Traveler’s Guide: How to Protect Your Luggage from Being Lost or Damaged

The root word of travel is “travail.” It’s an old French word that means excruciating pain and misery. Air travel has become especially bad now that airlines are cutting out the frills that used to make flying almost fun, and never mind the ridiculous security measures.Few aspects of air travel can be more frustrating than lost or damaged luggage. Thousands of bags are lost, left behind, or mangled every day. This article aims to give you some advice and tips on how to prevent your bag from becoming one of those statistics. Do Your Homework Well before your trip, you should research both your airline’s baggage regulations and airport security measures. Airlines are becoming more strict with their baggage allowances. If your bag is oversized or overweight, or if you bring more bags than you’re allowed, you could be slapped with a hefty fee.

If you pack something that was named the Potentially Dangerous Substance of the Month, it will be confiscated at the security checkpoint. These things change all the time, so it’s extremely important to stay up-to-date on what’s going on. If you’re traveling to or from the US, check out Transportation Security Administration’s website at www.tsa.gov. TSA is in charge of airport security, so their website will be the best authority on what you can and can’t take with you on the plane. Knowing what you can and can’t bring can save you a lot of grief later on. Travel Light Airlines are using smaller planes these days, which means it’s even more important for travelers to pack light. If your bag is too big to fit in the overhead compartment, you won’t be able to carry it on. You might even be forced to check it if it’s too heavy. Different airlines have different restrictions, so again, be sure to check with your airline before you travel. 

Weight is something that every airline is concerned about. Airlines have to deal with weight and balance issues, which determines how much fuel the plane needs and whether or not the plane will gain enough altitude to take off. It’s for both financial and safety reasons that airlines impose weight restrictions on bags. Another good reason to pack light is that it will be less wear and tear on your bag. An overstuffed bag is more likely to get damaged. You’ll also have a much easier time getting around with a lightweight bag, which is especially critical when you have to make connecting flights. Avoid Checking Any Bags, It’s a good idea to avoid checking in bags, if you can. That’s how bags get lost and damaged. Once that bag leaves your side, there is no way you can control what happens to it. While the airline wants all their passengers to have their bags, things happen.

Keep Valuables With You, You should never, and I mean never put medication or valuables in any bag you plan to check. NEVER. When that bag leaves you, anything could happen to it. It could fall off a baggage belt and get overlooked. The flight could be so packed that the airline is forced to leave your bag behind and send it on another plane. Or your bag could be looted. Some doofus might put your bag on the wrong plane. Although you can be pretty sure that your checked bag will make it with you to your destination, there are no gaurantees. Pack nothing in your checked luggage that is either valuable or critical to your health. If You Check a Bag, Pack Extra Clothes in Your Carry-On Luggage On the offhand chance that your checked back is parted from you, you should at least have some toiletries and clean underwear for yourself. Most bags are returned with 24 hours, but there are cases where bags don’t show up for days… if at all. There are rare cases where bags stay lost forever.

In general, airlines don’t offer much in the way of compensation if your bag goes missing. If you’re forced to buy new undies, don’t expect the airline to cover the tab. At most, they might pay a percentage of the cost for necessities. Don’t Buy an Expensive Name Brand Bag. There are two reasons why you shouldn’t check in, say, a Louis Vuitton bag. One, the bag could draw attention from thieves. Two, checked bags get rough treatment. Ever see that TV commercial where a gorilla manhandles bags? That’s not too far off the mark. Bags are not handled gently. Bags fall off carts and baggage belts. Bags get left out in the rain. Bags get stacked on top of each other. Even at the best of times, it’s not practical for the guys on the tarmac to baby your bag. They are going to solidly toss your bag into a cart, yank it out again, and toss it onto a conveyor belt. They don’t have the time to be gentle. Given all this, I’m frankly amazed that so many bags come out of the whole experience in good condition! That’s why the airline won’t pay for scuff marks, small holes, or other minor damage. As far as the airline is concerned, a bag’s only purpose to protect your stuff. So if your bag comes back to you in less than perfect condition, well, as long as it’s still a serviceable bag, the airline probably isn’t going to pay for damages.

Many airlines won’t even cover wheel damage. Make Your Bag Stand Out, This probably seems contrary to the advice I gave earlier, but it’s important to make your bag stand out in some way. The more unique your bag is, the less likely someone else will mistake it for his own. There are so many bags that look alike, it’s no wonder that bag switches happen all the time. An ugly puke-green bag is better than a classic black one, trust me. If your bag isn’t a unique color or style, tie a bright ribbon on it. Always Put Your Contact Information In Your Bag Putting your name and phone number on both the inside and outside of your bag is important. Even better, include the phone number and address of where you’ll be staying. It’s even a good idea to place a copy of your itinerary in your bag. All this information will make it easy for the airline to reunite you with your bag, should it ever be parted from you. Check In Early If you arrive late for your flight or have a tight connection, you are increasing the odds that your checked bag will be left behind. The airline may not be able to get the bag to the plane on time. Your bag has to go through its own security check point, and it could get stuck behind a long line of other bags. Or there simply may not be any time for someone to come over, grab your bag, and put it on the plane before it’s time for take off. Late check-ins are one of the biggest reasons why bags never make it on the plane.

Conclusion If you take the extra time to read our IT luggage reviews guide, you will minimize problems and have a great deal less to worry about if your bag ever does go missing. When you have a unique bag that contains your contact information, you ensure that it will be returned to you quickly if it gets left behind or accidentally put on another plane. By staying up-to-date on baggage rules and regulations, you won’t be caught by surprise at the last minute. By packing light and not checking any bags at all, you will steer clear of most baggage problems.

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