While I am on vacation I am letting my readers write for me for the next week. Thank you for your readership and comments, they always make my day!


Airlines claim they recover nearly all bags that fall prey to thieves. While it's true many missing bags were actually misplaced, mis-routed, abandoned or stolen, that's small comfort to those who truly are victims of theft.

While new fees on checked baggage have forced many to abandon checking their bags, proposed change for carry-ons may increase luggage riding in the belly of planes.

Here are nine steps you can take to protect your possessions, your identity and most likely your trip.

1. Don't Check Bags


2. Go Neon
Thieves are more likely to commandeer nondescript bags because they don't draw attention. A bright orange, unusually shaped bag will likely discourage criminals. Alternately, you can wrap neon tape around the handle.

3. Go CheapMost thieves prefer pricey, designer bags even more than the bags contents. An expensive bags also serves as red flag expensive contents likely lie within.

4. Carry On ValuablesAirlines rarely reimburse travelers for the loss of valuable or exotic items, even if they were at fault. The law usually caps compensation on domestic flights at $3,300 and often even less for international flights.

5. Stay AlertIt's tempting to step away from a piled-high luggage cart but that's the moment thieves are looking for. Roll the cart with you, whether you're waiting to check in or grabbing the last bag on the carousel.

6. Fly NonstopThe more connections you make, the greater the chance your bags will be mis-routed. They may end up taking a long spin on carousels, waiting for an owner that never arrives.

7. Don't DallyHead down to baggage claim as soon as you disembark. Park yourself at the point where bags spill down the chute and make sure as few people as possible get between you and your bags.

8. Immediately File Claims
Airlines usually set time limits for filing reports on missing luggage. Miss the deadline and you could miss the chance of compensation.

9. Insure Your BagsBundle trip insurance combines several forms of coverage, including some reimbursement of lost luggage. Premiums typically range from 5 percent to 8 percent of the trip cost.

Kate Forgach is Content Editor for CouponSherpa.com, your one-stop shop for online, printable, grocery and mobile coupons. Kate wrote about everything but sports during her 15 years as a journalist. She has been a professional blogger for four years.

Photo courtesy of Sun Dazed 


  1. jan // Monday, May 17, 2010 2:41:00 PM  

    thanks for a great post...i haven't checked my bags in years (even before the new bag 'charges')

    many many years ago i was in the airport waiting for my bag to come around the turnstyle and i waited and waited...whatever possessed me to turn around and look i cannot tell you but when i did i saw my suitcase 'walking' out the door (of course attached to a body, and it wasn't mine)...i grabbed a security guard and we chased the person down. Whether it was intentional or just a mix-up i will never know but i very easily could have lost my belongings that day.

  2. Anonymous // Tuesday, May 18, 2010 9:56:00 AM  

    I've always said there are two kinds of luggage - carry on and lost.

    I also haven't checked a bag in years and never intend to unless forced to. Our family spent a month in Europe the summer of 2008. We each took one carry on bag and still had more than we needed. We took a week of clothing and did laundry at the end of week 1, 2 & 3. We arrived home at the end of week 4 in our last clean clothes. Do you really want to be carrying month old dirty clothes at the end of your holiday? Ick.

  3. megan // Friday, May 28, 2010 8:02:00 PM  

    Use key rings and loop them to keep your zippers together. technically not a lock but can be opened if the TSA thinks there's something wrong inside...alway put a card with your address inside your bag as well.

  4. Jennifer // Saturday, May 29, 2010 2:11:00 AM  

    It happened to me on a train journey,at a station ,when someone from behind walked away with my luggage while I was busy with my breakfast.It was good that I chanced to glance at the platform and yo!I saw a similar luggage walking out and I looked back to check mine.

  5. Mel B // Sunday, May 30, 2010 2:23:00 PM  

    I have no choice but to check my bag. As someone w/ curly hair there are 'liquids' I use in my daily routine that have to be checked. Not to mention the hair-dryer at most hotels won't cut it. My laptop/camera comes on the plane with me. I always put a cheap lock on my bag, that way I dont care if the TSA wants to clip it. I travel at least twice a yr, often internationally- they never have clipped my lock.