Travel Tip: Know Before You Go

When I go through security checkpoints at the airport I am fully aware that I may not be reunited with my carry-on post pat down. Frankly, I am a bit surprised that I have fared as well as I have given that I am typically too busy trying to get my young child through the metal detectors and past wand-swinging TSA agents to keep an eye on our bags.

Needless to say, my concern about losing my material possessions while flying only intensified after learning about the recent TSA employee-run robbery ring that was uncovered a few weeks ago.

Am I paranoid or suspicious of everyone who comes into contact with my belongings on planes and in airports?

Heck, yeah!

But, I am far from alone.

Hundreds of thousands of travelers have also voiced concerns about the shady practices exercised by dishonest security agents, baggage handlers and fellow flyers.

So what can you do to make flying a little less frightening?

Here are a few tips from top travel experts:

1. Separate your most valuable items and place them in a clear plastic bag before sending them through the x-ray machine. According to the experts, by placing your identification, wallet, cash, and jewelry in plain sight, everyone knows it’s there and the opportunity to steal it and get away with it is drastically reduced.

2. Conduct a verbal inventory. Experts suggest that you state out loud what you are handing over to a TSA worker. For example, consider saying: “This is my watch, my belt, my ID, and my cell phone.” The thought is that if a security person hears you say what you are handing over, he may be less likely to try to take something.

3. Bury your valuables. My mom always tells me to keep my wallet near the top of the pile of stuff in my purse. However, travel experts suggest burying your wallet and other valuables once you board the plane. The deeper the better, so as to make it extremely hard for a thief to dip into your bag and retrieve the good stuff in the blink of an eye.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.