Do's and Don'ts of Checked Luggage

Friday, January 6, 2017

I will be traveling soon. And as such, I've been thinking about what I've been wanting to pack.

While I usually pack via carry-on luggage only, there are times when I do need to pack a checked bag. A checked bag has tons of advantages: you can usually pack more, you have the convenience of not having to lug a heavy bag from terminal to terminal, and you usually don't have to bother with overhead compartments on planes.

All this being said, there are things you should consider when you pack checked luggage.

  • Purchase a suitcase that’s unique. Black suitcases are lost so much easier than, say, a powder blue one. Plus, if you do lose your luggage, you will have to describe your bag to airport employees, and if you just say that it’s a “black bag,” they will have to search a sea of black bags to find yours. At the very least, tie a ribbon or use a unique/colorful luggage tag to stand out from the crowd, and take a picture of your bag and save it to your phone so you can show the TSA employees your bag in case it does get lost or delayed.
  • Purchase a suitcase with four wheels. Spinners are the best for getting across airports in a hurry, and it’s easier on your arms to not have to drag a suitcase behind you for long distances.
  • Pack your checked bag with goodies not suitable for your carry-on, like aerosols (hairspray, shaving cream, and the like), food, etc.
  • On that note, make sure all of your liquids are in zip-lock bags. It doesn’t matter what size the bags are for your checked bag, but having them in separate bags keeps things from getting messy if your toiletries or makeup or hair products happen to explode or otherwise leak due to the altitude pressure while flying.
  • Pack your checked bag with a photocopy of your passport and driver’s license, even if you’re traveling domestically. Better safe than sorry.
  • Pack your checked bag as efficiently as you can. Use packing cubes to save space while packing clothes, place your shoes in separate bags (I like foldable fabric tote bags), and pack a separate empty bag for your laundry.
  • Fold a duffel bag into your checked baggage for extra souvenirs if you can. Some airlines will allow you to check at least one bag for free, but check your airline’s policies on checked bags if this is something you’re considering doing.

  • Overpack. I know it’s easier said than done, but you will be thankful that you saved space when you bring souvenirs back and/or do extra clothes shopping while at your destination.
  • Pack too large of a bag for or pack a bag that doesn’t fit your circumstances. Does your hotel have an elevator? If not, you might not want to pack a suitcase half your height. Will you be dragging your suitcase across cobblestone roads or long stretches of sidewalk? If so, it would be best to carry a durable suitcase with wheels as opposed to hauling a heavy duffel bag.
  • Pack all of your valuables in your checked bag. Save your electronics, chargers, and other items important to you for your carry-on, because you never know if your checked bag will get lost or stolen.
  • Forget to set aside an extra outfit for your carry-on. See previous point.
  • Pack super-expensive jewelry, unless you plan to wear it daily. Ex: engagement/wedding rings (and even then, an inexpensive band may be your best bet depending on the country you fly into).

Do you prefer to travel via carry-on only? Or do you like checking your bag the best? Let me know in the comments! :)


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