Lost bags are an unfortunate occurrence in air travel, but taking proper steps to ensure the security of your bag can help to reduce or eliminate the dread of a lost bag.

Idea 1:  Always use a luggage tag

A luggage tag should be a must for anyone that values the items stored inside their luggage.  You can purchase a luggage tag in most large retail stores prior to your trip, but if you find yourself at the check in counter without one, make sure you fill out a paper tag that will be secured onto the handle of your suitcase(s).

Idea 2:  Check in early for your flight

Many times when a bag is lost or delayed, it’s because the passenger checked in for their flight too late.  Even though you may have checked in just in the nick of time, keep in mind that your bag still has to make it’s way to the bag room, onto a truck, delivered to the proper gate, and onloaded to the aircraft.  This is a process that can take some time, so make sure you always arrive early to ensure your bag isn’t lost.

Idea 3:  Place some identifying information inside your bag

Your suitcase will pass through many hands, conveyor belts, trucks, etc, on its journey from your possession to the final destination.  One way to ensure your bag can always be identified is by placing some identifying information inside the top of the suitcase.  This means leaving a copy of your itinerary, or even a piece of paper with your name, phone number, address, and e-mail.  This way, if the labels/tags are ripped off the bag, the airline/authorities will be able to get the bag safely back to you.

Idea 4:  Shipping your bags instead of taking them

The idea of shipping your bag may seem crazy, but there are actually many people who do it on a daily basis.  Shipping your bag via FedEx or UPS actually costs less than checking in an overweight bag, but it does take a bit longer to arrive.  An example is this:  American Airlines charges $100 for an overweight bag over 55 pounds.  That same bag would cost $55.65 to ship from Chicago to Los Angeles using UPS, however, it does take 4 days.  If you plan well enough in advance, you can have your bag shipped cheaper and more safely to your hotel.  This also leaves you with less worry at the airport.