How to pack like a pro, wherever you go
So, we’ve shown you how to clean hard-shell luggage, we’ve listed the essential items to pack in your hand-luggage, we’ve even pondered the eternal question: hard-shell suitcase or soft-shell suitcase? In this Q&A, we’re turning our attention to another hot (packing) topic: the restrictions on checked luggage. Because we want to save you from the pain and strain of irate airport conversations and unwelcome charges or refusals, here’s our dummy’s guide to packing your checked-in luggage right, every time. PS It would be remiss of us not to mention our handy packing cubes and other smart travel accessories at this stage…
What items are not allowed in checked luggage?
Here’s your travel checklist to what NOT to bring in your hold luggage. Some are obvious, some less so.
1. Flammable liquids and solids
Let’s begin with a bang. Unsurprisingly, flammable liquids and solids are a strict no-no.
2. Booze that’s over 140 proof
If you’re planning on bringing a bottle of something fiery, check the back of the bottle first. Anything over 140 proof is banned; this includes Bacardi 151 (151 proof), Everclear (190 proof) and Hapsburg Gold Label Premium Reserve Absinthe (179 proof).
3. E-ciggies and vaping devices
They’re everywhere you look, but e-cigarettes and vape devices remain on the banned list when it comes to your hold luggage. Put them in your carry-on and remember to remove them if you’re asked to check your bag at the gate.
4. Electronic lighters and matches
You can’t bring an electronic lighter onboard, although disposable and Zippo lighters without fuel can be checked in. You’re also allowed one disposable lighter in your carry-on, if it’s stored in your clear plastic bag with your other liquids. You can check in one book of safety matches, but strike-anywhere matches are forbidden.
5. Lithium batteries
Deservedly unpopular due to their tendency to explode mid-flight, lithium batteries are another no-no when it comes to checked luggage. However, lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries are allowed in your carry-on bag.
Antler tip: If your checked bag features a built-in charging port – like our stylish, whisper-quiet Stamford cabin cases – you will need to remove your charger before checking your bag in.
Other items to avoid putting in your checked-in luggage: a checklist
We will be highly surprised if you’re planning on taking any of the below with you on your next romantic getaway, business trip or family holiday, but here’s a handy checklist just in case…
- Oxidisers such as bleaching powders
- Organic peroxides
- Tear gas devices or any gas cylinders
- Infectious substances such as live virus materials
- Wet-cell car batteries
- Magnetrons. Instruments containing mercury
- Instruments containing magnets
- Fireworks and pyrotechnics
- Fire lighter, flammable paints, thinners
- Poisons, arsenic, cyanide, weedkiller
- Radioactive materials, acids, corrosives, alkalis, caustic soda
- Creosote, quicklime, oiled paper
- Vehicle fuel system components that have contained fuel
- Explosives, ammunition, detonators and related equipment
- Smoke canisters and smoke cartridges
Items we don’t recommend putting in checked-luggage…
These items aren’t banned, but we advise keeping them with you in your carry-on for peace of mind and easy access.
Laptops, tablets, e-readers, and other electronics
Few holidays can withstand the blow of shattered electronic devices, and checked bags are routinely chucked around by baggage handlers – avoid the risk of damage entirely by placing these items in your hand luggage. If you must put them in your checked luggage, get extra insurance to cover any breakages.
Jewellery, cash and other valuables
Keep your friends close, and your treasures closer. We recommend putting valuables such as jewellery and cash in your carry-on case, so you have them close to hand and don’t need to break a sweat in the unlikely event that your bag doesn’t materialise on the baggage carousel.
Passports and essential documents
Make travelling stress-free by having all your essential documents neatly tucked away, within reach in a travel wallet. Or perhaps in our chic Clifton Mini…
Again, it’s advisable to have your medication where you can see it and in easy reach if you need it on the go. Pack pills in your hand luggage; with a doctor’s note (or other proof) you can also bring more than the usual 100ml liquid allowance of medication in your hand luggage if needed.
Since X-rays from the security scanners can potentially damage your precious film, you’re better off placing it in your hand luggage. When you go through security, ask for the film to be scanned by hand.
Antler tip: Don’t put every single item of your clothing in your hold luggage – keep some spare clothes in your carry-on, so you won’t have to go naked on holiday if your bag goes AWOL.
Upgrade your hold luggage and hand luggage and get set to go away somewhere special. Browse other travel tips, wanderlust-inspiring interviews and deep dives on our blog.