Whenever possible, travel with just one carry-on bag. You will be amazed, with proper planning, how little you really need to take along and how much it easier it makes your trip. By not having to check baggage, you are much less likely to suffer theft, damage or lost luggage.
Also, you don't have to get to the airport as early. Flight delays, overbooking, changes in schedule and missed connections all instantly become less of a worry. You can volunteer to be "bumped" on full flights because you have with you all you need. You will be among the first to get out of the airport. While others wait for their baggage and endure long customs lines, you can be boarding your train, bus or taxi. And when you reach your hotel, if the person at reception has lost your reservation or quotes too high a price, you can simply walk out.
Living out of one bag on an overseas trip is easier if you pack mostly disposable items. Clothing, toiletries, the book you’ve been reading may often be left with the hotel concierge for donation to a worthwhile charity, leaving you the necessary space for the souvenirs and gifts you want to take home.
Remember that some articles, packed in baggage, can be dangerous in the air. Many are also illegal to take on board. Among these are aerosols (polishes, hair sprays), corrosives (wet cell batteries), flammables (lighter fluid), explosives (loaded firearms), compressed gases (tear gas), poisonous materials and matches.
Once on board, be sure to stow your bag safely. If the overhead bin is too high for you or the bag too heavy, get the help of the flight attendant. There’s no sense traveling with a sore back or bumped head when you don’t need to. Similarly, listen to the safety instructions and be careful in removing the bag at the end of the trip
If you need to put the bag under the seat in front of you, sit down first. Trying to push a bag under the seat while standing in the aisle or leaning over a seat back can quickly result in back sprain or even a cracked rib. Better to nudge the bag forward with your hands and feet after you are already seated.
Despite the best of intentions, it is often necessary to travel with more luggage than you can carry aboard. In that case, sooner or later, a bag will be misrouted and you will be stranded.
So that this will not be too much of an inconvenience, hand carry medications, toiletries, cameras, and even some underwear
Divide your clothes with your traveling companions--for example put some of "his" and some of "hers" in each suitcase should one bag become lost. Don’t put jewelry, valuables, important documents or liquor in checked bags.
To minimize the chances of your bag getting lost, label all bags inside and out. Allow enough time for transfers. Try not to book your flights with 1-1/2 hour or less time between connections. Watch the gate attendant put the routing tag on your bag, check to see that the tag on the bag matches your claim tag, and watch to see that the bag is put on the conveyor to the airplane.
If in spite of all this, your bag is lost, report it promptly. Don’t leave the airport without filling out a report. It helps if you have an inventory of what is in your bag.
When all else fails, here are some Lost Luggage Hotlines:
- Aeromexico -- 800-237-6639
- Air Canada -- 888-689-2247
- Air France -- 800-873-2247
- Alaska -- 800-252-7522
- Alitalia -- 800-905-9992
- American -- 800-535-5225
- British Airways-- 800-828-8144
- Continental -- 800-335-2247
- Delta -- 800-325-8224
- El Al -- 800-223-6700
- Frontier -- 800-432-1359
- Hawaiian -- 800-367-5320
- Japan -- 800-525-3663
- KLM -- 888-421-6681
- Korean -- 800-438-5000
- Lufthansa -- 877-234-3449
- Mexicana -- 800-631-6090
- Northwest -- 800-225-2525
- TWA -- 800-221-2000
- United -- 800-221-6903
- US Airways -- 800-371-4771
- Virgin Atlantic -- 800-862-8621