10 packing guidelines for your trips

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If only packing was as simple as throwing a bunch of stuff in a suitcase and dashing off to the airport! There are many TSA guidelines that are essential for you to know, along with many other things you need to take into consideration while packing for your trip such as things you can do to help yourself in the event of your suitcase getting lost and ways to help prevent that simply traumatic experience from occurring.

1. Take off old airline tags – You don’t need the tags from all the places that you have flown to previously on there and it could lead to confusion for the airline staff, which in the worst case scenario could end up at a previous destination! Just remember with airline travel it is always better to be safe than sorry!

2. Put your contact information inside and outside of your bag – If your luggage happens to get lost or stolen, you have far more chance getting it back if you have your contact information inside and outside of your bag.

3. Make your checked luggage unique – In order to make my bag easier to identify on the luggage carousel, I used to use a brightly colored hair scrunchy (yes, I said scrunchy!) tied around my handle. I have now upgraded and bought a bright pink key chain to put on the case. Basically, use something that is easy to spot and will set your bag apart from others.

4. Make sure you know your airline’s bag policy in advance of travelling – Most airlines allow one bag free to check in on international flights and also allow one carry on bag. Domestic flights let you take a bag in flight, but often charge you to check in a bag. Each airline has it’s own policies, for example Jet Blue allows you to check one bag in for free, however if your airline doesn’t you could end up paying up to $100 in fees to check in your bag.

5. Make sure that your two carry on bags are legit carry on items – You are usually allowed two carry on items. One can be a small suitcase or duffle (there are clear size limits, which are enforced) and the other is your personal bag such as a book bag or purse. I have seen many people try to bring two duffles (one being a little smaller than the other) or a duffle and a small suitcase and try to claim the smaller one as their personal bag. That is not going to fly (pun intended!). They will make you check one of the bags in and you will have to pay for it, so don’t try to trick the system, it simply wont work!

6. Try to weigh your bag at home – It is always hard to tell if your bag is over the airlines check in weight limit which is usually 50 pounds. I used to lay it on a scale which is not the most accurate method, however it is certainly a good guide. I recently bought a new bag which has a handle that lights up if it is over the airline weight restriction. It is one of the best things I have ever bought!

7. Check your on board liquid size – You are allowed to bring shampoos, lotions, perfume, etc but it has to be in a bottle no larger than 3.4 ounces. Otherwise, they will throw it out and I know you don’t want to see your favorite perfume or cologne tossed out! I bought 3.4 ounce bottles from a regular drug store in the airline section which came to be extremely handy. I just pour what I need for my trip. Many times you wouldn’t need a whole bottle anyway so it also has the added benefit of saving that all important luggage space.

8. Don’t over stuff your carry on – Many people don’t like to check in so they over stuff their check in bag. There are bag placeholder examples at security and at the gate that they will make you put your bag in, if it doesn’t fit, they will make you check the bag in. It doesn’t matter if the bag itself is the correct size, if it is overstuffed and they see it and you will be out of luck. If you happen to get away with it and get on board with your bag, but it doesn’t fit in the overhead you will have to check it in on the plane.

9. Always bring your valuables on board with you – I never pack anything that I wouldn’t want to lose (not that I would want to lose any of it, but you know what I mean!). Make sure to keep your passport, jewelry, electronics, money, credit cards, etc with you. I don’t think you would want to take the chance in case something gets stolen when it’s not in your sight or if your luggage gets lost.

10. Pack to be prepared for the worst – Hopefully, you never get your bag lost or stolen, but you should be prepared in case you do. I always spread out my clothes between my check in and carry on bag. This way if something does happen, I have clothes and other things I would need in my carry on. It might not be as convenient to have stuff separated, but you’ll thank me later if something does happens!


23 thoughts on “10 packing guidelines for your trips

  1. Great tips – I have learnt the heard way this summer about keeping some spare clothes/toiletries etc in your carry on as my bags got lost en route to Canada!


  2. Some useful tips there – it’s always good to be prepared. My tip – only travel with a carry on! That way, half of the worry is taken away!


  3. Great tips! Definitely agree with weigh your bag!!! so many times i’ve gone to the airport and had it overweight (which is why a not-so-stuffed carry-on comes in hand when you have to transfer some of that weight out of your checked bag)


  4. I think your tip about making sure your checked luggage is unique is a really good one. Most suitases and backpacks look so similar. I always get confused.


  5. Those are great tips. I travel for work constantly and have mastered the airport but I get so annoyed when someone in front of me in line doesn’t have their stuff together and it holds everyone up!!


  6. These are great tips. Let me add to the one about identification inside your luggage. A couple years ago I donated an older suitcase to charity. About a year later, I received a telephone call from a nice lady in the Amsterdam airport who had my bag in unclaimed luggage. “What bag?” “The bag you forgot when you arrived from Africa.” I’d never been in either place. Two days later, I got a call from a nice lady at JFK. “We have your bag here in New York,” she chirped, waking me from a sound sleep at 4am at my home in Hawaii. The bag had been sent on in accordance with its airline barcoded tag. Clearly, my donated bag had been thrifted, possibly sent by the charity I used to a Third World location, traveled around the world, and now was somewhat suspiciously unclaimed. You’ll remember this story when you dispense with luggage that has served you past its prime, won’t you? 🙂


  7. Great info! I think that I follow all of these and some of them I’ve learned about the hard way – so great tips to follow and hopefully everyone heeds your advice! 🙂


  8. Great tips! We will be trying to fly next year carry on only and on the way home from Poland this year we did rather stuff our backpacks… although they were heavy they fit inside the box so we got away with it!! I heard a few years back that putting your address on the outside of you bag ended up in some peoples houses getting broken into as they knew they were away. We always put our own address inside the bag on a label and my parents on the outside as they will be at home. I always look for a bad that itself is light to begin with too, it surprising how much an empty bag can weigh, it pays to get a more expensive one sometimes in the long run!


  9. Excellent tips! (And I’m proud to say we follow these every single time) Checking in and getting out has never been smoother!


  10. Thanks for sharing these tips! I find the most difficult thing is packing for two different climates – when I went travelling round South America I took waaaay too much stuff. I like your tip about preparing for the worst – my boyfriends bag got lost on the way to Vietnam and he didn’t get it back for 4 days! At least he got it back, but four days with no other clothes was horrible for him (and me!). 🙂


  11. Some cool tips here… most of them I do it already especially putting a ribbon or colourful lace on the check-in luggage to easily recognise your own bag


  12. Good tips. I have a black bag and it is often hard to spot on the carousel. I put a red Viking Cruise tag on it, but one time there was another very similar that also had the same tag. We both went for the same bag.


  13. I love that you said scrunchy. ahaha! Great tips, especially in terms of bringing your valuables on board! I’ve heard too many horror stories to risk checking them.


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