Identifying Your Luggage

Always put a large piece of paper inside your bags with contact info and names. Put the contact info in for the whole trip, with dates. You can write the important info in black marker in the middle of the paper, circle it, and let your child crayon the surrounding space. A big piece of paper leaves lots of crayon room and makes it easier for someone opening your lost case to see who to call.

It does you no good standing in Rome when a well-meaning person is trying to find you by calling your home number in Ohio. We make up a list that says “From February 18 through 24, Hyatt Lisbon, tel. 123-456-6789, then Ye Olde Guest House in London, March 3-12, tel. 456-7890-2345”.

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Make it as easy as possible for someone trying to help find you. As for home numbers inside luggage, consider using your business number or a friend's number instead. First of all, while you are traveling, calling you at home is obviously useless. A business number will likely have a receptionist, answering machine or someone who knows you who can take the call.

There is also potentially more safety involved in not giving out your home number as an advertisement to any would-be thief wondering how long your house will be empty. You or your contact person in the U.S. can give out your home address after chatting with the Good Samaritan caller and deciding that s/he is indeed Good, er, good. Don't put your home street address on the outside of the suitcase (use a business address instead).

In other words, don't bet the house that a baggage handler in Budapest does not have a would-be thief friend in your hometown. It's a small world some days.

Wrap each suitcase with a belt or rope to reinforce the locks and catches. If the case breaks open on the baggage carrousel, nobody will be happy looking at your underwear. The belt or rope, in a nice bright color, also makes the bag easier to spot.

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