Source: Teri Cettina, Real Simple Travel, Illustrations: Klas Fahlen
When You Get Out Your Suitcase
Remove your home address from your luggage tag and add your cell-phone number.
Most of us dutifully write our full name, home phone, and address on our tags, but that reveals too much, says Anne McAlpin, a packing expert and the author of Pack It Up: The Essential Guide to Organized Travel.
Instead, print your first initial and last name―a safety precaution for women, since it doesn't signal your sex or that you might have jewelry in your bag. Second, omit your address. It tells a potentially unscrupulous baggage handler, "No one's home." Third, skip your home phone (which isn't much use when you're not home) in favor of your e-mail address and cell-phone number. Other information to include on the airline's paper ID tags (which you can update for each trip): a phone number for (1) your first hotel and (2) a friend or a relative at home who can reach you.
If Your Bag Goes Missing
File an in-person report at the baggage-claim office right away. If your trip has just begun, ask for a toiletries kit or a voucher for necessities. When you fill out claim paperwork, get a copy of it and write down the phone number for the baggage office; you don’t want to call the airline’s 800 number to follow up, says Marybeth Bond, the author of Best Girlfriends Getaways Worldwide. Then carry on with your trip. “In most cases, it’s the airline’s responsibility to deliver your bag to you―even if you’re hundreds of miles away from the airport,” says Bond.
When You Arrive at a Historic Attraction
Ask the staff for advice about special exhibits, must-see artifacts, and unusual features.
Staff―or, in a pinch, security guards―can often point out little-known gems. They might even suggest a way for you to tour the facility (“Go to the third floor and work your way back down”) without getting swept up in the crowds, says Dave Fox, a guide for the tour company Europe Through the Back Door. Another tip: Hit popular sites at lunchtime, rather than first thing in the morning, when tour buses arrive.