Tips on protecting luggage

Make sure checked bags have ID tags

carry cash, change of clothing

Your Money

September 25, 2005|By Knight Ridder/Tribune

When you travel, consider that you're putting your valuables in a relatively vulnerable place: your luggage.

Checked bags and their contents can be mishandled, misplaced, stolen or lost forever in a sea of unclaimed baggage. If you're even more unlucky, your bag may go astray at the outset of your trip when you're far from home, away from emergency contact information and clean clothing.

Here are a few ways to keep track of your property and prevent travel problems:

Prepare a list of everything in your checked baggage, along with the values of the items. Keep a copy at home and a copy with you in your carry-on luggage.

Put identification tags on the outside and inside of your bags, recommends the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division. Make sure each tag includes your name, home address and home and work phone numbers. Inside the bag, also include your contact information for your destination.

Lock your bag once it has been examined by airport security. If your luggage doesn't have a key or combination lock, buy cheap plastic security seals at an office supply store. Seal the zippers and cut the security seal off once you arrive at your destination.

Take a carry-on bag with cash, prescriptions, a change of clothes, toiletries, travel documents and anything else you might need within the first 24 hours of arrival. Also carry on anything valuable - such as jewelry, cameras, electronics or heirlooms - or fragile items, such as eyeglasses.

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