You do want to take some measures to prevent lost luggage on your trip. Lost luggage is a nightmare you really don't want to deal with when you're starting your long awaited vacation. Here are some tips to prevent lost luggage:
The absolute best way to keep from losing your luggage it to carry it on. It's also a way to save money on domestic flights since most airlines now charge to check bags. We've always advocated that you really don't need to travel with more than one bag each, but you have to plan for this and have the discipline to avoid that "just in case" syndrome.
If you must check your luggage, there are some things that you can do to help make sure it arrives with you, or that you will at least be able to survive until it is reunited with you.
Survive without your luggage? Yes, you can if you must. First of all when you're packing, pack as though your checked luggage will be lost. Don't pack expensive or hard to replace items in your checked bag.
Put prescriptions, jewelry, cameras, and computers in your carry-on luggage. Your cash, credit cards, and travel documents should be with you also, either in your carry-on bag, or when you're not using them, in a safe place like in a money belt. It's better not to travel with expensive jewelry in the first place. No need to call attention to yourself.
Now to prevent lost luggage.... once you have your bags packed, make sure they all have the proper identification. Name tags are required for all luggage whether it is to be checked or carried on. You can put a tag of your own on your bag or write your identification on one of those paper tags that airlines supply.
Either of these can get torn off as checked bags are moving up and down conveyor belts in the airport, so to make sure that airline agents can identify your bag for you should it be lost, it's a good idea to put your name, address and phone number inside the bag as well.
We actually write ours in permanent markers on the inside of the suitcase itself... even our carry on bags. If you are just starting your trip, a copy of your itinerary with phone contacts can help get your bag to you on the road.
It is a good idea to take these precautions with bags that you think you will be carrying on because sometimes you will find that rules have changed, or that they are stricter abroad... and what you thought you could carry on, you will be required to check.
Some airlines allow only a certain number of "wheel aboard" bags on the plane, and when they reach their limit, they will gate check your bag. You probably won't have to pay for this, but there it is checked when you didn't plan on that.
There is no way to completely prevent lost luggage, but if you use these few common sense tips, you have a better chance of getting it back quickly, and still enjoy your trip without it.