Most often I check my luggage since I do not want to drag it through the airports, especially when some of the gates are very far from the curb! Or if I have to run to make the connecting flight! To me a little more cost is well worth the convenience. But is the luggage safe? Not recently, but in the past I have often had my luggage opened and items taken. Beyond the anger at having something stolen is the distasteful sense of violation that strangers have rummaged through my most person possessions usually dirty clothes! So what to do?
– Fly only with carry-ons, and keep tabs of them when they go through security.
– Pack irreplaceable items and medication in your carry-on.
– Buy a TSA-approved lock for your bag.
– Put the name of your arrival address in the checked luggage.
– Do not put your home address on luggage tags, the world does not need to know you are out of town and therefore ‘come rob me’.
– Use an airport luggage-wrapping service.
– Ship luggage; there are many services: FedEx or DHL, or Lugless.
– Put unique identifying tags, stickers, or bows on your luggage.
– Keep track of you luggage claim tags, just in case.
– Leave your expensive jewelry at home or wear it.
– Make sure the checked luggage tag has the name of your arrival city and any connecting city.
– Do not check cash.
And as for cash, travel with very little. There are almost always ATM machines at the other end of your journey. They give money in the local currency. I only once got stuck without cash and that was in rural Egypt 20 years ago.
Photo copy all your documents and put them in a separate place and leave a copy at home. Lastly, take a list of all the items in your checked luggage and leave it at home. If you are in a foreign country you might consider opening your luggage before you leave the airport to double check. If something is missing, report it immediately at the airport. The same if your luggage is missing, report it immediately and get tracking numbers. And of course let me know, sometimes I can assist.