Is your carry-on luggage about to be checked?
1.) Know the carry-on rules for every airline of your trip and read them carefully. Many allow a carry-on bag AND a personal item (like laptop case, purse, camera bag). But some allow only one bag. And some are more strict about having your laptop case just filled with a computer and accessories, not magazines and shampoo. (Here's a comprehensive list of the major airlines to get you started.)
3.) Weigh the bag. You’d be amazed at how heavy a small bag can be. Carrying something very, very important that you’d never want to check? Weigh your bag on more than one scale. Depending on the age and quality of the scale, the results can differ up to 20%.
4.) Know about on-plane rules. While rarely enforced, many airlines reserve the right to require wheeled suitcases to be placed underneath the seat in front of you. (I think it’s for safety reasons with the bags being prone to falling when overhead bags are opened).
6.) Have your bag well organized. There are tons of sites that review best packing methods, allowing you to maximize your space and tidiness.
Be prepared to have security look at your things. Make their job an easy one.
8.) Bring a high quality luggage lock with you. You may need one to secure your belongings at hostels, bus terminals, gyms, and swimming pools and you will be glad you have it for carry-on luggage as well. Choose one that is TSA approved so they can open it without damaging the lock if your unexpectedly checked bag is randomly selected for additional screening.
10.) Give your bag a distinguishing feature if it doesn't have one already. There are colourful compression straps you can place around the middle, bright, bold luggage tags, and iron on patches you can use. Or buy anything other than black!
I know this sounds like a lot to think about - shouldn't travel be fun and carefree? But there is nothing fun about losing your luggage - or having your checked luggage suddenly tossed into the cargo hold. In my experience, a bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to making airline travel a little more pleasant and a lot more tolerable.
If you enjoyed this article, you'll also love these blog posts:
Travel Gear Review: GoToobs
Why I'll Always Travel With A Headlamp
Do You Need To Pack A Travel Towel?