Most of us have been there – you cross security and are asked to open your suitcase. You are not a happy camper standing in front of your open suitcase which is a de-facto disaster zone. A shampoo bottle and a large tube of zinc SPF lotion burst open during the flight due to the air pressure. Your best clothes are stained and dirty, maybe destroyed for everything is a large sticky mess. The officials ruffle through the mess with their gloved hands, ruffling your stuff up it even more. It’s just a random check to make sure you didn’t bring in anything illegal, and lo and behold, there at the bottom of the case is the content of the fruit basket your friends sent you on the trip. Bringing fruit from abroad is illegal. It will be confiscated and if you’re lucky you’ll escape without a fine.
Here are some tips to avoid disasters such as the one described above:
1. Put all bottles and containers of creams, lotions, shampoos, etc. in strong Ziploc bags.
I even go a step further – ever since my perfume bottle collided with my moisturizer and both broke, I wrap each item separately in plastic wrap and then put them in the strongest Ziploc bags available. Don’t skimp on quality. Buy the best most durable brand name ones you can find.
2. Buy the strongest and most durable luggage.
Another thing not to skip on: your luggage. I always wanted a set in white with black trim. I also wanted it to be inexpensive. I found it – $80 for three pieces! Alas, I didn’t get to enjoy them long. By trips’ end, the carousel had two pitiful, once white suitcase remains, tied with ropes and tape, my clothes half out. The hand luggage lost its wheels mid-trip the zipper broke and was put to sleep in a foreign country. I got a backpack instead.
Now I travel with solid, sturdy luggage. It was far more expensive, but I have had it for years.
3. Pack light.
Put out everything you want to take. Then cut it in half or even less and take that’s what you should actually pack. Take the bare minimum and you’ll be grateful.
4. Vitamin bottles.
I read an article in which the writer advocated not to stuff vitamin bottles in shoes because security might think they are drugs. Well, if the bottles are sealed, or even if not, in most countries they can be distinguished from illegal drugs. Their shape, size and smell will clearly indicate what they are. Try to buy the gel caps when possible and yes, do tuck bottles in shoes, hats, anywhere with a gap to save space. Genius.
5. Pack devices and electronic safely.
Pack a set of plugs to convert your plugs to those of the countries you are visiting. Make sure they are of good quality so they won’t blow your device or the fuse in the place you’re staying. Charge the battery of your camera and make sure to pack lenses, filters, etc.
Have a great trip!