Thursday, July 7, 2016

To Check or Not To Check...That is the Question

You’ve decided to check your bag. Are you thinking of putting everything in it? I hope not. Why? Check out this statistic…the value of missing items in checked bags between 2010 and 2014 is over $2.5 million, according to a report by CNN. Whoa!

Let’s talk about what you don’t want to put in your checked bag.

No valuables…that seems pretty obvious, but some of the items in that $2.5 million were gold watches and rings, iPads, cameras, and family heirlooms. Bottom line, don’t put anything in your checked bag you don’t want to lose…forever. Don’t put anything of great monetary value there, either.

Let’s say you have to gate check your bag. Remember to remove your laptops, tablets, phones, prescription meds, passport, jewelry, etc.

Another obvious one…don’t pack any items which are on the TSA prohibited list. This means certain types of batteries, like loose lithium ones, must be in your carry on. TSA website has a list of prohibited items, in case you’re not sure.

Liquids…some are necessary to pack in your checked bag. Just be careful how and where you put them. Think about sealing the top with duct tape, placing it in a re-sealable bag, and cushioning with bubble wrap. That way, if something does break or spill, most of the liquid will stay in the bag and not on your clothes.

Alcohol…same thing. Put it in a bag, wrap it in bubble wrap, and place it well on the inside of your bag.

All of your clothes…don’t put them all in your checked bag. Again, it seems obvious, but you’d be surprised. Not only do you want a change of underwear if your bag gets sent to Greenland instead of Greece, but a sweater or shawl in the airport or on the plane might come in handy.

Now, let’s talk about taking care of your checked bag.

Do you use a TSA approved lock? If your lock is not TSA approved, it will be ripped off. Seriously. So, how do you know if it’s approved by the TSA? If will say so on the label.

Is your bag marked? With so many bags looking alike at the baggage claim carousel, yours may be inadvertently grabbed by someone else. Put some colored tape on the handle, tie a small ribbon around the handle, use a unique baggage tag, or anything to make it stand out as yours. The next time you shop for luggage, look at a color other than black or navy. My latest bag was on a deep clearance due to its color…it’s a dark pink and gray. The price was right and I haven’t seen another one like it.

 How much does your bag weigh? If you’re over the weight limit, the charge could be hefty. And, if you bag weighed 49 ½ pounds at home…it could weigh more at the airport. Why? Scales aren’t always accurate. Allow some room, or pack two bags.

Check all the zippers and pockets on your bag and make sure there isn’t anything hanging out or there are no straps to catch on something.

Have fun…

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