passenger sitting with luggage

Mistakes You Can Avoid When Checking a Bag

You might be excited about your trip overseas. Maybe you’ve been planning it for months and think you’ve prepared for any eventuality. But to make sure you have everything covered, you also need to know the common mistakes when checking a bag.

Nothing can ruin your trip quicker than having your bags go missing or losing your valuables. The good news is you can easily avoid these mistakes with the help of these simple tips.

aircraft luggage

Start with the common pitfalls.

Never pack your valuables in your checked bag. This is one of the most glaring mistakes that many travellers commit. Always remember that if you intend to bring expensive items like jewellery or a laptop, don’t keep them in your checked bag. These valuable items are prone to go “missing” or lost in transit.

If you are going to buy a valuable souvenir that’s too bulky to carry, it’s better to ship them. Make sure it is well-packaged and get insurance for it, in case it gets damaged or lost.

swiss army knife

Bringing prohibited items.

You may or may not know it, but some items are not allowed in your checked luggage. These items may include certain household items or tools, things that are flammable or may have sharp edges like a Swiss army knife or cutter. To be sure, you can go online and check for these restricted items and avoid bringing them altogether.

Check for loose ends.

When you are packing, be sure to have each pocket and compartment secured. See if they are all completely zipped and fastened. Don’t let anything dangle outside of them, like a shoelace or the straps of your backpack. This will prevent them from getting caught on the conveyor belt and be damaged or lost.

Exceeding your bag weight limit.

Most airlines have a weight limit on checked bags. Be sure you are aware of it. If not, you are going to pay extra fees if you exceed the weight limit. You can buy a weighing scale and use that to measure your bag. Also, avoid getting very close to the weight limit. Allow some extra room for error as these luggage scales are not 100% accurate.

luggage

Image credit – Katy Warner via Flickr

Not marking your bag.

When people are in a hurry, it’s easy to overlook that luggage they are grabbing. Some travellers may unintentionally get the wrong suitcase at the baggage claiming area. To avoid this, try putting a unique mark that will help you distinguish your luggage and help it stand out from the other bags.

toiletries

Keeping liquids in a precarious location.

It’s common for some travellers to bring their own toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, lotion or similar items. However, if you put these things in an unsafe place, they might spill and make a mess out of your carefully packed suitcase. You can keep them from spilling by putting tape or keeping them inside a well-cushioned bag or roll them up with bubble wrap.

Packing all your clothing in one bag.

If possible, avoid putting all your clothing in your checked bag. In case it gets lost, you won’t have anything else to wear on your trip. If you still have extra space in your carry-on, put some of your underwear or additional clothing so you’ll always have some back-up. Also, in case it gets chilly inside the plane, you can wear layers to keep warm during your flight.

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