Nothing derails a vacation or work trip faster than lost luggage. You carefully packed each bag, were meticulous in your packing technique, paid the fees at check-in, but you are left empty handed at the baggage carousel. And there’s no clear indication of when you can expect your bags to arrive at your destination. But BlueOrange, a travel agency based in New York City, has tips and ideas for how you can avoid lost luggage, so you can start your vacation right away.

Check in Early

Yes, it is recommended that you arrive at the airport ahead of your flight to ensure you make it through security, but consider getting there even earlier if you plan on checking a bag. The extra time will ensure the baggage handlers, who work to get luggage onto the correct planes in time for take-off, won’t rush when it comes to loading your bag. So it’s more likely to get where it needs to go.

Use the Desk

When you check-in, avoid the curb-side baggage handler and even the self-check-in kiosk. Instead visit the person at the ticket counter and let them label and take your luggage. By avoiding the curb-side check-in, you are cutting down on the number of people who handle your bags, and that means there is less opportunity for misplaced bags. And when you avoid the self-check-in line, you are letting more experienced and professional hands attached your identification stickers. Practice makes perfect, even when it comes to baggage tags.

Label Your Bag Clearly

Yes, you do need a luggage tag with your contact information, but also think about adding a unique strap or ribbon to your bag to make it stand out. So many suitcases look the same today, and it is easy to get confused after an exhausting day of travel. Make sure your luggage stands out in a crowd with a bold or unique add-on.

Avoid the Shortest Layover

Think about your bags when you make your travel plans. A quick layover might sound ideal to get where you’re going faster, but while you are running from gate to gate, your bags might still be trapped on your first flight. Give yourself and your bags time to get where they need to be with a longer layover, and you make sure your suitcases arrive when you do. Even better yet, fly direct when it is possible.

Always Include Your Itinerary

Print an extra copy of your itinerary before you travel and slip it into an exterior pocket. The airport’s luggage tags can be ripped off or damaged, making it hard to know what bag goes where. But with your travel plans tucked inside, you make it easier for baggage handlers to get your luggage to you faster. For extra travel peace-of-mind, include your contact information with your itinerary.

Remove Old Luggage Tags

If you’re a frequent traveler, then be sure to remove any old tags and stickers from your previous trips. Make sure that your current flight’s information and labels are easily found, secured correctly and unmistakable. Don’t create any extra confusion about where and when your luggage should arrive.

Photograph and Document

When you finish packing, make sure to take photos of the interior and exterior of your suitcase. This ensures that it can be found more quickly if it is misplaced or slowed down. This process can also help you file a claim if you bag is permanently lost.

When you have to check your bags, take the steps to ensure your luggage arrives when you do. Follow these simple tips from New York travel agency BlueOrange, and be confident your suitcase will be at the baggage carousel at your destination. And contact BlueOrange to start planning your next business or leisure trip.