One quick and easy way to ruin your vacation is to get your bag lost. Instead of spending time enjoying the sights, the outdoors and the culture, you end up spending hours arguing with clerks, tracking down baggage routes, buying replacement clothing and generally not having a good time. Instead of going through all this hassle, you’re much better off taking steps to make sure your luggage doesn’t get lost in the first place.
So how do you prevent luggage loss? Follow these tips.
Tag Your Bags
Your bags should be tagged with your name, your phone number and your address. Include your destination address as well if you have one. Make sure you use the tag of your airline.
Tagging helps baggage handlers identify the right bags, as well as helps get you your bags back should it ever get lost.
Remove Old Tags
If you have old tags on your bags, that can cause confusion with baggage handlers and cause your bags to get misplaced. Get in the habit of removing all old tags every time you fly.
Check In Early
When you check in early, your bag is almost definitely going to make it in the right pile. When you check in late however, handlers often have to actually locate your pile instead of having a designated pile to place your bag on. Checking in early helps ensure your bag goes to the right place. Try to arrive at least an hour before boarding to check in your bags.
Use a TSA Approved Lock
TSA agents will often need to open bags to check for narcotics, explosives or other questionable items in luggages. By taking a flight, you implicitly grant the TSA the right to open your bags. What a lot of people don’t realize is that if you have a lock on your bag, by flying you also grant the TSA the right to cut open the lock if they see something suspicious on the X-Ray.
To prevent that from happening, use a TSA approved lock. These locks can be easily opened by the TSA with a master key. This reduces the amount of time the TSA has to spend on your bags and reduces the chances of your bags getting misplaced after a security process.
Book Non-Stop Flights
Connecting flights are another common cause of baggage loss. Every time you connect from one flight to the next, your bags have to be transferred. Of course, it’s not just your bag that needs to be transferred – your bag is just one of hundreds that need to make it to connecting flights.
It’s during this switch from one flight to another that bags often get lost. If you’re flying from New York to Thailand with a connecting flight in South Korea, it’s entirely possible that your bags will end up on a flight to Sweden. The best way to avoid this kind of mixup is to avoid connecting flights in the first place.
Travel With Just a Carry On
People often underestimate how much they can do with just one carry on bag. If you’re only traveling for a couple weeks, you can easily get by with just a carry on bag. Carry enough clothes for about 4 or 5 days and have your hotel wash your clothes every 4 days or so. Not traveling with a luggage is really the only sure way to make sure your bag doesn’t get lost.
If Your Bag Does Get Lost in Transit …
First, you should always carry a photo of your bag with you to show to baggage clerks in case your bag gets lost. It can help to put an identifying sticker or make colorful marks on your bags to make your bag stand out.
If your bag doesn’t show up, make sure to report it to the baggage claim area as soon as possible. Don’t wait, as many baggage claim policies have a 24 hour limitation, meaning if you don’t claim a lost bag within 24 hours you lose your right to the bag.
If your bag is indeed lost, make sure you keep your receipts for things you buy in the meantime. Often time’s airlines will reimburse you for clothes and basic supplies that you have to buy as a result of your bag being lost.
If you follow these tips, your chances of having your bag lost are much, much lower. You can’t ever completely prevent lost bags, but following these tips will drastically improve your odds.