Reply To: The Ten Commandments for Avoiding and Managing Lost Luggage

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1. Wherever possible, travel light. The fewer belongings you have with you, the less you might have to replace should the worst happen. This makes sense environmentally, reducing the weight of unnecessary baggage, stops you hurting your back and that of the handlers themselves, and helps airlines keep ticket costs down, burning less fuel.

2. If you can, take hand baggage only. Most trips of three days or less should be able to be accommodated in one carry-on bag.

3. Use expandable luggage; if you do acquire a few items on your trip you can still carry everything back with you in one bag without doubling your chances for lost baggage (and potential extra bag charges!).

4. Ensure you hand baggage is robust enough to be checked if need be. Lockable wheelie bags are ideal for this.

5. Cross pack. If you are a couple travelling with two bags, try and mix your belongings together to ensure if you lose one bag you will both still be able to get by for a few days.

6. Label your bag properly, inside and out and ensure it’s distinctive enough not to be confused by others at the baggage belt . Include name, flight details (including inbound and outbound flight number, routes and dates) contact information (email, mobile phone) and postcode, but not address as this could be a security risk. Double check the agent tagged your bag, and ensure the destination is the one where you expect to have to collect your bag from the belt especially if on a connecting itinerary.

7. Protect clothes by wrapping them in plastic bags – this stops any seepage from other neighbouring bags in the hold and ensures no inclement weather gets inside your bag. Putting layers of plastic also reduces crumpling and gives you something to put your dirty washing in whilst away.

8. Always carry valuables/medicine/irreplaceable sentimental items with you in your hand baggage.

9. If checking bags, take a day of supplies with you in your hand baggage; a basic change of clothes, essential toiletries and travel documents/money, as well as contact details of your insurer.

10. Have good insurance. Travel insurance is popular in Europe, less so in other countries. Many household policies and certain credit cards have excellent travel delay and missing bags insurance, and the knowledge of this can turn a traumatic incident into a therapeutic retail experience!

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