Travel Tips & Advice

Tips to avoid lost luggage when travelling

Holiday luggage

Want to avoid lost luggage?

Arriving at your destination airport for a well-earned 1 or 2 week holiday in the sun and then finding that one of your bags is missing, can cause a lot of stress, at a time when you should be relaxing. So what can you do to help to prevent losing your bags when going on holiday? Below a look at 5 ways to decrease the chances of lost luggage:

Labelling your Luggage

Certainly ensuring that you have baggage or luggage labelling is good can make a huge difference. I find that a plastic label which is waterproof means that at least having a label with your home address on your bag can increase the chances of you eventually get your bag back after a while, if lost by an airline. Most bags or luggage which goes unclaimed is because there is not way for the airlines to trace who to return the items to. Make sure that the label you use enables you to hide the address details i.e. ensure that people in the airport cannot easily read your address from any distance as this is sometimes used as a way for thiefs to find addresses of people who will be away from their home for a given time. Use a luggage tag which has a sliding cover on it to hide the address. You can find more great tips about labelling luggage on airsafe.

Different design (even a sticker on it)

A few years ago, I had a women take my black holdall bag off of the baggage claim area and walk off through customs with it. I was left in the baggage claim area wondering what on earth had happened to my bag. It turned out that the elderly lady had simply not realised the bag was not hers and picked up my bag, because it looked 80% similar to her own bag.

To lower the chances of confusion and mixed up bags, it can be worth buying a bag which is more unique and distinguishable from the standard colours and designed bags and suitcases. If you want to buy a solid and strong suitcase which might be mistaken for someone else’s potentially, why not put some large stickers on the front of the case, i.e. some travel stickers saying “I’ve been to Italy” or anything at all that might separate your bag from others.

Taxis and guy with named signs

In recent years, an innovative way to separate you from your bags (so that your bags can be stolen) has been for people to go to an airport, observe the signs held up by limousine and chauffeur drivers i.e. “Mr Fred Jones” and then they make their own board and with the same name and to stand in front of the person who really is meant to be your chauffeur or driver. The prospective thief then offers to take your bags and might for example tell you to wait outside at a certain spot while he/she drives the car around to you. He’ll be gone and with your bags – the bags which you can expect never to see again. NEVER allow yourself to be separated from your own bags!

Do not leave unattended

Similarly, although it might sound so obvious and you cannot believe that I am even writing this here, but I will still state, do not leave your bags unattended. People DO do this and the bags do sometimes go missing. In a city such as Barcelona in the train and bus stations, some of the gangs only literally need a couple of seconds to grab your bag and be gone. Often they work in teams of 3 – 5 people and even if you see the theft as it happens and if you try to then approach the thief, the other members of the team might then (accidently as it will seem at the time) just happen to be blocking your way, while the assailant makes his escape. This actual scenario happened to a good friend while he was in Manhattan, New York City. The thief came from behind and grabbed everything in my friends pocket and then the thief ran forwards. Four large guys were then blocking my friend from making any attempt to follow the thief. The lucky thief in the end got away with a packet of boiled sweets and a dirty handkerchief.

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