Never Put These Items in Your Checked Bag

Packing for vacation is hard. Most travelers know the drill for carry-ons, but what about your checked baggage? Not only are there specific rules for what you can and can’t bring, but some things could get stolen or lost along the way. Never pack the following items in your checked bag, especially the beloved accessory on page 10.

1. Camera film

Film sitting between a digital and film camera

Don’t let your film get damaged. | Michael_Blaeck/iStock/Getty Images

Still taking photos with regular film? Then you may not want to stash it in your checked luggage. There’s a real risk that the x-ray machine your bag passes through could damage the film and ruin your chances of capturing those priceless vacation memories.

Next: This item is so annoying to replace when it gets lost.

2. House keys

Mortgage paperwork

Keep your keys with you. | FabioBalbi/Getty Images

You may not need them in the airport, but just think: what if you lose your bag? Replacing house keys or car keys is frustrating — and it’s also avoidable. Keep all your keys with you (be sure you take them out of your pockets while you’re going through the security scanners).

Next: You’ll want this in the airport — not in your checked bag.

3. Chargers

Charger plug phone on car

Don’t pack chargers in your bag. | CASEZY/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re stuck waiting in the airport for a long time, you might end up wanting to charge some of your electronic devices. Then you’ll regret packing your chargers in a checked bag. It’s a good idea to bring portable charging devices with you and to keep your wall chargers in your carry-on. Then if your bag gets lost, you won’t have to replace everything!

Next: These always belong in your carry-on.

4. Identifying documents

Airplane boarding passes, passport, travel, map

You’ll need your passport with you. | iStock/Getty Images

This is an easy mistake to make, but it’s so important that you don’t make it! Be sure to pack your boarding pass, passport, and other identification documents like your driver’s license into your carry-on bag or personal item since you’ll need them to get through security.

Next: Weird item you can actually pack in your carry on.

5. Screwdrivers


Make sure to measure before you pack it. | 13-smile/iStock/Getty Images

A screwdriver sounds like a tool that the TSA would prohibit completely. But as it turns out, the agency allows travelers to pack screwdrivers that measure shorter than 7 inches either in their carry-on or checked baggage. Counterintuitively, the TSA prohibits ice picks. Ice picks are usually a lot smaller than 7 inches, but they do have sharp ends — or at least ones that are sharper than those of a screwdriver.

Next: Imagine other luggage falling on top of this item.

6. Laptops


Your laptop could get damaged. | Ipopba/iStock/Getty Images

Have you ever seen how checked luggage gets thrown around? Baggage handlers have a lot of stuff to put onto the plane and a very short amount of time to do it. It’s not that they’re trying to be rough with your stuff — they just have to get their job done quickly and efficiently. Make sure you pack expensive, breakable items like laptops into your carry-on bag instead.

Next: In case you want to mix your own margarita.

7. Blenders

Single electric blender

You can take it without the blade. | Starush/iStock/Getty Images

Surprisingly enough, the TSA allows you to pack a blender in your carry-on — so long as you take one important precaution. You have to remove the blade from the blender. Then, you have to either leave the blade behind — which would probably render it pretty useless — or pack it in your checked baggage. The TSA also advises, “Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.”

Next: You might need this during a delay.

8. Daily medication

Medications on shelves of medicine cabinet

Keep your meds in your carry-on. | smartstock/iStock/Getty Images

Always prepare for the worst case scenario. Let’s say your flight gets delayed or canceled — you may need that medication, and there’s a chance you won’t be able to access your bag. Anything that you require on a daily basis should go in your carry-on. Only put items in your checked baggage that you can live without for the day (or longer).

Next: Your checked bag should never have these two items in it.

9. Cash or credit cards

$100 bills

Hold onto your money. | Halduns/iStock/Getty Images

No doubt you’ll want to pack some cash for a vacation, but your checked bag is not the place to keep it. Incidents of theft may be rare, but there are certain airports where they happen frequently, and the last thing you’ll want on the first day of vacation is an empty wallet. Better safe than sorry — keep your cash tucked close for the duration of your flight.

Next: Lust leave this precious accessory at home.

10. Jewelry

Jewelry vintage

Don’t pack your jewelry. | itakefotos4u/iStock/Getty Images

Wearing your jewelry through the security scanners is a major no-no. But you won’t necessarily want to put it in your checked bag, either, because it could get stolen or lost with your bag. Tuck jewelry into your carry-on in a well-protected pocket. Better yet, leave your most precious jewelry at home when you travel. That way it’s guaranteed not to get lost.

Next: Packing these items could leave you with a big mess.

11. Unsecured liquids

two bottles of shampoo

Secure your liquids. |

Yes, you can pack your full-sized shampoo in your checked bag. But you do not want to leave it in with a loose cap, or it’s possible you could wind up with shampoo covered outfits that are way more difficult to clean on vacation.

Next: Assume total strangers will be looking at this type of item.

12. Confidential items

"Confidential" printed on brown vintage envelope

Keep secret items out of your checked bag. |

There’s a good chance no one will go through your bag. But there’s also a good chance they will. If your bag gets selected for a random search, assume everything in there will get touched by a security agent. Documents with financial information or other private materials should never go inside a checked bag.

Next: Keep a spare of this in your carry-on bag at all times.

13. All your clothes

woman packing suitcase

Don’t pack all your clothing. | Tatomm/iStock/Getty Images

You should have at least one emergency outfit in your carry-on for the same reason that you shouldn’t pack medication or other daily necessities in there — luggage gets lost and flights get delayed. You won’t want to be stranded on vacation with nothing but the clothes on your back, right? It’s best to prepare for never seeing your bag again (and hope that never happens).


Next: You can ask a TSA agent if these items are allowed.

14. Prohibited items

Fire Crackers

Don’t bring your fireworks. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Fireworks, gasoline, aerosol, spray paint, gun lighters, flares — the list of prohibited items for checked luggage is obvious, but still, it never hurts to double check. You can always tweet a TSA agent or contact them on Facebook if you have specific questions about something you were planning to bring.

Next: You could get in big trouble for packing these types of items.

15. Flammable items

Red and yellow gasoline can

Don’t pack lighter fluid. |

Gasoline, lighter fluid, flammable paints, and cooking fuel may not go in your carry-on or your checked baggage. If these are items that you need for your trip, then you’ll need to purchase them after you reach your destination — not before.

Next: This type of item won’t do you any good when it’s lost.

16. Work materials

man multi-tasking at the office with a cup of coffee, a planner, and computer

Pack your work materials in your carry-on. |

Going on a business trip? You may not want to stash all the materials you need for your presentation in your checked bag. If it happens to get lost, you won’t just be dealing with purchasing new clothing — you’ll also be scrambling to recreate all the documents you need for the trip.

Next: Anything in this category should not be placed in your checked bag.

17. Anything irreplaceable

Wedding Rings

Keep your rings safe. | Paulrichstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Your grandfather’s pocket watch. Your wedding jewelry. Priceless family heirlooms. These are just some examples of items you should never pack in your checked luggage. Need to transport something like this? Either put it in your carry-on, or ship it with insurance instead. But really the best way to get your precious item from point A to point B safely is to literally carry it on your person.

Read more: Flyer Beware: This Is the No. 1 Airport in the U.S. for Stolen Baggage

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