  • When possible fly non-stop. Bags are far more likely to get lost when they are being transferred between planes.
  • Do your best to avoid flying on multiple (i.e., different) regional airlines on route to your destination or on code share flights where your bags will be transferred from one airline to a different airline.
  • Consider shipping your bags ahead of you using UPS or a similar company, which-ever is cheaper. It saves you the time and pain of the baggage check-in lines, so you can breeze through without much hassle. You can save on the extra baggage fees and porter tips, as most of the airlines charge for this. Above all, the risk of losing your luggage is minimal.
  • Don’t check any luggage obviously, the best way to avoid losing your luggage is to carry it on with you. If you’re visiting a destination with laundry facilities, you might be able to pack light. The same applies if you’re heading out for a quick or long weekend getaway. Have a relaxing and entertaining vacation because now you have less to worry about, and more time to enjoy.

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