How to Avoid Losing Luggage – Some Simple Travel Hacks

Baggage on conveyor belt at the airport

With so many people flying nowadays, tales of lost luggage abound.  Is there anything sadder than being the last person at the luggage carousel in arrivals, as one lone bag (not yours), lays forlornly on the belt?  We think not.

My mom always told me to “tie a bit of yarn to the handle”.  A great idea.  It helps your bag stand out, especially if it’s a black bag, like most of the others.  But all the yarn in the world isn’t going to save you from the lost luggage void if your bag has the wrong airport code on it.

Let’s talk about some simple travel hacks and how to avoid losing luggage – ever again.

Go loud, or stay home.

Don’t be shy.  Choose the loudest, proudest luggage you can find.  Hot pink polka-dots?  Excellent.  Bright yellow, big bird-emblazoned?  Even better.  The louder and more distinctive your luggage is, the less likely it is to be lost.

Another advantage of a distinctive bag is that others won’t mistake it for their own and walk off with it.  Don’t laugh.  I was standing at the carousel in Denver International once, when I saw someone do exactly that.  It was a job to convince this random person that the bag wasn’t his.  Going loud can help you avoid altercations like the one I had with Mr. Random Bag Grabber.

Trust no one.

Don’t assume that the attendant handling your bag at check-in is immune to human error.  Always ensure that the airport code on the tag attached to your bag is the one for your destination.

This is especially important if you a have connecting flight or flights.  I once had a bag arrive in Amsterdam, when it was supposed to have arrived in Amman, Jordan.  True story.

Timing is everything.

I arrive everywhere early.  I loathe the idea of being late for anything.  But with airport check-ins, this can be a fatal error.

Check in for your flight no more than 90 minutes prior to boarding.  Early bird bags can magically get shunted off to the side once check-in begins in earnest.

The same is true of checking in late.  Give yourself adequate time to arrive at the airport.  Remember that about 90 minutes before boarding is the sweet spot.  Be there two hours before and give yourself a cushion.  Grab a coffee and watch the people.

If the unthinkable happens and you lose your luggage, don’t despair.  We now live in an age where everyone is invested with the power of the online megaphone.  Hit the Twitter machine hard.

Deploy the right words and watch your luggage magically appear!  Airlines hate tales of lost luggage being told to thousands of viewers in the twitterverse.   Make that public relations reality work for you.

How to avoid losing luggage – with a little forethought.

Thinking ahead and applying a few simple travel hacks is how to avoid losing luggage.  It doesn’t have to happen to a nice person like you!

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