Guest Author - Ann Marie Hodrick
The best advice to give you on travelling with jewelry is simple: donít do it. For those of you like me who have a deep emotional attachment with all of your pieces, it would be tragic to lose just one of those itemsÖmuch less a whole collection. I can bet that everyone who travels has at one time or another either misplaced a carry-on during their travels or left something behind at their destination that could not be returned or even worse, been the victim of theft.
But what can I tell those of you like me who feel naked without wearing jewelry and would never consider going on a trip without it or if you will be attending a festive occasion like a wedding and need your jewels to complete that special outfit? Choose the minimum amount of jewelry that you can travel with and pack carefully.
Plan how you will accessorize your outfits as you set out clothes to pack. Try to take as few pieces as possible that will work with more than one outfit. Never take along any highly valuable or sentimental jewelry that would be impossible to replace.
If you are flying in a commercial plane, there are a few precautions you should take. Always hand carry your jewelry in a small carry-on, or purse. Never pack it in your luggage, even if it is a small suitcase that you plan to carry on the flight. There is always the chance that you will be required to check the bag before boarding the flight and the chance of theft in a checked bag is too high to risk. TSA will screen your luggage; baggage handlers will be moving it from place to place. If one or all of your jewelry pieces is stolen, it can be very hard to prove and a real hassle to file a successful claim with the airlines.
Travel jewelry cases are nice, but I suggest packing your jewelry in zip top plastic bags. Put each piece in a separate smaller bag and then put all the smaller bags in a larger bag. This way there is less risk of the items scratching each other or getting tangled. If you are packing a fine chain or earrings that need support, cut a piece of cardboard to fit in the zip bag, and then cut two slits along one edge of the cardboard. Drape the chain over the cardboard, placing it into each of the slits or place the earring posts or wires into the slits before placing it into the bag. Put the larger bag with all of your jewelry near the top of the items in your purse or carry on, but not on the top. You donít want it falling out accidentally or being seen by a thief looking for an opportunity.
The reason I suggest the plastic bags is because you will need to send your bag through the security scanner. If the TSA wish to search your bag, you will not be able to touch it and they probably wonít need to touch it either if they can see it through the plastic. If you are suspicious of the screener searching your bag or others seeing what you have in it, you can ask for your bag to be opened in a private area and for a supervisor to be present during the search as an added security measure. Never let the bag out of your sight.
Wear the minimum amount of jewelry on the days that you are actually travelling. You will need to go through security if your jewelry sets off the alarm while passing through and the act of removing a piece of jewelry then putting it a bin to go through the scanner, only opens it up to get misplaced at that point.
If you are staying in a hotel, it may be difficult to find a perfectly secure place to stash your jewelry during your stay. I would not recommend walking around your destination with it in your purse either. Check with the hotel to see if they have a safe deposit box that you can use or if your room has a safe that is secured to a wall where you can customize the code. Either of those may work well, but hotels usually have a disclaimer where they wonít be responsible. Speaking with the security staff at your hotel to ask their advice may be the best bet.
If the jewelry you will be travelling with is especially valuable, be sure that it is adequately insured and get it appraised before leaving home.