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A Dozen Thoughts on Losing Your Luggage or Not

Evelyn Hannon

You would think that someone who has lost their luggage three times shouldn't be offering advice on how not to lose your bags. However, don't count me out too quickly. It's exactly because of my losses that I've become much better at managing to keep my bags safe. Following these rules and observations I've listed below won't make you immune from loss but I bet it will cut down the odds of your luggage going one way and you another.

You can't always use a carry-on. The experts tell you to pack light and take your bag on board. That is all well and good except there are times when you might be going cross country skiing in Austria or to a formal wedding in New York City or on a photography expedition in the Arctic. Try as you may you will not be able to fit all the 'bulky stuff' into a carryon. At this point I say don't fight it or feel you are a bad traveller. Why agonize? Take out that larger suitcase and fill it with everything you'll need on your journey.
Always take a photo of your bag for ID purposes. Keep it on your mobile phone should it become necessary to describe it.
Check in is when mistakes are often made. Once your bags are tagged take a good look at the codes on that tag before it leaves the ticket counter. Are your destination and flight number correct? Human error plays a large part in lost luggage.
More and more people are using tracking devices on their bags. Do some research on the subject. You might find it worthwhile. I am now using ReboundTAG.com and so far so good.
Don't think black for your bag. Almost everybody else is thinking the same thing. Instead, think color and design. Or, perhaps add decals. This way there is less chance that someone will mistakenly take your baggage off the conveyor belt thinking it is theirs.
If you must have black luggage, differentiate your bag from others with a colorful strap that fits tightly around the bag. Under extreme situations this strap also prevents your bag from opening and scattering your belongings.
You think one tag is enough? Wrong! Don't be lazy. Put at least two ID tags on your bag. No matter how sturdy your tags are one can accidentally be ripped off as your luggage makes its way from check-in to airplane.
Put one ID sheet inside your bag. Outline your destination and how you can be reached. Include your city but don't include your home address. Nobody needs to know you are away from home. Include a list of everything in your bag and keep a copy for yourself. Should your bag go missing, this extra information might be helpful.
Make sure to remove any old baggage claim tags from your last trip. Why create room for mistakes?.
Check your credit card coverage. Just in case your bag is lost, many cards now add some form of lost luggage insurance. This is a helpful bonus because when you check the small print on your ticket you will find that no matter how much you feel the contents of your suitcase are worth, the airline regulations impose their own ceiling on what they will pay. For example, I reported $3300 worth of expedition clothes, gear, etc. lost. Air Canada had a ceiling of $1800.
Which carry-on does Journeywoman use now? - I am a great fan of Eagle Creek. I love their practical features, their durability and their lifetime warranty. When my last bag went missing they sent me their Eagle Creek light weight Tarmac 22 carry-on (I chose green over black) to try. Why did I choose that particular suitcase? Watch this video and you'll understand: youtube.com/watch?v=sSf1VWN0Rr4
Whenever possible I leave my big suitcase at home and opt for this smaller Eagle Creek bag that I can take onboard with me. Being an older traveler I never hesitate to ask a young man in the vicinity to put my bag in the overhead bin. This avoids potential shoulder strains for me and it is such an easy task for him. Ladies, don't be afraid to ask. You'll find everybody very helpful.

How big can my carry-on bag be?

grandmaEach airline has different rules and regulations for hand luggage dimensions and weights you may bring on board. Some allow one bag, others two.

This chart from Expedia.co.uk brings the important information together into one helpful chart allowing you to see which airlines on their list gives you the most luggage allowance and value for the money. Click here.

 

For some great packing tips, click here

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