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Travel Tips: How to Keep Your Belongings Safe During a Flight

Travel Tips: How to Keep Your Belongings Safe During a Flight

During a flight, it’s inevitable that you will be separated from your belongings; this is part and parcel of the process, and we can only hope that our items are handled with care. Most of the time we check in our luggage and pick it up from baggage claim without any problems, but we all secretly worry that we’ll lose something precious or never be reunited with a suitcase again. It is crucial to think about how to keep your belongings safe during a flight, not just before or after.

So, how safe are your belongings when you fly? Sadly, there have been occasions on U.S. and worldwide flights where a passenger’s belongings were stolen by security agents, baggage handlers, and even fellow travelers, so you can never be too careful when it comes to safeguarding your possessions. To avoid the unlikely but devastating event of losing your belongings on a flight, here are four tips to help you keep your luggage safe.

Store It All In One Place

The best way to safeguard your possessions is to keep them all with you in your carry-on bag. Unfortunately, due to weight and space restrictions, this isn’t always possible, so if you’re traveling a long distance or going away for more than a few days, then you’re going to need to check a bag into the airplane’s hold. If you have valuables in your hold luggage, store them all in one place like in a clear zip-lock bag or side pocket. That way, you’ll be able to spot immediately if something is missing.

Store Fragile Items In a Hard Case

If you’ve packed anything fragile in your hold luggage (such as a small musical instrument, sports equipment or anything made from glass), then make sure these items are well protected by wrapping them in towels or layers of bubble wrap. If you’ve ever seen airline baggage attendants in action then you’ll know those suitcases get bashed about a lot, so always pack fragile items in a hard case to avoid breakages.

Expensive Equipment? Choose Lightweight Alternatives

Bulky sports items are difficult to pack, which is why some airlines will let you check them in as additional luggage. The only problem with this is that many people will want to keep their sporting equipment as close to them as possible, limiting the risk of damage, theft or loss. While you may think you’re unable to check your equipment in as hand luggage, you may be surprised by how wrong you are.

If you like to travel with music equipment, then you’re able to find smaller and more robust equivalents. Additionally, if you have a BMX or scooter you wish to travel with, then you can invest in lightweight and highly portable equipment such as anchor bars and decks from the notorious Elite Scooters brand, known for their durable metal and weight benefits. Once you’ve got lightweight alternatives, you can take your equipment apart and pack it into a carry-on bag.

Keep Anything You Can’t Replace on Your Person

It’s a lot harder for your belongings to go missing if you keep them in your pocket or handbag, so carry anything you can’t immediately replace on your person at all times. That way, even if you lose your suitcase, you will still have your ID documents, credit cards, and prescription medications safely in your possession.

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.


  1. Good advice! I’m always cursed with camera equipment, scuba gear, c-pap, and electronics. sigh.

    • Carmen Edelson

      Yes, that’s a lot to take with you and worry about!

  2. These are such great tips! I always keep a small tote bag with me under my seat with all of my non-replaceable items and makeup bag!

    • Carmen Edelson

      That’s a great idea, Kristen 🙂

  3. I’m rather obsessive about keeping my valuables close to me! I carry a cross-body shoulder bag and my passport, money, and credit cards go there. Everything else valuable is in a carry-on that is small enough I know I’ll never be separated from it. And I try to minimize the number of valuables I travel with.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I try and do the same, Tami! Great minds 🙂

  4. Really great tips! I only travel with a carry on suitcase for these exact reasons!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I really try and do the same, but it doesn’t always work out for longer trips to different destinations!

  5. I always get nervous when I’m separated from my luggage and breathe a sigh of relief when I see it again! I don’t carry everything on but I carry on a number of things that I know I would be devastated not to have.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I feel your pain, Becky!

  6. These are all such great tips! Fortunately, I have never had anything stolen or lost, but you never know.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I’ve been fortunate too but have heard horror stories from friends!

  7. I love to travel and these are great tips! I usually keep all my belongings with me at all times in my backpack. The main reason is that I’m so worried I’d leave something behind, forget it, and lose so many valuable things. I think the real trick to keeping up with belongings is mastering going through security. My husband left his laptop there once…luckily we noticed before we left.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I left a camera there and noticed after 5 minutes, luckily it was still there! But you’re so right.

  8. Amanda

    I’ve heard that if you pack all your undies or dirty socks or things something “not so pretty” on top of your bag then thieves are less likely to tamper with your bag. I know of one person that actually bought a fake FBI jacket on Amazon for $10 and always puts that on the top of his bag. No one wants to attempt to steal from that bag!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Oh my god, what amazing ideas!

  9. While I’ve never personally had anything stolen from checked luggage my mother-in-law had a laptop stolen from hers. She was reimbursed after the claims process but it was a big hassle. I am very careful with my carry on bags., especially since I bring all my valuables and medications in it. I’ll be on some smaller planes this summer and have to get strategic about how I pack checked vs carry-on. Very helpful tips.

    • Carmen Edelson

      That’s horrible! I’m glad she got it back but I’m sure it wasn’t easy.

  10. I usually like to keep my bag close to my feet or on my lap. If that’s not working, I have a wallet that I can hide under my clothes which works perfectly!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I do the same, Anna!

  11. If you have a roller carry-on, have your electronics, medications, passport, etc. in a plastic bag inside your carry-on so you can quickly pull it out if you’re required to gate-check your carry-on. I usually have such items in my handbag, but my husband has done this a number of times, when the overhead bins were full or when the plane was too small to have overhead bins and roller bags were gate-checked.

    • Carmen Edelson

      All great suggestions, thank you!

  12. Great tips. I always fret when traveling. My laptop comes onboard, as does my sons medication, our phones, games consoles, everything. As you say, never separate yourself from something you can’t easily replace. I still keep hold of my eldest’s passport, even though he is 18!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I do the same with my children, Bryan! 🙂

  13. There are all such a great tips. Thanks for sharing information with us !!

    • Carmen Edelson

      You’re very welcome 🙂

  14. Thank you Carmen. These are really good tips to keep our belongings safe while travelling by air. It’s useful for me as i travel a lot.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I’m so happy you found this useful! Happy travels 🙂

  15. Really Nice tips. Thank you for sharing. Keep going

    • Carmen Edelson

      I appreciate it 🙂

  16. A very intresting blog post …..

  17. I found it so late. On my trip to Dubai, I lost some things during travel. Maybe this will help someone else. Thanks Carmen!!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Sorry to hear that, hope you still enjoyed Dubai!

  18. Although it is 2020, However, these tips are definitely something I want to keep in mind for my next trip.

    I will be coming back to refer to this article when flight travel begins again

    Thanks a lot Carmen for this article.
    Andrew recently posted…Instrument Rating: Everything you need to know 2021My Profile

    • Carmen Edelson

      Yes, and I will certainly be updating this in 2021!

  19. Solid anti-theft tips for air travel! Keeping your most important possessions on your person is definitely a must. What I do is use a hidden money belt with a zipper to hold my passport and credit cards, especially when I take advantage of the airport bar before liftoff 🙂
    Chuck recently posted…Top 5 Best Home Alarm Systems with Cameras (2021 Reviews)My Profile

    • Carmen Edelson

      Yes I agree!

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