Traveling Thursday – Keep your luggage off TV

There’s a new reality TV show that focuses on people who buy unclaimed luggage that was lost by the airlines. These folks bid on bags containing trash and treasures that used to belong to travelers like you and me. As long as there is air travel, there will be lost bags but these tips might keep your luggage from becoming a reality TV star.

Keep it in the carry-on Minimize the pain of a lost bag by not putting medicines, passports, IDs, expensive jewelry, eye glasses or any other must-have valuables in your checked bag.

Tag that bag Make sure your bag tag displays your name and current contact information. Select a permanent tag with a strap/band that will stay attached to your luggage. If you want, double up with the paper tags available at the airline check-in counter.

Out with the old Remove any old airline routing tags from previous flights.

Demand attention Whether it’s a bright ribbon tied around the handle or a strip of neon duct tape bearing your name, mark your luggage in some way. This will help by making your bag stand out from the others and reducing the possibility that someone take your item by mistake. Luggage straps are also a great way to mark your bag. I like the fact that those straps can also help cinch your bag shut if the zipper breaks or there’s some other bag-related catastrophe during your journey.

Don’t forget the inside Your name, address and phone number should also be found on the inside of your bag. It’s also a great idea to have contact information for your lodging spot(s).

Take notice and maybe a photo You’ll need to describe your bag to the representative if it’s necessary to file a missing bag report so be sure you can describe your bag in detail. If it helps, take a photo of your luggage with your digital camera before checking your bag.

If your bag is lost, work with the airlines. They’ll do their best to get your bag back to you as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to contact your travel insurance company if you’ve purchased a policy that covers bag loss or delay.

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