Arrivals/ Departures: Don't be taken for a ride on the carousel

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The Independent Travel
How to ... keep your luggage safe

Although airlines are becoming increasingly vigilant – British Airways began installing hidden surveillance cameras throughout its fleet in April – baggage theft remains a serious problem. Common sense should minimise the risk. Use a suitcase that can be locked or has zips that can be padlocked together. Mark your bag to distinguish it. If you haven't got a monogrammed luggage strap, a piece of ribbon tied round the handle will do. Keep the most valuable items in your hand luggage. Don't take your eyes off your hand luggage and ensure it passes through the X-ray machine at the same time you do. On the plane keep your bag in the overhead compartment rather than beneath your seat. Several airlines are trying out "positive baggage match" carousels, where you have to show a matching ticket to your bag.

Whatever next

Impressed by your hotel room? Well, you may be able to buy most of its furniture. The Four Seasons hotel chain started selling the beds it uses (the Sealy Posturelux 4000) several years ago and other chains have followed suit. Westin Hotels sells about four of its beds every day, costing from $1,300 (£895) for a basic kingsize. American hotels, from Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica to the Old Monterey Inn in north California, are leading the trend; Atlanta's Ritz-Carlton has just opened a "sleep boutique". And British hotels are catching on; guests at Gleneagles can buy bed linen and duvets. W Hotels not only sells beds but also runs a catalogue in which you will find everything from your room's chrome lamps to its leather wastebaskets.

What's hot

While the storm-chasing season winds down, fellow thrill-seekers – volcano-watchers – will have had a busy few weeks. Ash from Mount Etna caused Sicily's Catania airport to close for a short period last week, but many tourists had a ring-side view of the current eruption, the most violent since 1992. "We're enjoying it," reported one. "It's like fireworks." Alessandra Smith of the Italian State Tourist Board said: "At the moment there is no threat to the tourist resorts, but the situation can change very quickly."

Volcano tourism is well established all over the world. Costa Rica has a high concentration of active volcanoes; the hot-spring resorts at the base of Arenal are perennially popular. Kilauea, on Hawaii's Big Island, is justifiably billed as "perhaps the world's most active volcano" – it has been erupting continuously since 1983 and it even has its own Volcano Village. Aptly, the Hawaiian name translates as "spewing".

What's not

If you are flying into Seattle's Tacoma International airport, New York's La Guardia airport or Los Angeles International airport you have at least a 30 per cent chance of a delay, according to new US government figures. One quarter of inbound flights to other airports, including Boston, San Francisco, Chicago O'Hare and New York JFK, are also late. It is the first time that late flights have been collated by airports rather than airlines, and delays of more than 15 minutes are as endemic in the US as they are in Europe. The causes are also strikingly similar. In April the Federal Aviation Administration reported that airlines had scheduled so many flights from certain airports that it was impossible for all the planes to take off or land on time.

Souvenir of the week: carpets

Most visitors to Morocco will have to run a gauntlet of carpet-sellers. There will be an offer of mint tea, an entreaty to have "just a look" – and then the hard sell. Carpet designs and colours vary from region to region, with antique carpets, the hardest to find, fetching the highest prices. Rabat is the centre of Moroccan carpet-making but excellent tribal rugs (kilims, zanafis and shedwis) can be found in souks around Marrakesh. The price and quality of a carpet are based on the number of knots per square metre, with good examples fetching £1,000. But you should be able to negotiate £30 to £50 for a kilim. The best tactic is to buy directly from the weaver, cutting out the middleman and his mint tea.

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