How To Pack Your Checked Bag

It’s the eve of your travel date and all your clothing, shoes, and personal care items are set out on the bed, ready to be packed.  Congratulations – you’ve made it this far!

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Once you have decided what items you’ll be bringing on your trip, you’ve won half of the battle.  However, a major concern for us all is the dreaded process of checking luggage.  Will your bag arrive at your destination?  Will it be on time?  Will all your belongings make the journey unscathed?

While you can’t be sure about how the airlines will handle your bag, you can pack strategically to avoid any mishaps.  Here is a handy guide for arranging your belongings safely and efficiently in your checked luggage.

Keep Essentials in your Carry-On

The only way to protect yourself in case of a possible delay or loss of your bag is to keep some essential items in your carry-on bag.  Prioritize space for any medications you take on a daily basis to ensure you don’t find yourself in a medical emergency.  Next you should save room for travel-sized personal care items like toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, fresh contacts and contact solution.  Women should stash their favorite cosmetics and emergency feminine supplies, too.  Lastly, tuck in a spare pair of underwear and socks.

Roll Your Clothing
Now, onto your checked bag!  The most efficient packing method for clothing is to roll up each item individually.  Rolling reduces wrinkles and can save you time ironing your clothing upon arrival.  Also, rolling typically makes for more compact packing and allows you to easily see every item that you’ve brought.

Double Bag Liquids and Creams
There’s nothing worse than discovering that your lotion has escaped the bottle and mingled with your clothing!  Checked baggage is subject to variations in atmospheric pressure during your flight, which can cause liquid containers to expand and contract—sometimes resulting in minor or major explosions within your suitcase.  If possible, seal items like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and sunscreen individually within airtight baggies, and then wrap them again with plastic shopping bags.

Use Clothing to Cushion Delicate Items

If you are packing anything that is fragile, you might want to wrap it up inside of an article of clothing.  This provides a nice cushion in case your bag is dropped, squashed, or improperly handled by the airline.  You might even want to do this for your double-bagged liquids!

Use Shoes to Create a Protective Barrier

As you lay items into your suitcase, be mindful of the areas that are most vulnerable to impact– usually the top and bottom ends, and possibly the front as well.  Place your shoes in these areas will create a stronger buffer against impacts and protect your personal items.

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