File this neat trick under "must-try for my next trip."
Nothing puts a damper on vacation plans quite like having your belongings damaged, stolen, or, worse, your bags never arriving at all. Every serial traveler knows the gamble one takes when checking his or her luggage, including picking up a suitcase from the baggage carousel that—for lack of better words—looks like it took a severe beating during the flight. While we can’t help you with the lost luggage debacle, we do have a cheap and incredibly simple solution for safeguarding your suitcase and its contents. And no, it doesn’t involve packing everything in a carry-on.
On your next trip, why not try wrapping the outside of your luggage in plastic wrap? Instead of paying a hefty fee to have the airport professionally shrink wrap your bags, you can save money with a roll of cling wrap, taken straight from the kitchen cupboard. Just wrap your checked bags tightly around the center, or you can even cover the entire bag in thin plastic. This method will prevent the fabric, zippers, pockets, and straps from being damaged. In addition, it can also serve as a theft monitor, as any rips in the plastic may be a sign that someone has attempted to tamper with your things.
However, if you’re concerned that your wrapping efforts will all be for nought once your bag makes it to security screening, don’t be.
"The vast majority of checked baggage is screened without the need for a physical bag search," said Michelle Negron, Assistant Press Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "However, if a bag alarms during the screening process, our officers must open the bag for inspection. Our officers will place a notice of baggage inspection inside the bag to inform the owner of the bag that an inspection of their property was conducted. Our officers will do their best in packing the items as they were found."
According to Negron, it’s also pretty common for travelers to use duct tape in the place of plastic wrap. Another suggestion she offered to keep track of your belongings is to place an identification tag with your name, address, and phone number on the inside of your suitcase.
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Sure, wrapping your luggage in plastic may be an eyesore, albeit a temporary one, but it can also give you peace of mind when packing for your next getaway.