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Worried about your bag getting stolen in baggage claim? Nearly 60 percent of 1,830 people who responded to an online TripAdvisor poll said they always or often were concerned about the security of their luggage in the baggage-claim area. Only 11 percent said they were never concerned.

Here are steps you can take to protect your possessions, gleaned from research and chats with security experts:

1. Don't check bags. : Pack lightly and use a carry-on.

2. Keep valuables with you. : On domestic flights, the law usually caps compensation for lost or damaged bags at $3,300 per passenger, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

3. Make your bag stand out. : Criminals go after the nondescript, common bag.

4. Use cheap luggage. : Why flash your cash?

5. Don't dally. : March down to baggage claim as soon as you get off the plane.

6. Fly nonstop. : The more connections that you make, the greater the chance that your bags may be errantly routed.

7. Stay alert. : It's tempting to step away from a cart stacked high with your luggage to grab one last bag from the carousel, but an unguarded cart is equally tempting to a thief.

8. Avoid switching flights. : If you check in for a flight at the airport and then get on a later one instead, your bag may remain on the original flight and arrive at baggage claim hours before you do.

9. File claims promptly. : Airlines generally set time limits for filing reports of missing bags. If you miss the deadline, you may miss the chance to get compensated.

10. Consider insurance. : So-called bundled trip-insurance policies, which combine several types of coverage, typically include at least some compensation for baggage loss.

- Tribune Newspapers

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