Losing your luggage can suck the fun out of the best vacation, leaving you without access to clothing and other important items. For the most part, airlines do a good job of keeping track of your bags, but you should still take the following steps to minimize the chances of something going wrong:
Invest in sturdy luggage tags
The little paper tags you can strap on to your bag at the airport check-in desk might or might not survive the journey, and if they get lost and your bag ends up in the wrong place, the airline might not have any way of tracking you down. Make sure you keep the contact information on your tags, including a cell phone number and e-mail address, up to date as well.
Distinguish your bag
One of the best ways to make sure someone doesn’t walk away with your bag is to mark it with something that will distinguish it from the sea of nearly identical suitcases. Colorful ribbons, stickers, or paint can all make your luggage unique.
Check the tag applied to your baggage
Before you leave your luggage at the check-in desk, double-check that the tag they put on it matches your flight number and destination. Also be sure to remove any old baggage claim tags, as they can lead to mistakes.
Leave plenty of time
Checking in at the last minute makes you more vulnerable to problems because the airport baggage handlers need a certain amount of time to process your bag. The earlier you check in, the more likely it is that your bag will make it onto your plane.
Include an itinerary and contact information inside your luggage
If your bag has a rough time, and all its outer identifying markers are torn off, you can still be reunited with it if you’ve included your contact information inside. Packing a copy of your itinerary in your bag can expedite the process as well, as it lets airlines know where you are and how to contact you.