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Packing Basics: Never Put These 14 Things in Your Checked Bag

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You know there are certain things you shouldn’t pack in your carry-on (liquids over 3.4 ounces, sharp objects, etc.) but did you know there are also things you should never pack in your checked bag? See our list below and let us know in the comments section if any of them surprise you!


Maintaining your health while on the road is crucial to a successful trip. This means packing, and remembering to take, all regular medications. Medicine is one of the most important things to leave out of your checked bag. Always carry at least a couple days’ worth, if not your whole travel supply, with you in your carry-on in case something happens to your luggage.


If at all possible, leave expensive jewelry at home when you travel. If you decide to take any with you, the safest way to transport it is to wear it. Make sure that any costly jewelry that you travel with is covered by your insurance policy.

Other valuables

While you may get compensated if your luggage was lost and damaged, airlines only cover up to $3,300 per passenger. Chances are good that if you have something valuable in your suitcase, you’ll never recoup the full amount. It’s best to leave expensive belongings at home.

Irreplaceable items

Along those same lines, if you can’t replace it, don’t bring it on a trip. Things such as a family heirloom or a wedding ring should be left at home.

Camera film

Going through an X-ray machine multiple times can ruin camera film. If you are traveling with film, it’s best to leave it in your carry-on and ask for it to be hand-inspected when you go through security.

Cash or credit card

You don’t really know who might look through your checked luggage when it goes through security. Generally, bags are electronically screened, but some are randomly selected to be hand-inspected. Though not likely, it’s always possible for items to be taken from your bag. Some of the easiest items to take are cash and credit cards.

Confidential papers

Similarly, don’t put anything in your checked bag that you wouldn’t want someone else to see. Confidential paperwork such as contracts, anything with your social security number on it, bank documents and other sensitive items should be left out.

Car or house keys

Losing your car or house keys can pose a major problem, even more so if someone else gets ahold of them.Make sure to store keys in a safe spot in your carry-on (and remember where that spot is!) so you don’t end up without them when you return from your trip.

Work materials

If you are traveling for business and have a presentation or some paperwork that you need on your trip, don’t risk losing it by packing it in your checked bag. Even if your bag is only misplaced for a day or two, not having the right work materials will certainly derail your trip and negatively affect your professional image.

Anything fragile

There’s no doubt about it, checked luggage gets tossed around quite a bit. Baggage handlers touch several hundred bags each day and usually only have a short amount of time to get bags on or off the plane. If you are traveling with anything that can be easily broken, always carry it with you.

All of your clothes

If your luggage happens to get lost en route to your destination, even just for a day or two, you don’t want to be left with only the clothes on your back. Always pack an entire outfit in your carry-on bag, including socks and undergarments. It’s a good idea to pack other toiletry essentials such as a toothbrush, deodorant and a hairbrush in your carry-on as well.

ID, passport or itinerary

Don’t pack anything in your checked bag that’s crucial on travel day. Items such as your passport or license, which you need to get through security, or your itinerary, which you may need to refer to throughout the day, should be with you at all times.


Chances are good you’ll have your electronic devices with you in your carry-on, but what about the chargers that keep them running? Replacement chargers aren’t cheap, especially when you need to buy them for multiple devices. They are also so small that they don’t take up a lot of room in your carry-on.

Anything prohibited by law

Hopefully, this is a no brainer, but it’s definitely still worth mentioning: take a good, hard look at the list of prohibited items and don’t pack them. This will speed up the screening process and ensure that you (and your luggage) are able to board the flight without a problem. If you’re unsure whether or not something is prohibited, take a picture and send it to the TSA via Facebook Messenger or Twitter for a prompt response!


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