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The How-To Lounge: Preventing Lost Luggage

Summer time is the busiest travel time of the year, which means more headaches for everyone. Having to deal with flight delays, over crowded airports and screaming children is bad enough as it is, but add lost luggage to the mix and your trip could turn out to be a total disaster. Here are some helpful tips to help prevent losing your checked luggage.

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  • If you can, pack lightly so you can carry your luggage on board with you
  • If you have to check your bags, being late is a major reason why your luggage may not make it to your final destination. Give yourself ample time before your flight takes off -- try to arrive at the airport at least an hour and a half before your flight
  • Be sure to have identity tags safely secured on the outside of your luggage, multiples won't hurt
  • Put a copy of your travel itinerary in your luggage just in case it is found and your tags fall off
  • Make sure to remove any old flight tags before arriving at the airport to avoid any confusion
  • Before you watch your bags disappear on the conveyor belt, make sure the tags have the right final destination
  • Be sure not to misplace your checked luggage receipts. If your bags do get misplaced, they are your only proof of ownership
  • If your bags ultimately don't make the flight, find a baggage agent asap and report your bags missing. Check and see if they came on an earlier flight or if they are scheduled to come on the next arriving flight from your origin. Make sure to talk to someone face to face, not over the phone
  • Leave your cell phone number or the name and contact information of your hotel with the airport luggage customer service agent so they can immediately contact you if your luggage is found
  • As a safety precaution, always pack a change of clothes, all your prescription medication, your toiletries and an extra copy of your itinerary in your carry on. Never pack money, other airlines tickets, or keys in your checked luggage

It is very easy to panic when you don't see your bags on the carousel, but don't get too excited as it sometimes takes a while for your bags to come out, especially if you were one of the first to check your luggage. A smart tip I learned was to tie a bright colored ribbon or shoelace to your suitcase so it is easily recognizable. Good luck and safe travels!


memorie memorie 10 years
Another tip is to stick a sheet of paper with your name, a contact number, and your final destination INSIDE your suitcase, maybe directly on top of what's inside, or in that nifty little mesh compartment on the inside flap. If your luggage gets lost and your tags come off, if someone peeks inside, they can identify you and send your stuff your way.
Erica77 Erica77 10 years
I'd like to add something to your tip: Put a copy of your travel itinerary in your luggage just in case it is found and your tags fall off Use Global Bag Tags! I love them! I don't like tags that show my name, address and such. These don't. They are very nice looking, silver and blue, they have an ID number on them and your private information is kept in their database so if your things get lost, GBT helps get them back to you. Check them out :)
fauxtographic fauxtographic 10 years
Problem with carrying small suitcase or toiletries on board: a lot of liquid items are no longer allowed on-board due to new security measures, especially for international travel. All it takes is one stupid bottle of contact lens solution and *poof*, I have to check in my luggage and cross my fingers...
ellenmarie ellenmarie 10 years
I always try to take direct flights if possible. It may be a little more expensive, but the more you transfer, the more your bags have to transfer, and the more chance of them being mis-routed. I do also take a change of clothes with me on the plane just in case.
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I always try to divide my personal belongings in two different bags. One I take on board the other goes under the plane. I also have really bright luggage. My carry on is a hawaiian print roxy bag that is rare to find. I then took my typical black luggage that I bought at target and painted it with puffy paint and glitter to match the roxy luggage. It is one of a kind and hard to miss! :)
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 10 years
I always check the destination of my bags before they go on the conveyor belt and repeat it back to the airline kiosk agent - especially on connecting flights. I remember when I was flying to London through Canada, my bags were only checked to Toronto and I had to reclaim them (to go through Canadian customs) but I never like to assume I know where they'll end up! I've heard several horror stories about lost luggage, especially at Heathrow, so I'm super paranoid about it.
aistea311 aistea311 10 years
I have bright luggage, a kind of hawaiian shirt pattern, but if you dont want to draw too much attention to yourself, do like the rock stars and put a band sticker or a crazy bumper sticker that you know would only belong to you, especially if you have black or gray or any other generic luggage color.
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