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What can probably be considered as the most common of any traveler's woes most likely has something to do with his baggage. We always hear stories of people getting hit on the head by luggage falling out of overhead compartments on a particularly turbulent flight, or of the security line being held up by airline passengers who insist that the gigantic suitcase they have brought with them should pass as carry-on luggage instead of just checking them in. And then we have stories of lost luggage, wherein the hapless passenger finds that his suitcases have flown to Taiwan instead of coming with him to Thailand.
Losing luggage, among other baggage problems, is a fact in the life of a traveler. Thankfully, such problems can be avoided with a few simple precautions to be taken before the flight. Here is how:
1. If you can get away with traveling with only carry-on luggage with you, go for it. Airlines generally allow their passengers to bring two pieces of carry-on luggage with them, so bringing your bags with you to the cabin will save you the worry of losing your bags or having them stolen.
2. If your bags are heavy, do not put them in the overhead bin. Luggage, even the lightweight ones, can cause serious injuries if they get loose and fall on someone's head.
3. Before you check in your bags, make sure that every piece of luggage you are checking in has a label that has your name and address on it. Better yet, put another label on the inside of the bag, as well as a copy of your itinerary. Do the same for your carry-on bags in the event that you need to check them in after all.
4. Make your luggage as unique as you can make them so the other passengers will not confuse your luggage with their own and pick them up. You can do this by putting colorful tags or stickers.
5. Never check in your valuable items such as money, jewelry, laptop and electronic files. Put them in your carry-on luggage.
6. Make sure that airline tag on your checked-in luggage is correct. The airline tag should match the airport where you are flying to.
7. If you have lost your bags, report the loss immediately. Approach the baggage agents on duty as soon as you discover that your bags did not turn up at the airport you flew in.
8. Do not throw away the stub from your checked-in bags. In case you do lose your bag, the stub will help airline authorities to trace your bags.
9. Always anticipate the fact that you may lose your luggage on your flight. It's a simple application of Murphy's Law. Thus, pack your bags in such a way that the loss of one bag will not cripple you. Pack at least one set of clothing in your carry-on bag.
10. Bear in mind the security regulations of the airline you are flying in when packing your bags. Leave prohibited items behind, such as knives, cutters and other hazardous objects. If you must bring such items, see if your airline can let you check them in.