Whether you’re taking a plane, train or cruise to a destination, there’s a definite chance that you’ll be checking in a bag. As an avid traveler, I’ve seen it all from personal belongings stolen out of bags to lost luggage. It’s not something you should expect to happen, however, it is something you should be aware of and take as many necessary precautions to prepare for the event if it does happen.

These 7 tips are very helpful to help protect your belongings in the unlikely event of a luggage crisis.

1. Use a lock on all checked-in bags

This is something you don’t want to learn the hard way. Think about this, if your bag doesn’t have a lock on it, as soon as it’s checked in, anyone and everyone has access to what’s inside.  If you notice something missing, it’s near impossible to prove it while disputing it with the airline/train/cruise ship.  If flying, make sure it’s TSA Approved. You can find these at most airports.

2. Keep a nametag with phone number/address on all bags

This is one of the most important to do. Luggage may automatically come with a tag/card slip to place your personal information. If your bags are lost and taken by someone else by mistake, this will help them locate you to return your bag.

3. Put something on your bag to make it stand out from others, to avoid someone mistakenly grab your bag.

How many people have basic black luggage? How about basic red? Blue? The point is that when you’re in a rush, it’s very easy to grab a bag that may look like yours, but isn’t. For this reason, put something on your bag to make it easy to identify. This could be something similar to a ribbon on the handle or a personalized luggage tag.

4. Keep all valuable Items on the very bottom on your bag and/or wrapped up.

If you’re packing something valuable, don’t make it easily noticeable on the top of your bag. This may be jewelry, passports, money, etc. Be sure to wrap it up and place underneath everything in your suitcase.

5. Hard cover bags protect better than soft bags.

Usually, hard-covered luggage protects your personal items within the bag. If you’re carrying glass bottles or other delicate items inside, using hard-covered luggage will help keep them from breaking in the event that your bag gets dropped.

6.  Never leave your bags unattended.

Even if you notice that there aren’t many people around, and you want to grab a bottle of water from one of the convenience areas, always make sure there is someone you trust watching your personal belongings. 

7. Keep the bag claim ticket in a safe spot, to track your bag incase it gets lost.

If you checked-in a bag(s) and you received a baggage claim ticket, DO NOT throw this away until you picked up all of your bags from a baggage claim. The number on this claim ticket will help locate your bag in the event that it does get lost or misplaced.

What do you do to keep your suitcases safe? Share with us in the comments or using #drivethenation.