Here are some suggestions of what you can do to keep your luggage from being lost or stolen, or at least keep these situations from getting worse.
- Write your name on your luggage (or make sure to have it on a luggage tag). Write your name inside your bag, too.
- Write down important information about your bag before you board your flight. (Color, Size, Brand)
- Make a list of everything in your bag. You’ll need this so the airline can reimburse you.
- Make your luggage stand out. Use a colorful bag or luggage tags, ribbons, stickers, etc.
- Avoid short connection times. This is a no-brainer. The shorter the time between flights, the less likely your bag will make it to your connecting flight.
- Keep any important documents, money, and other valuables in your carry-on bag.
- Don’t check-in late.
- You can also get travel insurance to make sure your reimbursed for your lost luggage. (I’d use this as a last resort. Who wants to spend extra money? However, some credit cards provide travel insurance if you book the flight using your card.)
- Fly with an airline that handles luggage better. Lessen your chance of your bag being mishandled.
- The best way to make sure your luggage doesn’t end up lost or stolen is to keep it with you. (The key is to travel light with just a carry-on)
Check out Airfare Watchdog’s 2014 List of Best U.S. Airlines (including best for mishandled luggage).