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Help your luggage find you!

The most worrisome thing about flying is loosing your luggage. Even if you pack ultra smart and don't check anything, sometimes your bag ends up in the belly of the plane anyway. I've heard stories of travelers having to check their larger carry-on because the plane was full. Talk about stressful travelling!
So far, I've been really lucky, never having had a bag get lost in transit, but that doesn't make me feel much better about the whole thing. What about luggage tags? They are definitely a good idea, but all the conveyor belts your bag travels down can easily rip off your tags. I've taken a few precautions to make it easy for the airline to figure out that it belongs to me and what they should do with it if the airline label or my luggage tag comes off.

1. Take a sharpie to your stuff. My big yellow North Face duffel bag has my name, cell phone number and email address written in large black letters on the top; a very visible location. There are a few bags that I wouldn't want my name plastered all over the outside of, so I've written the same information inside of the bag in a very visible place. If anyone opens the bag, they'll see my information.

2. Create a word document with your name, phone number, email address, and if you like, your mailing address. Beneath that, put contact information for use in the place you are going. I included my boss's name and email address in UAE in addition to my own. Then, lay out your itinerary. Make it very easy to read. Include the date, airline, the flight number, where the flight leaves and lands. I use a large font with plenty of room between lines of type. If the tags the airline prints and sticks to your stuff gets ripped off, the first thing the luggage handler will do is look inside your bag. Make it easy for them to find.