How To Pack For Your Summer Vacation!

This summer promises to be a busy one as American’s take to the skies in record numbers, causing some to predict a “baggage meltdown”. Terry Trippler of doesn’t think it will come to that but why risk having your trip messed up – just because your bag is misplaced – or lost. While you can’t guarantee it won’t happen to you, you can lessen the chances of misplaced or lost baggage by following these few tips:

Start thinking about packing – now …
… while you are shopping. Will these two tops go with this one bottom? Could I replace a bulky outfit with one that is lightweight – easy to pack – easy to launder?

Ship it to friends and family
Consider shipping (i.e. UPS, FEDEX) some of your baggage and it will be waiting for you when you arrive – and – ship it back home.

Two small bags may be better than one
Consider two small bags – each with a complete change of clothing – if one bag is misplaced you still have something to wear. If two or more are traveling – pack a change of clothing for each – in each bag.

Those overhead bins fill fast
Each fare-paying passenger may carry on one bag, plus one personal item such as a laptop, purse, coat, etc. Too often full overhead space forces some bags to be checked. You can avoid this by only taking carry-on baggage that will fit under the seat in front of you.

That space under the seat – is yours
Unless you are seated in the bulkhead (front rows), that space under the seat in front of you is yours – that’s where to keep all valuables and medications – where it’s in your view at all times.

Baggage ID required

The airlines require identification on your bag. Get a sturdy ID tag that fits tightly to your bag and include your cell phone number if possible. Put the same information and your itinerary on the inside of your bag.

Mark your bag
Mark your bag so you can recognize it at a distance – i.e. colorful tape, ribbon, string, twine, or ID tags.

Baggage locks approved by the TSA
If the TSA needs to open your bag for inspection and it’s locked – your lock loses. Special locks can be purchased that only you and TSA can open at stores like Target.

Baggage check-in time limits
Plan to check all bags a minimum of 90 minutes before departure – not a minute less! Most airlines will not accept baggage checked less than 45 minutes before departure. For a complete list of all U S. airline baggage check-in time limits see “Know Before You Go” at

Be sure you and your bag are going to the same place
Is your bag tagged correctly at check-in for the right city – i.e. if you are flying to San Francisco (via Chicago), make sure your bag is checked to San Francisco – not Chicago.

Claim your baggage immediately

It’s easy to be distracted visiting with family or friends while someone accidentally (or maybe not so accidentally) picks up your bag and walks out of the airport. When you arrive, go directly to the baggage claim and watch for your bag.

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