According to a report by CNN, the value of checked bags lost from 2010 to 2014 reached a whopping total of $2.5 million. And when you team this alongside the worry of your luggage getting lost en route, the thought of checking a bag can become very stressful indeed.
However, there are some simple and easy ways you can make sure your luggage gets to your destination (and home) safely. Here’s how:
Avoid Putting Valuable Items in Your Checked Bag
Even though this may seem obvious, it seems many people haven’t learned their lesson when it comes to packing their bag. Among the items stolen out of checked bags were iPads, gold rings, expensive watches, and cameras. And all of these things should never have been placed in checked luggage in the first place.
Ideally, you shouldn’t put anything in your checked bag that you can’t do without or that’s worth a lot of money. When you come to check in your bag, remove any expensive or vital items like cell phones, tablets, laptops, medications, and important documents (e.g. your passport).
If you do purchase any expensive items during your travels, place these in your carry-on luggage or arrange for them to be shipped home if they’re too large (insuring the item so you’re covered if it’s broken or lost).
Avoid Tight Connections
The less time you’ve got between flights, the higher the risk your bag won’t get to your final destination. More often than not, the bag will make it, but you can eliminate the risk and stress of worrying about your case by making sure you have a longer layover. Two hours is ideal, but for international transfers, you might want to allow a little longer.
Put Your Itinerary Inside Your Case
Throughout the handling process, luggage tags can be easily torn off, which is why it’s worth putting your itinerary on top of your belongings inside the bag along with your contact information and details of where you’re staying. This makes it much easier for airlines to track you down if they find it.
For example, if you were staying at the Marriott Philadelphia West, you’d make sure your booking details and contact information were included so the airline knows where you’re heading in case they find your lost luggage along the way. You’d also include your home telephone number so they can contact you after your vacation, too.
Take Some Photos of Your Bag
When you’re trying to get your lost luggage back, describing it as a “big black case with four wheels” isn’t going to get you far. So, try to make sure your bag is distinguished in some way (bright ribbons, belts, or other details are ideal) before taking a picture of it. This allows you to give the airline a picture of your bag so they can help you locate it. And while you’re at it, take a picture of our baggage-claim ticket, too, just in case you happen to lose it along the way.
Finally, for insurance claims, take a photo of the contents of your bag, as this will help when it comes to proving what items were in your case and how valuable they were.
Losing luggage is a headache we can all do without, but with some savvy planning, you can soon make sure you and your items are arriving safely and securely.