Whether you’re traveling for business, for family, or for pleasure, your luggage can pass through many hands: airline workers, taxi drivers, hotel staff, and more. Even if the airline gets your luggage through safely, it can still be stolen after you’ve arrived: from the trunk of a taxi, the back of a bus, even from your hotel room.
No one likes dealing with lost or stolen luggage or the theft of items from their bags, but the process of making a thorough report is easier if you snap a photo of the contents you intend to pack in your suitcase before you load it up. We recommend the following steps:
- Lay everything you will put into each suitcase out on the bed or floor.
- Snap a picture of the suitcase or bag (travel insurance baggage coverage will also replace the bag).
- Snap a few pictures of the items you will pack from different angles, or even better, do a quick video recording, speaking through the items, “two pairs jeans, one pair hiking boots”, etc.
- Store those photos or video where you can get them while on your trip.
If anything turns up damaged or missing, you’ll have something concrete to show the attendant at the claim counter or an image to help jog your memory as you fill out those airline claim forms or the police report (depending on the circumstances).
Use your mobile device
Many travelers these days carry multiple electronic devices suitable for taking and storing the photos or video of their luggage contents. Consider using your cell phone camera to snap the photos if you’ll be taking your cell phone on the trip, or use other mobile devices – even the digital camera you are taking with you – to carry the photo or video.
Consider printing a copy
You can also use your digital camera, and print a copy of the contents (make two copies!) That way, you can hand one to the airline representative or police officer to back up your claim. As we’ve recommended before, you’ll want two copies – one for them and one for yourself.
If you’re traveling overseas, store these with the two copies of your passport ID page.
Check out these related topics
- Many travelers carry more than one electronic device these days; read how travel insurance covers electronics.
- Take a look at our collection of ‘fun’ facts about lost baggage and learn where lost luggage ends up.
- Should you carry that bag on board or check it? Decide with our Airline Fees Guide 2011.
- If you’re worried about loss or theft by the airline, see our 5 Tips for Keeping your Baggage Safe.