4 tips and tricks for flying with checked bags: 'Luggage will get lost'

With summer travel already in full swing, Fox News Digital spoke to experts to learn some of their tricks and tips for making sure that a checked bag arrives safely to its destination.

Airports are busier than they have been in years, meaning there are a lot more people who will be checking bags on their flights. 

Here is what travel experts recommend doing — and avoiding — so that a vacation does not begin by waiting in a line at a lost luggage office at the airport. 

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“Direct flights are the best bet if you want your luggage to get to the right destination,” Richard Campbell, founder of Calgary-based travel company 10Adventures, told Fox News Digital via email. 

If a direct flight is not possible and a bag has to be checked, Campbell recommended having at least 90 minutes between flights. 

“If I have two or more stopovers, I assume I won’t get my luggage when I get to my final destination,” he said. 

Nikita Kosholkin, co-founder and CMO of the tool App in the Air, told Fox News Digital that he personally is OK with a 45-minute layover, but also noted, “It’s better if it’s over an hour.” 

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“There is a limited amount of time that a bag can actually travel due to logistics at the airport,” he said. 

“Even if you can make your next flight, your bag might not.”

Packing lightly, even for a checked bag, can actually help ensure that a bag makes it to its destination, Jeremy Murchland, president of Seven Corners Travel Insurance, told Fox News Digital. The company is based in Indiana. 

A person who overpacks may wind up scrambling at the check-in gate to make sure a bag is under the weight limit — something Murchland said is “just asking for problems.” 

“You’ll lose items in the shuffle or perhaps damage them if they aren’t repacked securely. Plus, you’re now stuck juggling loose belongings that you might not have even needed in the first place,” he said.

Additionally, a bag that is oversized or heavy is not treated the same way as standard-sized bags, he said. Instead, it will be picked up at a different location at baggage claim. 

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“Any time your luggage has to be routed differently or go through a different process than normal, you run a higher risk of losing your bag, so stay within the recommended limits set by your airline,” he said. 

Many suitcases look similar — which means that someone who is not careful may go home with someone else’s things. 

“After a transatlantic flight, everybody is tired, and it’s so easy to grab the wrong suitcases at the luggage carousel,” said Campbell. 

To avoid this, Campbell puts stickers on both sides of his “basic black suitcase,” as well as a yellow pompom — which he puts away as soon as he collects his bag. 

Dominic Brown, a Richmond-based food and travel blogger, also uses identifiers on his luggage. 

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“Whether I’m traveling domestically or abroad, I use luggage straps to ensure that my luggage does not get lost in the airport,” he told Fox News Digital in an email. 

These straps, he said, help make his suitcase stand out from other “basic colored suitcase sets.” 

Brown, who owns the website TallTravelEats, has traveled across several continents — and told Fox News Digital that since he began using luggage straps, he has not lost a bag during his travels. 

But Brown warned that to avoid any surprises at the airport, a traveler should ensure that the luggage straps are TSA-approved. 

Another suggestion is that travelers consider using AirTags or other similar tracking products to make sure their bags make it onto the plane. 

AirTags, made by Apple, have to be set up with an iPhone or iPad, but the product can be tracked using an app that is available in the Google Play store. 

Other tracking devices such as Tile are not tied to a particular operating system. 

“Luggage will get lost, and often the airlines have no idea where it is,” said Campbell. 

“I want to help them out, so I use AirTags, so I can find a lost piece of luggage and show it to the airline.”

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Like all technology, AirTags are not entirely perfect, said Campbell.

“The first time I [used an AirTag in a checked bag], I almost had a heart attack as I flew out of London, but my bags were still showing up in another part of Heathrow,” he said.

“Turns out, AirTags can’t update in parts of the airport where there is no signal.” 

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