Top 10 Luggage Tips for Flying


In this latest instalment of my Expert Series I am delighted to welcome Beth Blair with her top luggage tips for flyers.

Beth, one of the excellent Vacation Gals is a lady who is well placed to advise on this subject with her experience as a flight attendant and travel writer. If you would like to find out more about Beth you can connect with her on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and on her own blog.

Beth’s Top 10 Luggage Tips for Flying

Luggage is one of the most important elements of travel. It serves as your portable closet and keeps you organized. Here are my Top 10 Luggage Tips for Flying.

1. Use sturdy luggage

There’s no bigger hassle than having a roll-aboard wheel fly off, a handle break or a zipper bust in the middle of an airport terminal. If you don’t trust your bag, don’t risk it. Invest in new luggage or even opt for an inexpensive suitcase just to get you through your next trip.

2. Label your bags

Label your bags with your contact information inside and out. This tip is pretty self explanatory but people do get lazy and forget to label their luggage. The most important information to include is your name, email address, cell and home phone numbers.

3. Carry on lithium batteries

If you’ve seen the video taken at LAX of a computer’s lithium battery exploding, causing a fire and reigniting you know why it’s important to keep your lithium batteries with you. (If you haven’t seen the video, check it out ). As you can imagine if this had happened inflight, in a cargo compartment, the end result could have been devastating.

4. Keep documents. money and keys close

Keep documents forms of money, and car/house keys in your carry-on luggage . People place all of the above in their checked luggage on a daily basis, but when they encounter lost or late luggage problems arise.

5. Never put medication in your checked luggage.

This tip could accompany the last one, but I want to make the point that even if your bag doesn’t get lost it’s impossible to access your bag while inflight and this is especially important if your flight ends up delayed and you’re due for your next dose. As a flight attendant I had had several occasions where people needed their insulin or heart medications but we couldn’t access them.

top luggage tips

6. Consider a luggage scale

As if checking luggage isn’t expensive enough, when you go over the max allowance (usually 50 pounds) you’re going to be charged even more. Going to your destinations shouldn’t be a problem but returning with all of those cute souvenirs can easily help tip the scale especially if you’re taking a cruise. There are a number of lightweight, easy-to-use scales available.

7. Take photos of your luggage inside and out

Snapshots can help you recall details, like the brand, when you’re filling out a lost-luggage form and help the baggage claim representative reunite you with your luggage quicker.

8. Keep your bag tag!

This tip is accompanied with an exclamation point because it can be the one thing that gets your bag back in your possession if it doesn’t make your flight or ends up on the wrong flight. Don’t lose it!

9. Keep your bag with you at all times

Airport security is called upon frequently to investigate stranded bags. Unfortunately, this can get you into trouble with authorities and cause your bag to get confiscated. This also means not entrusting strangers to watch your belongings either. I’ve seen people abandon other people’s bags that they were supposedly watching.

10. Decorate your bag

This is an oldie but goodie. Let your bag stand out so when it’s riding around the luggage carousel you will recognize it instantly. But that’s not all, if your bag is flashy, thieves will most likely skip it. Remember the couple in Phoenix, Arizona who were arrested in 2009 for stealing bags from the Phoenix Sky Harbor baggage claim? The luggage they targeted was generic looking and dark in color.

Top 10 travel tips

Many thanks to Beth for her informative post. Please do share your travel experiences and luggage tips (and disasters) with us!

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*Image Credits

World Tour – digitalart /

Airport – Salvatore Vuono /

  • Susan Blackmon

    Great tips! Thanks Joyce Marsh for the passing this on! 

  • Anonymous

    Interesting; I thought she was going to tell me how I can double the wear of my t-shirts by turning them inside out so I don’t have to pack as many.

    Fortunately I have had pretty good luck with luggage. I think I’ve only had 3 incidents where it didn’t arrive with me, but all were resolved fairly quickly (one was golf clubs but they made it for my tee time…..:).

    Good info though and thanks so much for sharing; I feel smarter already. 

    • Good t-shirt tip Bill, not many people would have thought about that one! Need to be careful with your personal hygiene if you are wearing them twice though :-)

      Great to see you over here as ever and hope you have a good weekend.

  • the whispering path

    Thanks for the tips.  :)

  • Nomadic Samuel

    Fantastic tips and ones I would have never though of myself :P

  • Funny Pictures

    Great tips! Thanks for shearing

  • anand

    Interesting tips….thanks…
    I would like to add one more important point 
     “Keep an international travel adapter in your carry-on luggage and also note the important numbers on paper and keep it with you”

  • Elysse Parsons

    Great tips. I will definitely follow. We often overlook these, like medications and keys. It’s a common mistake I make, putting all the medications in my check in bags. I like the tip of taking the photos of the bag inside and out. Thanks for the tips.

  • Bilboman

    RE: point 2 (labelling): I’d advise against putting home phone number (worse still, address) on a label: Burglars love to visit empty homes, and a phone call to an empty house makes their “work” so much easier! (Never program your GPS device with “home” either, for the same reason: my “Home” destination is the nearest police station.) Always label bags with a cellphone number and your destination address, as that is where you’d like the bag to be sent if it gets lost.

  • sferrari

    Never put a camera in a checked bag.

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  • Stevie Wonder

    I’m waiting for the airlines to do something for passenger comfort. There should be a minimum (realistic) standard for leg room in planes. I avoid flying like the plague because it is insanely cramped.