Beyond the obvious advice of “don’t pack valuables in your luggage” there are six things you can do to insure you are reunited with your luggage and your belongings at the end of a trip:
- LOOK at your bag as you are packing it – take off all bar codes that may have been attached to a handle or stuck to the bottom of the bag. All bag sorting is done digitally and even if your handle tag says the right destination, the wrong bar code on the bottom may send it to Timbuktoo.
- When you print your boarding pass, print extras for each bag you are carrying. Slip this inside an outside pocket on the luggage to make it easy to find. Your boarding pass and bar code will get it home to you faster.
- LOOK at the bag tag that goes onto your handle. Don’t leave baggage check-in until you’ve seen the tag. Here’s a link to airport codes – make sure it’s the correct one. Busy airports with kiosk check-in are the worst. Harried baggage handlers reach and grab the tag coming out the back of the kiosk and slap it on. I’ve caught wrong tags twice in the past couple of years.
- Make sure you get a receipt for each bag you check and guard it like gold. If you lose a bag, it’s all you’ve got. Consider using your cell phone to take a picture of your bag in case you have to identify it. Putting something unusual as a bag marker will also help.
- At the baggage claim area, stand as close as you can to the spot where bags come out. Carousel thefts are on the rise.
- Consider wrapping your bag in protective plastic to keep baggage handlers or others from rifling through your bag. As with anything else, making it a little more difficult to get to your belongings will move a would-be thief to the next bag. On long haul flights I use a luggage belt around the bag to make access a little extra work. I also use a tie-wrap through the zippers, but those are only partial protections. A “self-healing zipper” can be poked with a pen to open the bag, and the bag is then closed with the locked zipper pulls. You think no one has been in your bag and discover items missing when you get home.
Travel can be rewarding and fun. These tricks will help you reduce the number of uncertainties and potential glitches that can ruin an otherwise memorable trip.
© 2012 Beth Terry, CSP • Phoenix and Honolulu • All Rights Reserved.