There are some things – like medicine and passports – you should never pack in checked luggage.9>
Recently, an elderly couple was denied boarding on their “cruise of a lifetime” because they didn’t have their passports with them. Oh, they had taken their passports, but had left them in their checked bags. And that’s a problem.
Short Story: the couple’s luggage had already been taken on board while they went to check in for their cruise. This is standard procedure, and cruise lines do remind passengers on international cruises that they need their passports for check in. In this case, it’s just something the couple forgot about. Workers tried to find the luggage, but the ship sailed – without the elderly travelers – before they could be found. Compounding the trouble, the pair was stuck in LA while their bags went on the cruise.
While the cruise was just following their rules by not allowing the couple to board, they eventually refunded the couple’s cruise fare, and invited them back for a complimentary cruise of their choice.
We realized there are several things that should never be put in checked bags, that we might not think about. That’s especially true when we’re excited – or worried, or tired – and trying to pack.
Free Download: What Not to Pack in Checked Bags
At very least, don’t pack anything you couldn’t bear losing. Be sure at least one change of clothes is in your carryon, and anything you’ll need on the first day. For example, your bathing suit when you’re on a sunny cruise!
This is the handy list we made as a reminder for us, our friends and family. Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.
It should go without saying that you should not pack anything that’s on the TSA’s prohibited list, like explosives or flammables. It’s worth checking the list for other items that you might be tempted to pack. (Did you know cooking spray is prohibited?)
Why Not Pack Everything in Checked Luggage?
We’ve all heard stories of lost luggage and checked bags getting on the wrong flight. You might not know that you and your luggage are not always on the same flight. If your flight gets diverted, that could be a problem. Potentially worse, thieves have been known to operate at airports, rummaging through checked baggage looking for valuables, including black market gold like passports and credit cards.
On ships, you surrender your bags until they magically appear in your cabin…which could be the next day. (To be fair, cruise lines do remind you to keep anything you might want on your first day in a bag with you.) While they generally do a great job matching luggage with the cabins they belong to, if they have a problem identifying your bag, it may end up at someone else’s cabin, or not being delivered at all.
One more thing to consider: Airlines and cruise lines have contracts that limit their liability in certain cases. For example, many “contracts of carriage” exempt carriers from any liability for missing or stolen items. On US domestic flights, airlines have a total limit of liability of $3,300 per passenger, per flight (even less on international flights). So if your $5000 lens goes missing, for example, you may not get anywhere near that in compensation.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with carryon bags – rigid, soft, or somewhere inbetween. What’s your favorite style, and what are your tips for flying with carryon? Feel free to share your favorite flying tips, too. We’ll re-post the best tips, so be sure to include your Twitter handle and a link to your blog, if you have one. Or click for more #Travel140!