Losing your luggage can be a major inconvenience. If you’re coming home it’s not such a problem, unless your case is permanently missing, but if you’re just arriving on your trip of a lifetime, being without clothes, makeup and all your day-to-day essentials can be a disaster. So what can travellers do to minimise the risk of loss in the first place? Besides choosing an airline with a good reputation for handling luggage, one of the top things to do is make sure your luggage tags are tough and good quality, and they have all the relevant info written on them. Don’t just rely on the flimsy ones provided by airlines at check-in unless it’s an emergency. Another idea is to have all your contact details written down on a sticker and positioned clearly inside your luggage – such as attached to the inside of the lid – in case the exterior ones break off, and someone checks inside your case for any ID. If you add a printout of your itinerary too near the top, that would help if someone is trying track down where you are, or where you are going.
Checking in early can help too, as it can minimise the risk of being separated from your bags; handlers need time to process check-in luggage, transport it to the aircraft and load it. Also avoid tight flight connections where possible, as this will increase the risk of your bags going missing between planes. Also make your luggage more easy to identify; if it’s a neutral colour and popular brand, tie a brightly coloured scarf or ribbon to a handle, or use distinctive luggage straps so you can spot your bags more easily, and someone else doesn’t pick them up by accident. As well as having good insurance which covers you for luggage loss or misplacement, you can buy a quality tracking gadget. These use a combination of GMS cellular signals and state-of-the-art technology to locate misplaced luggage in any airport in the world, and they’re usually the size of a mobile phone, making it easy to slip into any suitcase. If all else fails, and you’re travelling with a partner or friend, instead of packing in a “yours” and “mine” fashion, divide your belongings between your cases so if one gets lost you will both have some essentials.