NEW YORK — Lost luggage can be a traveler's nightmare.

Airlines are doing a much better job of keeping up with baggage, but it can still happen.

The airlines credit technology for getting a leg up on lost luggage, like radio frequency-ID tags within bag tags.

"They know step by step where that bag is at any given moment," says 'Points Guy' travel expert Scott Mayerowitz. 

Many, including American, also offer free smartphone apps also help you track your bag, down to the moment it's placed on your plane.

"You would be alerted by a text message or email that your bag was somehow delayed," says American Airlines vice president Jim Moses.

Still, passengers can help prevent lost bags and easy recovery.

Conspicuously place your itinerary or business card inside your checked bag, and remove all old bag tags and barcodes.

Also, always carry valuables, medications and car keys in carry-ons.

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