TSA has really stepped up in baggage security. On numerous occasions, I will find a notice that my luggage was opened and inspected before it was checked onto the airplane. The best way to keep things organized is to use vacuum sealed bags for all your clothes. In addition, I use toiletry bags for anything over 3 oz that will not fit into my carry on. I also use clear bags for my shoes. This helps prevent any small items from falling out in the event your bag is opened and inspected.
Having clear bags makes it easy for TSA to inspect the contents without having to open the bags. This is very beneficial if you have any undergarments you would like to protect from strangers.
Often times, I also take pictures of all the items in the bags before placing them into the suitcase. The photo will serve to jog your memory of what was packed in the event that the luggage is lost or stolen. For lost or stolen luggage, anything over $99 must have a receipt in order for the airlines to compensate you. So I also like to double check any items of value have electronic receipts. For example, if you purchased a pair of jeans for $200, the airlines would refund you $0 if you do not have a receipt. In general terms, anytime I buy anything these days, I always request the receipt to be emailed to me.
If you are planning to bring jewelry with you on your travels, do not pack these items in the checked baggage. Airlines will not cover lost jewelry. In this case, you need to keep it with you as carry on. In the even that you need to gate check your baggage, remember to remove your jewelry before giving your baggage to the flight attendants. It might be a hassle, but its worth the extra 2 minutes to unpack because if its lost, you will not be compensated.
If you are able to check luggage and bring carry-on, I always suggest to travelers to bring one set of spare clothes in the carry on luggage. This is in case your flight is canceled or redirected. If the flight is canceled, usually the airlines will reschedule for the next day departure and will not return your luggage. The same is true if the flight is diverted and you need to stay over night in a random city. In such cases, you will not have access to all your checked luggage. I also keep a spare toothbrush and tooth paste. Some hotels will give you a toothbrush and toothpaste for free, but it is not guaranteed.
If you are going on a long holiday, I also suggest to pack a spare duffle bag. This can be a light weight bag that may not be used. I call it the “Just In Case I Buy Stuff” bag. You never know if you are going to find that perfect dutch oven or a gigantic pair of antlers you want to take home. This saves you the trouble of buying another bag on the trip. In addition, if you find yourself traveling on different airlines, sometimes the weight restrictions will be different. It may be cheaper to separate your belongings into two bags than to pay the additional overweight fees.
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