Whether it’s a business trip or a leisure trip you need to have your luggage in place before you board your flight. Passengers need to organize their luggage according to their travel requirements, for instance if you are flying to a new country or a continent then surely you would need two items of luggage (one hand carry item and other check-in item), likewise if you are flying to a domestic destination within your country then one carry in luggage might be sufficient to take care of your short stay.
1) Know the baggage limitations and charges of your airline
Most airlines in the US allow free baggage of one hand carry item and one check-in item at the time of boarding the plane, the second item of check-in luggage is usually chargeable by these airlines. However there are a few Airlines that charge extra for even one checked in luggage, Aer Lingus for example, charges a fee for even one item of check-in luggage on all its short haul flights within US, UK and Ireland. The dimensions of your hand carry luggage and check-in luggage need to match with the specifications listed in the airline baggage policy and also the allowable weight for them need to be within the specified limits.
Before you shop your tickets please read carefully about your airline baggage limitations and capacity, this will ensure a seamless travel experience thereby eliminating the need to pay any extra fees for extra or oversized items of your luggage.
2) Always use TSA recognized locks for your check-in luggage
The one thing that passengers must keep in mind before they check-in the luggage at the counter is to use only TSA recognized locks to lock their checked-in baggage. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is part of the US Department of Homeland Security that screens every passenger’s baggage before it is placed in the right airline and sometimes the TSA agents try to open some of the suspicious baggage items in order to ensure that they don’t contain any explosives or other illegal items. The use of TSA locks will guarantee peace of mind for you as the agents can use one master key to unlock in your absence without having them to break open the lock. The TSA locks can be had from most supermarket stores like Walmart, just look for a sideways diamond logo to identify them.
3) Don’t pack items which are prohibited by the TSA
Look for the prohibited list of items by TSA and make sure you don’t pack them inside your hand carry / check in baggage.
Some of the TSA prohibited items are
- Fireworks and other flammable items
- Batteries of some kind are allowed. You can carry AA size batteries in your check-in luggage, Lithium Ion batteries like the ones in your camera can only be carried in your carry-0n bags and wet / spillable batteries are prohibited completely unless they’re part of an electric wheel chair.
For a complete list of TSA prohibited items please click here.
4) Choose a distinctive color for your luggage
Whether you want to use a backpack or a suitcase with wheels for your check-in luggage, make sure you select a unique color and design that stands out from the rest. A unique and distinct looking check-in luggage will give you a seamless experience while collecting your luggage at the time of de boarding your plane and collecting it from the conveyor belt. We also strongly recommend you to attach a tag with your name, address and contact number to your luggage as this is going to help you immensely in the event of your baggage getting lost or misplaced, someone with access to your misplaced luggage can simply locate you by looking at the address tag.
5) Travel lite
Whether your trip is short or long, always make sure you don’t pack too much stuff for your stay, pack the right amount of toiletries and clothes that you need for your journey. This means that if the nature of your trip (like a small domestic stopover) doesn’t require you to carry a check-in item then you only need to hand carry one item that will serve the purpose of your entire travel. Never check in a hand carry item because it’s going to increase your waiting time at the destination airport when you un-board the plane to collect the checked in luggage.
When it comes to liquid toiletries that you can hand carry you need to know that most airlines in the US allow you to carry one quart-size, zip-top polythene bag that can contain containers of liquid gels not more than 3-4 ounces on board. If you want to carry more than this you need to check them into the check-in luggage. Whether you wish to carry the liquid toileteries in your hand carry bag or check-in bag make sure you place them in the right place, place them at safe places like in the main compartment of the bag so that they don’t get damaged. Sharp objects like nail cutters, razors and knifes need to be only put into your checked in luggage.
For hand carrying consider tucking in a Bose noise cancellation head phones for an enhanced audio experience, some under wears, perfumed cleaning tissues for wiping your face, a pair of clothes that may come handy, some mineral water bottles to stay hydrated on the plane and some snacks that can give you a refreshing on board experience. These items are essential to give you a very nice and comfortable flying experience.