Nearly 20 million bags go missing at airports across the world.

Be prepared for the worst.

Take a photo of your bag once it is packed, so you can see everything inside and exactly what it looks like on the outside.

This will help airlines and airports identify your specific bag if lost.

Make a packing list template.

Write down everything you pack into your bag.

This will help with travel insurance claims.

The best bags are the ones that are well constructed with combination zips and fastening, along with internal combination locks, rather than ones you add later.

Select the best bag for the type of travel intended.

Suitcases with wheels are great for even surfaces but no good for backpacking adventures.

Advanced plastic and composite bags are great for urban commuting but more flexible fabric bags are better for less developed, non-urban travel.

Wheels and extendable handles are a must these days.

Carry your most valuable items on your person or in your carry-on luggage.

Make sure it is securable too. 

Passports and valuables can be stolen at airports and even inflight.

Your bags go through automated and manual sorting and handling once checked in, depending largely on the airport and country where you check in.

It can range from highly sophisticated and technology-driven processes in developed countries to a couple of guys with a trolly in less developed countries or airports.

Ultimately they end up in the aircraft you are travelling in but it doesn’t always pan out that way.

Be prepared for all contingencies, including your bags sitting in the rain for some locations. 

The best way to mark your bag is to put a high contrast adhesive (stickers) marker/s on your bag, about the size of a dinner plate.

Tags and straps get caught on stuff all the time and can destroy your bag.

You can even write on the sticker in code.

“B9$” written on high visibility sticker will ensure you find your bag without giving away your personal details. 

Pack your stuff in packing cubes.

If you get searched, not all your belongings are then taken out for public display.

It also helps the officials identify exactly where and what to search, in smaller parcels. 

There are some great personal tracking tokens available now.

Add one in your bag and keep updated on its location as you travel.

It also ensures your bag doesn’t start walking off without you either at check-in or arrivals.

Great for keeping track of members of your group or family too in new cities or big airports. 

Zippers on bags can be opened by simply using a pen or pencil.

There is even a YouTube video explaining how to do it.

Don’t be overconfident with the protection afforded by zippers.

Old school clips and locks aren’t as easy to access as a result.

Cling film covering of luggage is a waste of time and money.

Buy better bags and locks. 

TSA locks have been hacked.

The master keys were published online and anyone with a 3D printer can print them out and open your bag like a government official, without your permission or knowledge.

For more travel safety tips and hacks, ask the experts at

Safe by choice, not by chance.

Travel Safety Expert
Travel Safety Expert

Travel health, safety, security and risk management professional.