We've learned a lot about packing in well over 20 years in the travel industry. It's hard to resist the temptation to take too much. Always leave some room for those souvenirs you want to take back. For our Alaska trips, we have a bon voyage party where we share lot's of packing tips. Here are a few brief tips on what not to pack in your checked bag.
Electronics –This is not something that was much of an issue when we started in this business, but today many of us could fill up lots of space with all our gadgets. Ever look out the plane window to see how they handle your luggage? Consider this is just one step in the process of your travels. The chances of something breaking is pretty high no matter how well you think you have secured them. Keep them with you at all times and you won’t have to worry.
Important Documents – Paperwork that is important for your trip and personal records should stay with you or in your carry-on. Everything including your travel protection plan information, itinerary, airline and accommodation details, ID cards, passports, and any other documents that may be essential for your trip should be with you at all times. If you want to pack any of these in your checked bag, make sure they are photocopy versions.
Medication – Unfortunately it is not a rare experience for us to try to help connect people with a pharmacy because of lost or forgotten medication. Never pack any important medications or prescriptions in your checked baggage. Your luggage usually reaches your destination at the same time you do, but occasional lost luggage is the reality of travel. It can be a huge hassle to replace it if it does go missing. More importantly, you may be without vital medications when you need them most.
Money– Always keep your cash, checkbook, and credit cards with you or in your carry-on bag at all times during your trip. Although your luggage should be safe when you check it at the gate, your bags do go through the hands of many different people and are placed in several different locations. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Valuables –Whether it is expensive jewelry or an heirloom that was passed down from generations in your family, the rule of thumb should always be if it is irreplaceable in your mind, do not put it in your suitcase! In fact, you may consider whether you would feel better leaving it safe at home.
We have lots more tips and tricks, but a good trip can be as much about what you decide not to put in that bag.