The One Thing You Should Always Do Before Checking Your Luggage

It’s every traveler’s worst nightmare: you reach your destination, but your baggage doesn’t.

Lost or stolen luggage can really put a damper on your vacation, but there is one thing you can do before you even zip up your suitcase that can make reporting the loss or theft much easier.

If you want to give yourself the best chance of recovering or replacing your lost stuff, be sure to photograph your luggage before you check it.

To do this right, lay everything you’re going to put in your suitcase out on a bed or floor. Make sure all items are visible and identifiable.

Using your phone or a digital camera, snap a few photos of this spread from multiple angles. If you have time, take a short video and identify each item with your voice.

Keep the photos where you can easily access them during your journey, like your wallet or phone. The key here is not to store them in your baggage, for obvious reasons.

If the airline does lose your stuff, you’ll have plenty of evidence showing the condition of your bags and their contents before they went M.I.A. If your baggage is stolen after you leave the airport, you’ll be able to file a complete police report.

For more travel tips and intel, check out this guide to packing the perfect carry-on.