1) Good planning is key
If possible, print your boarding pass at home or before you arrive at the airport. This way you are sure to have a spot for
your CarryOn bags on the plane, and be able to seat where you choose if seats are not assigned. Try to give yourself at
least one day before your cruise ship sets sail, or that long drive in your rental car, that big tournament event, your
wedding day and especially before international travel after a domestic flight. Arrive at the airport early to avoid the
dreaded Late Checked bag. Luggage is often delayed at the worst possible time.
2) The best and worst times to travel
The best times to travel seem to be the months of May and September. The weather is generally good, the kids are still in
school so you don't have over crowding at some of you favorite locales and, you can sometimes find some really low fares
because it is off peak season. The worst times to travel are for the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those weather
delays can really be a drag on the excitement of meeting family and friends. Airports are really crowded and because of the
volume of bags that are checked, there is a greater chance of lost or delay of receiving your luggage at your destination.
3) CarryOn vs. Check luggage
If possible, only use CarryOn luggage so that you can have a quick exit pass the baggage claim and out of the airport when
you arrive at your destination. CarryOn luggage is far less likely to suffer damage, because it's not placed of the baggage
conveyor belts and not mis-handled by baggage handlers. Put name tags on your CarryOn bags with your cell phone number. The
number one rule to remember when you have CarryOn items, make sure you have all your belongings when you deplane. Not only
are CarryOn bags sometimes forgotten and left on the aircraft, but cell phones, wallets, books, glasses, hats, coats you
name it. Only one percent of these items left behind are ever reunited with their owners once you leave the aircraft.
Size does matter, here smaller is better. A small duffle bag or backpack that will fit underneath the seat in front of you is best. You won't have to worry about it NOT fitting in the overhead compartment if you board the plane last and having to check it as check luggage. You will have easy access to your cell phone, tablet or laptop without getting out of you seat. And last and most importantly, no one is going to take your bag by mistake from the overhead compartment.
place your belongings in the back seat pocket. This is the easiest way to forget and leave something on the plane. Out of
sight, out of mind! We all have to check our bags at some point or another. It helps to add some unique visual means to
help identify your luggage on the carousel so that it is less likely to be taken by mistake by another traveler. Also,
such distinguishing features will help the baggage staff assigned to look for a lost luggage have another means of
confirming your missing bag. After landing, it is a good idea to go immediately to the baggage claim area and stand near
the beginning of the carousel belt. This helps prevent someone taking your bag by mistake or theft. If you have an issue
with your checked luggage, it is better to bring this to the attention of those working in the Baggage Service Office
before leaving the airport.
4) Pack light
Pack only what you know you will use and if you are travelling for more than two weeks, plan to wash on the road. Too
many people over pack and don't forget about those extra bag fees, over weight charges and damage to your luggage. If you
are ever in doubt about the weight of your bag, place it on your bathroom scale. Most airlines have a 50lb. limit before
over weight fees kick in. Remember to only use TSA locks if you use any locks on your bags.
5) Roll for that wrinkle free look
Bags will hold more if the clothes are rolled rather than folded, and they look better too.
6) Split up clothes when travelling with others
When flying and especially if you have a few stopovers, divide the clothes between different suitcases and bags. If one
persons bags doesn't arrive at your destination, you will still have clean clothes available in the other bag. Airlines
generally don't compensate for lost luggage for the first 24 hours so this will save you money if it happens to you. Also take
only the credit/bank cards you plan on using, and split up your cash with a traveling companion.
7) Avoid Transfer Flights
Don't assume because you change your flight because of a cancellation or delay, that your checked luggage will follow you
to a new destination or earlier flight than originally planned. It's hard enough for ramp crew to get your luggage on a
direct flight, add moving your bags sometimes with with two or three connections, you're asking for double trouble once you
reach your destination. Also a non-stop flight is always better than one with any stops.
8) When it looks like rain
It is always handy to have a few plastic bags around certain items, especially toiletries. The plastic bags from your
dry cleaners can also come in handy. Line the inside of your luggage with plastic bags. This will help keep your clothes
dry if your luggage is not covered while waiting to be loaded or unloaded on the tarmac, and it's pouring down rain.
9) Don't let "Jet Lag" get you down
1) Avoid flying at night when possible; 2) Get some sleep if it is nighttime at your destination and stay awake during your
flight if it is daytime at your destination; 3) Drink plenty of water, not alcohol; 4) Try to keep your feet flat on the
cabin floor and avoid crossing your legs and feet. Get out of your seat and walk the isle to stretch your legs, get off the
plane if possible at stopovers; 5) Go outside ASAP to take in the natural sun light.
10) Ten things to NEVER pack in your checked luggage
1) Car/House keys; 2) Medication; 3) Cash; 4) Business presentation/suit, Wedding tux/gown; 5) Perishable foods; 6) Wine bottles;
7) Jewelry; 8) Tickets of any kind; 9) Cell phone/charger or anything electronic. Airlines don't generally compensate for
damaged or loss of electronic equipment; 10) Anything that might be needed on your travel day. For more tips and info visit
the TSA website.
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