I’m prepping two Glam Italia Tours that are running back to back this June, and as none of the ladies have traveled internationally before I’m sending them all kinds of great travel information to get them ready.
Some of it I am posting here for you as well.
Its really easy to make novice mistakes when you’re packing for your first international trip. Actually its really easy to mistakes even when you’ve already done it a hundred times.
So lets talk about what not to pack in your checked suitcase.
10 Things You Should Never Pack In Your Checked Luggage
1. Lithium Batteries.
Lithium batteries can move around, catch fire, and cause catastrophic damage to the plane while it’s in the air.
The FAA issued a Safety Alert for Operators to warn airlines “of the potential risk for a catastrophic hull loss due to significant identified dangers associated with the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on either passenger or cargo aircraft.”
They are okay while installed inside your electronics (which should be in your cabin baggage with you), but loose are very dangerous.
There has been talk about lithium batteries exploding inside the hull of airliners and bringing the plane down.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the FAA video of what happens when lithium batteries explode and catch fire inside a simulated cargo bay on a plane.
2. Jewelry and Valuables.
Don’t take the risk of your bag going missing or of someone rifling through it behind the scenes and taking or damaging your valued belongings. Whether it’s your valuable watch or a family photo album, take it on-board with you in your cabin baggage.
Should the airline decide to compensate you for a bag that has gone missing, or items stolen from your bag (most of the time they won’t), they will depreciate the value of your items and the capped maximum on replacement of a missing bag is $3300.
3. Cash and Credit Cards.
Same as above. If you travel frequently you have no doubt found TSA notifications in your suitcase, telling you they searched your bag. Or perhaps you’ve arrived at your destination and found that things are in different places in your suitcase – someone has been in there looking around.
It happens all the time, and the number one thing that thieves are looking for is your cash and credit card stash. Keep it with you in your cabin baggage.
4. Passports/Identification/Boarding Passes/Essential Documents
Always keep the originals with you, but make copies of them (credit cards front and back as well) and keep a digital copy attachment in your email. You can keep photocopies in your suitcase, but beware that you may be creating an easy path for identity thieves.
This one is important. Should your suitcase go AWOL you could be in a world of trouble if all your medications/prescriptions are inside. It’s a good idea to separate your medicines and take half on board with you and check the other half through, especially when travelling internationally.
You can take liquid prescriptions that exceed 3.4 fluid ounces in your carry on luggage so long as it is well labeled. I recommend telling The TSA officer, and also having a doctors note to accompany it.
6. All Of Your Clothes
Always pack a couple of days worth of clothes in your carry on luggage. Should your suitcase not arrive with you, you need to have something to change into.
For most of us spending the first few days of your international vacation in the smelly clothes you flew over in would really ruin the trip. One of my friends spent 3 weeks of her 3 1/2 week trip to Spain last year without her suitcase. Luckily she had enough supplies in her carry on to be able to rotate her outfit each day. You won’t always have enough money to buy a new travel wardrobe, and there won’t always be places to buy things that you like.
Typically airlines will get your bag back within 3 or 4 days, but chances are you will be moving around, which makes it harder to reconnect you with you bag.
Think in terms of theft and breakage. Your electronics are of course, a very popular item to steal. On top of that you have to know that no matter how many sweaters you wrap your laptop in, chances are it won’t survive being in a bag that is thrown around and has heavy bags thrown on top of it. Just take it on board with you.
8. Flammable Items
Lighters, matches and flammable items are banned from checked luggage. See a full list of banned items on the TSA Website
Have you ever watched them throwing suitcases or piling heavy suitcases on top of each other? Your breakables don’t stand a chance! Even if you’ve bubble wrapped them and cushioned them with socks and sweaters, how many heavy suitcases stacked on top of yours would it take for the collective weight to break your treasures? Read Confessions Of A Baggage Thrower for more insight into the perils of packing breakables.
The X-Rays used to screen suitcases can damages film. If you have been shooting your trip with wet film, put the film in clear cannisters or ziplock bags and take it with you in your cabin baggage. Ask the TSA agent at the X-Ray machine to check your film by hand.
Here is the FAA video of what happens when lithium batteries explode inside a plane: