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How to Not Lose Your Luggage Like Gayle King Did After Partying With Oprah

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Television personality and journalist Gayle King’s family vacation got off to a bumpy start after her checked bags were accidentally sent to the wrong airport.

After best friend Oprah Winfrey threw her a birthday party, 65-year-old King left Los Angeles ready to meet her two suitcases in Mexico. But she instead learned they were on their way to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, she wrote on Instagram

“This is what people look like who have carry on luggage when they land in Mexico,” she wrote, sharing an image of three smiling loved ones, all with bags of their own. 

“Swipe left to see me & @alaskaair employee azael try to figure out how a direct flight from la to Mexico sends my bag to JFK,” she continued, sharing another snapshot, this time of herself seated on a luggage carousel as she and two men examine paperwork. “He was very very nice and says the bags are in the system we now have to get them here ... fav daughter @kirbybump says I can wear her bathing suit! Fun!”

By the next day, one of King’s missing bags found its way to her, but she was still without any of her clothes. “Wearing my new dress I bought today because I have NO clothes!” she wrote

Dealing with lost luggage can be a headache, but there are things you can do to prevent a baggage nightmare.

Get Tech-Savvy 

Considering buying a tracking device that can be accessed through a smartphone app. Put one in your luggage so that the suitcase’s location can be spotted on a map. Some devices will even make a chirping sound when the locator is within a 200-foot radius. 

From there, you should be able to locate your bag easily. 

Make Your Bag Stand Out

Putting a bag in a slip-cover can also help you identify it. The cover also does double-duty as it can protect luggage from rain and snow if your suitcase ends up on the tarmac or in an airport flood. 

Leave Nothing to Chance

Never rely solely on the paper name tags airlines provide, as they can tear and leave airport officials without any way of identifying the owner of a bag. 

“Take a piece of duct tape and a big magic marker and write on that duct tape just your name and your cellphone number,” CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg told Inside Edition. “Not your address. Then tape it on the inside of your bag. When the outside bag marker is ripped off by the conveyor belt, you can still ID the bag and get it back to you.”

Be Vigilant 

There are precautions that can be taken to avoid another travel nightmare: thieves. Understand what does and doesn’t fall under the airline’s liability responsibilities and pack accordingly. 

“To a luggage thief, anything with a price tag that’s new says eBay,” Greenberg said.

Once you arrive at your destination, be sure to check your bag at baggage claim. 

“Make sure everything you packed in there is still in there,” he said. “The thing to understand about luggage theft is, the thieves don’t steal bags, they steal individual items from those bags.”

Allot For Delays 

A layover, especially one caused by bad weather, can lead to lost luggage, so if you want your bag to make the connecting flight, it's always smart to book a longer layover.

Have Your Belongings Meet You

Another tip is to avoid the airline all together and instead, use FedEx or a courier service to send bags to your final destination.

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