I still remember my first flight to England. It’s been many years now but it still seems like yesterday. I was so excited to know I was actually leaving home to fulfill my dreams. My beloved sister accompanied me to the Airport and she even joined me in carrying my bags. It was the first international flight I ever took and I was really looking forward to it.
Looking back now – there are many things I learnt from my journey. One of them is the 5 things you should do before heading for the airport.
1) Make a note of your items
Make a note of everything in your travelling bag(s) or luggage. I mean EVERYTHING. Itemize and Note down every single thread of sandals, shoe, clothes, books and jacket. This is extremely important in case your luggage gets lost or stolen in transit. when an airline asks what was in your bag, you don’t want to forget anything of value. If you make a packing list before you travel, hang onto it — this is an easy way to remember everything you put into your bags. I know It sounds tedious but it may later prove useful if your baggage gets lost.
2) Label your travelling luggage
Many folks leave home without labelling their luggage. Thank God many airlines now insist that passengers tag and label their luggage. My advice is to label and tag your bags before heading for the airport. Make sure the labels are visible. The Outside Labels or tags should contain your name only. It’s unwise to put your home address or phone number on luggage tags, or elsewhere on the outside of your bags; miscreants (who have been known to collaborate with airline employees) could call your house to see if anyone answers, and target it for robbery should they discover otherwise.
On the other hand, putting your contact information on the inside of any checked bags is a good idea. If your bag goes lost, there is a good chance that it will have been separated from any tags it may have had; identifying data inside the bag allows the airlines to return your luggage. Nothing can be more frustrating than when You’re standing at a baggage carousel for what seems like forever when the steady flow of bags onto the conveyor belt slows to a trickle, then you can’t locate your luggage.
3) Check that all your valuables are in Your Hand Luggage
Keep all your expensive valuables in your hand baggage. Cameras, jewelry,phones, laptops, medication, wallets, passports, as well as confirmation numbers, itineraries, contact information and other documents necessary for your travel should never be in your checked baggage. Carry medication, money and important documents in your hand baggage. Pack sharp objects in your checked baggage, not in your hand baggage.
In addition, ensure that a change of clothing is put in your hand luggage in case your checked bag is delayed or goes astray. This way you will have something new to wear until your bag(s) are found and returned to you.
4) Confirm that there are no contraband goods in your bag
This is especially important if someone else has packed your bags for you. You should be concerned not only with the issue of items being removed from your bags, but those being introduced as well. There has been a number of reported cases where people have been imprisoned because of what is claimed to have been articles introduced into their checked bags. Such occurrences are, fortunately, pretty rare. They do happen, though, and it would be foolish not to consider the possibility of their happening to you. Never accept a bag from a stranger at the airport.
Be aware of quarantine laws and be sure you’re not carrying illegal substances
5) Confirm the Weight of your baggage and check the locks
Remember excess baggage will incur extra charges from the Airline. So weigh your baggage one more time and confirm it is within acceptable limits before you leave home. Make sure your luggage lock is in accordance with their specific baggage lock requirements – these can be opened by security officers using universal “master” keys so that your locks may not have to be cut.
I recommend the use of TSA-approved locks to avoid potential damage to your baggage. If you are travelling via the USA, the TSA (Transport Security Administration) may open bags as part of their security checks. Also, airline baggage tracing department may need to open your bag as part of their baggage tracing process, in the event that the outer label has come off your bag.
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