How to Keep Your Stuff Safe When You Fly

by Royal City Travel Guelph -

Like most things in life, traveling involves some risk.

For the most part your risk is generally very minimal and there are measures you can take to all but eliminate it, along with your stress while you fly.

Here are the steps to take on your next trip.

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Valuables 
Don’t bring anything super valuable or difficult to replace, like a family heirloom. If for whatever reason the nature of your travel requires you to bring expensive jewelry, clothing or equipment, consider covering their replacement value under a policy in addition to the automatic, very limited coverage provided by the airlines.

Buy this protection through either your own insurance or at the ticket counter. Anything you really care about - wear.

Packing 
Before packing your bags, check all the zippers and locks for signs of wear and tear from previous trips. Replace or fix anything that is broken.

Don’t overpack your bag. Even if the bag is brand new, overstuffed luggage is liable to pop open while being transported (re: manhandled) from the terminal to the plane.

Keep your stuff organized and all in one place. If you know exactly where everything should be, you’ll notice much faster if something is missing.

Remember, just because you’re using a lock doesn’t mean people can’t get into your luggage. A pen can get access to your stuff without you ever knowing about it. Make an inventory of the items packed in each bag.

Identification 
Fill out a luggage tag (they give them out at check-in) and the slip-in pocket cards with your contact information. Keep this information up to date.

Keep a copy of your contact info in all your stuff - backpack, tote bag, purse, etc. If you’re bringing a camera, make your first shot that of your information. In the event it’s lost and then found by a good Samaritan it’ll be easier to return.

If you’re traveling abroad, make a photocopy of your passport and store it separately from the actual version. Make sure your passport is signed and the emergency contact information is filled out.

Airport 
Though your chances of encountering terrorist-related danger is very low, it’s important to be aware of these and other potential risks. The only thing worse than having something taken out of your bag is having something put into it without your knowledge.

In many countries if you’re found with drugs or other illegal paraphernalia on your person, you can face serious repercussions, in which case your national government might have little power to help you.

The U.S. Department of State recommends that you “schedule direct flights if possible, and avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas.” Be wary of strangers. Do not accept packages from anyone and keep an eye out for abandoned packages or luggage, or any other suspicious items or activity. Report them to the airport authorities.

Don’t wear anything too flashy. “Try to minimalize the time spent in the public area of the airport, which is a less protected area. Move quickly from the check-in counter to the secured areas.”

If you have to hang out at the airport for a while, keep all of your stuff close to you. If you think you might fall asleep, sit on your stuff or tie it to you.

Carry-On 
The three things you should always bring on an airplane are your ID, credit card(s) and prescription medications (if needed). Remember you’ll need your credit card if you want to purchase any food, drinks or additional in-flight entertainment. Also keep with you a phone or list of important numbers.

Once you’re on the plane, bury your wallet and cash deep in your carry-on; you won’t need it and it’ll be harder to get to.

Pack a smaller bag inside of your carry-on. In the event you board the plane late and are forced to check your carry-on bag you can remove things of value and put them into the small bag to keep with you during the flight.

Even better, make sure your carry-on can fit under the seat in front of you. It might be less comfortable than storing it overhead but you will never be forced to gate check it.

Fly on airlines that have and enforce restrictive cabin baggage policies. Try to keep your stuff close to you instead of storing it 10 seats down the aisle. If you go to the bathroom mid flight, don’t leave your wallet, iPod and other valuables unattended and untethered in your seat.

Remember: you are less of a risk from staff stealing from you than fellow passengers.The general rule here is “start out by trusting everyone, but don’t make it easy for anyone.”

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