Something we’ve discovered at lockr is the large incidence of loss and crime that people suffer when they travel. Many wouldn’t realise it but some $2.6bn worth of luggage goes missing every year. At JFK alone more than 200 bags are lost every single day. Moreover, bags are often stolen or even tampered with at some locations exposing travellers to untold risks. While this may sound horrifying there are a few simple things that you can do to avoid having your trip ruined.
Clearly mark your travel bags
Sometimes your bag actually arrives at the destination but because it looks like a multitude of other bags, someone else may have claimed it. Travel takes its toll with many flights being long and tiring and people are jet lagged. Everyone is keen to get through customs and immigration. Every now and then we have a brain fade and pick up the wrong bag.
By making your bag distinctive you can help to avoid this simple mistake. It not only makes your bag easier to pick out from among the others, it will assist in preventing the wrong person from accidentally taking your bag.
Book sensible flights
Often travel agents will book us on flights and try to minimise the amount of time we spend in an airport. Unfortunately this also minimises the time that baggage handlers have to transfer your baggage to the next flight.
Of all the baggage that is mishandled, 48% is due to transfer errors. If you spend an extra hour in the airport between flights then this means that the ground crew also has an extra hour to get your bags onto the connecting flight. What’s worse, an additional hour in the airport or arriving at your destination with no bags?
Arrive at the airport early
When we travel many of us are rushing around at the last minute packing bags, organising kids, making sure we have our passports, etc. This can lead to us arriving at the airport at the last minute which means the ground crew are cutting it fine to get our things loaded.
Around 1 in 5 bags that are mishandled never even got on the plane to begin with. Along with booking sensible flights, giving the airport staff a little time to get your bags loaded correctly can save a lot of heartache at the other end of your journey.
Secure your bag properly
With zips being easily opened with a ballpoint pen it makes it quite easy for the less ethical people out there to tamper with your belongings. Let’s face it, if someone want to open your bag they’re probably going to do it regardless of what you do. The point here is to make sure that you are aware of whether your bag has been opened or not.
There are many options out there to lock your bags. Many locks available from travel stores will quickly show evidence of someone tampering with them. Even something as simple as a cable tie will show if someone has been through your things. Some companies even make numbered cable ties so they can’t be replaced easily. No matter what method you use, just make sure it will show evidence of tampering.
Be prepared when you travel
The simple reality is that sometimes things will go wrong no matter what we do. Despite our best efforts our stuff might still go missing either on the plane or after we arrive at our destination. In this instance it’s important to have the right insurances in place.
Research by Southern Cross Travel Insurance shows that around 92% of travellers take their electronic gadgets with them when they travel, however, only two thirds of these people have appropriate insurance cover. What’s more, 60% of travellers have suffered from some form of crime while overseas and 2 out of 3 of these people said that it ruined their trip.
Check your policy to make sure it covers lost baggage and other items that you’re taking. Some policies don’t cover losses if your bags are unattended which may include leaving them with a hotel porter. So make sure you’re covered. It also pays to check policy limits on items such as electronics so you don’t lose out.
And if you have to claim against your policy you will need to have a record of what was in your bags and proof of ownership. Keep a list of what you took with you along with receipts, photo’s or other evidence that you actually owned the items.
Travelling safely isn’t hard. It just means doing a few simple things to lower the risk of losing things and, if the worst does occur, making sure you can recover from it quite quickly.