7 Things to Never Pack in Your Checked Bag

I will be the first to admit that I am not #TeamCarryOn, so checked bags are a way of life for me. But even I know that there are certain things to never pack in your checked baggage. No one is perfect, and airlines clearly adhere to that rule. Employees are only human, and sometimes things get misplaced, put on the wrong plane, miss the flight, or even worse, get stolen. But there are simple ways you can avoid a bad situation by keeping certain items out of your checked baggage.

  1. Money/Credit Cards

This should be pretty self explanatory. Why would you put your money in your checked baggage? Sure, you don’t want to keep all of your money in one spot, but the checked baggage is not the place to try to “hide” your cash. By the time you reach your destination, your cash may be hiding…in someone else’s pocket.


  1. Electronics, Jewelry, and Other Valuables

Bags get thrown around. Especially if you have a long haul, you don’t know how your bags will get tossed and riffled through between baggage handlers and TSA. So electronics and other valuables need to stay with you in your carryon. And please believe people can be unscrupulous. In a travel group I am in, someone put their new iPad…in the box… in their checked baggage, and then was upset when it was stolen around the holiday season. Our response: Why would you do that? And if people even think something is valuable, it may turn up missing. My grandmother put her medical supplies in her checked baggage (she had to) in a nice pouch, and someone stole them, thinking it was jewelry.


  1. Medications

Speaking of medication, carry it on. Unless it is a sharp object or something that is absolutely not allowed to be carried on, keep it with you. Even if the medication is over the 4 oz. since limits, if it is prescription (and sometimes you may need a note), you can usually bring it with you on the plane. Just be prepared for extra examination time with TSA. The last thing you want is for your bag to get lost and you are in dire need of your medication in a place where it is not readily accessible. It could be a matter of life and death.


  1. Keys

It’s been a long flight. You are so ready to get home. You are at baggage claim and, of course, your bag is missing. You then realize that your house or your car keys, are in your bag. What are you going to do?


  1. Chargers

I try to keep all chargers with me, because I have had the pleasant experience of being stuck with it taking 21 hours to get home from what should have been a six-hour journey. And you know what sucks when you are in the situation? Your phone dying. Or what if you are traveling overseas and your baggage gets lost and your computer or phone or camera battery is dying fast. That is why I always make space for chargers in my carryon bag.


  1. Film

I still have a film professional camera, even though I don’t shoot with it. For those purists who still shoot with film, you may as well throw it in the trash if you are going to put it in your checked baggage. The machines that they put checked bags through can destroy some film, so be mindful of that.


  1. All of Your Clothing

I try to save some room in my carryon for a change of underwear and a shirt or a sundress, depending on the destination. Bags get delayed. It happens. But you can make sure you have some clothing with you to fill the gap. After doing a full on sprint (with carryon bags and other items) through an airport and barely making our connecting flight, clearly our bags didn’t make it to the destination with us. They were delivered directly to the ship a day or so later, but luckily we had packed a couple of changes of clothes (and a swimsuit) in our carryon just in case something like that happened. And it did.

Share in the comments what things you always keep on you.



I am a lawyer. I am a journalist. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And I love to travel.

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