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TravelHaven Tips — Things You Should Never Pack in Checked Luggage

There have been several reports recently about organized theft of valuables by baggage handlers from checked luggage at U.S. airports. What valuables? Phones, tablets, cameras, watches, gold rings, jewelry, money.

Wait a minute! Cash in a checked bag? Jewelry? What is wrong with people?

We have no idea. And we’re certain that you’re not foolish enough to put such items in luggage that you then abandon to the vagaries of airport and airline baggage processing. But just in case, here’s a list of things to NEVER leave in your checked luggage.

• Cash, currency
• Negotiable papers or securities
• Jewelry, watches
• Cameras or photographic equipment of any kind
• Personal electronic equipment/devices – MP3 players, laptops, tablets, phones – or related components
• Keys, house or vehicle
• Medications
• Optical devices, including eyeglasses, binoculars, telescopes
• Business contracts and documents
• Precious metals, stones or materials
• Art objects, sculptures, historical artifacts
• Irreplaceable books, publications, collectibles (such as baseball cards), antiques, heirlooms
• Original manuscripts
• Furs, including coats, gloves, hats

In short, don’t put anything valuable in your checked baggage, period — unless you okay with the chance that it will be lost, damaged or stolen, and you recognize that you will most likely not be reimbursed for the loss.

Really, no reimbursement? That’s right, reimbursement from airlines or airports for lost valuables is rare and exceptional. Isn’t it be better to carry your valuable objects on your person or in your carry-on? And keep in mind that the maximum liability with luggage is either $3,400 on domestic flights and about half that on most international flights. If you travel with a lot of expensive clothes, you may want to check on what your insurance will cover you, if your bag goes missing.

If you have to bring something valuable that won’t fit in a carry-on, ask the airline before your flight whether it will cover loss or damage. If it won’t, it’s probably best to ship the item instead, insured.

And about those medications? ALWAYS carry necessary medication with you at all times. Never mind the monetary value, what matters is the medicinal value. If your checked bag goes missing, you won’t have access to your medicine anymore. And getting a new prescription in an unfamiliar place is always a hassle.