If you’re worried about your bags being stolen or lost by the airline, you’re not alone. The amount of baggage lost at airports spiked significantly last year, thanks in no small part to a string of natural disasters and flight disruptions. News stories of bags being stolen from the baggage claim carousels are further cause for concern.
While the airlines report they recover nearly all the bags that are reported missing, that’s small comfort to those who’ve had their travel plans affected.
The following tips will help you protect your bags:
- Don’t check your bags unless you have to. Sure, the space in those overhead bins is tight, but if you are a light packer and can carry your bag on the flight, you can keep an eye on it. Plus, you won’t have to pay those annoying bag fees imposed by many airlines.
- Keep your valuables with you. The airlines don’t compensate you for the loss of many items, including laptops, valuable documents, cameras and more.
- If you check your bags, don’t dally after you disembark. Trot right over to the baggage claim to be there as soon as the bags start rolling off. That way, you can snag your bag before a thief does.
- Buy the loudest, most colorful bag you can find. Why? Criminals go for the common bags because they don’t want attention drawn to themselves. Just about everyone in the airport has a plain black bag, right? So, how are you going to stop someone from walking off with yours?
- Travel with cheap luggage. Designer bags are often worth more than the stuff packed inside, but a $700 bag is a pretty good clue there may be pricey items inside too.
Travel insurance with baggage protections provides better coverage than what the airlines will offer if they lose your bag. Plus, you’ll have coverage for unexpected costs if your bag is delayed a day or two – something the airlines are not required to do.