Hey, we’ve all been there, right? You get a great deal on a vacation package or you want to take a trip to visit family or friends. You diligently plan and pack accordingly. You get to your destination and realize that your luggage took a wayward turn somewhere. You end up hanging out in the same clothes you arrived in for several days at the mercy of an airline, or some other transportation authority, hoping that they find your luggage. So here are some tips on how to track your luggage.  I’m hoping this is never necessary but it’s always best to be prepared.

Travel Preparation Tips

Once you have your tickets purchased, get all your documentation ready. Make sure you can easily get your hands on things like hotel reservation numbers, car rental confirmation numbers, flight arrangements. If you have emails regarding your arrangements they can be easily accessible via your smartphone. Alternatively, just print them off but put them in a safe place.

Airline Reservations: double check your reservations 24 hours prior to take off.

Car Rental: Confirm with car rental company that arrangements are in place and that there are no surprises such as changes in the type of car you arranged to rent.

Passports: make sure your passport will not expire while you are traveling. It will be a nightmare to get that sorted out while you are away. And you really don’t want that hassle while you are vacationing. Your passport should be active for no less than 6 months.

Credit Cards: Check to see if your credit card has added benefits such as collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and/or trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance. If not, these may need to be purchased separately.

Travel Insurance: If your credit card company does not provide travel insurance, consider taking out a travel insurance policy that will protect you in case of an accident, trip cancellation or interruption, or lost luggage.

Packing: I have a standard spreadsheet of what I pack when I travel. I review it and make changes to it. Then I’ll print it off.  It has a column for departing and returning and I check items off as I gather them together. This also helps when I’m packing to return home. Anything I buy while away gets added to the list so I don’t forget to pack it. I also make a note of where specific items are packed such as passports and travel documents, electronic items, etc. Be careful not to pack anything breakable or anything valuable in your luggage. Once I get everything together that I need to pack. I then lay it all out on my bed and take a picture of it. Overkill? Perhaps.

Arrive on time: arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Yes, I know it can be boring. Once you are checked in you are left to wander around until your flight is called. International flights require that you arrive 3 hours prior to takeoff. While this may seem excessive, it allows you plenty of time to navigate crowds and getting through security checkpoints.

Allow plenty of time between flights: From time to time, things go wrong and flights get delayed. Save yourself the anxiety and make sure you have plenty of time between flights.

Unique Luggage Identifiers

It’s easier to spot your luggage if it looks unique to the rest of the pack. I’m not saying you should go out and buy custom-made luggage. There are a few simple things you can do to make your luggage easier to identify.

  • Add a ribbon, sticker or even make a mark on your luggage with indelible marker.
  • Make sure you have name tags that are good and sturdy
  • Your name tags should be easy to read so that when it’s found, it will get to you faster
  • Take a picture of your luggage before you check it in. I like to take a picture of my luggage because if my suitcase has any unique markings, it will hopefully be easier to find.
  • Take measurements of your luggage both in inches and centimeters. Again, this is handy to know because it’s sometimes difficult to tell how big a suitcase is based on a picture.
  • Also, don’t forget to weigh your luggage beforehand so there are no surprises when you check it in at the airport.

So now you know what you should do to prepare your luggage before your trip using unique luggage identifiers. But what if your luggage ends up being lost in transit? Then what do you do? What are your options?  Maybe it’s time to track your luggage as well.

How to Track Your Luggage

There are now some really cool products on the market that allow you to track your luggage. Not to mention, prices for these trackers are pretty reasonable. I found some great products that you can check out.

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