Traveling can be both a thrilling and stressful experience for most people. The prospect of visiting a new location is always exciting, but concerns about getting there safely and with minimal hurdles might dampen your excitement.
You don’t need to be an avid traveler to understand the challenges of packing fragile items in your suitcase. Most people can recall at least one experience where something they treasured was destroyed or shattered in their suitcase. However, such trauma shouldn’t put off the idea of bringing back that bottle of Merlot for your sister or that lava lamp your nephew asked for from your trip.
Traveling with fragile items can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. In fact, it can be quite manageable if you’re willing to follow a few key packing steps. So let’s look at some essential tips for packing fragile items in your suitcase.
1. Know Your Item’s Limits
It is vital to understand how much stress and strain an item you plan to travel with can withstand. For example, a wood or plastic wall clock should be able to withstand a fair amount of force applied from the sides and towards its center. However, the glass covering the clock face is more fragile and will need to be protected carefully.
Similarly, plates can also withstand some amount of effort applied from their sides inwards, but they also shatter if a blunt force is applied to their center.
Once you understand your item’s limits and most fragile points, you can start planning how to best pack them.
2. Stuff Hollow Items
If you intend to pack fragile items such as mugs or glasses in large luggage, you should remember to stuff them with something soft. For example, you can roll up a couple of pairs of socks and pack them inside a mug.
This strategy might not stop your item from shattering or breaking if a heavy force is applied to it. However, it will offer a bit more resistance than if the item’s cavity was empty during transit.
3. Use Bubble Wrap
Bubble wrap can be your best friend when it comes to protecting fragile items inside your suitcase. Its plastic air bubbles help distribute any force applied to the object it is wrapped around and shield it from blunt impacts. This wrap is incredibly cheap and easy to find, so you should be able to wrap up different fragile items before placing them in your suitcase.
When attempting to bubble wrap an object, it is important to remember to place the bubble side against your object. You can then wrap the entire object and seal the edges in place using tape.
4. Utilize Cardboard and Hard Containers
If you intend to pack a thin and fragile item that is likely to shatter or break under even small stresses, it is best to pack it inside a hard container or cardboard. For example, if you want to pack a pair of champagne glasses in a 30 inch luggage piece, you could place them in a large plastic tupperware container after covering them in bubble wrap.
With this arrangement, the tupperware container will shield the glasses from the stresses of other objects pushing against them. The bubble wrap will also prevent the glasses from moving around in their container.
Cardboard can also be incredibly useful for packing fragile items. For example, if you intend to transport a vinyl record disc in your suitcase, you can place two of three layers of equally sized cardboard sheets up against each side of the packaging. This arrangement will help prevent the disc from being bent or warped when stress is applied to it.
5. Fill Up All Empty Spaces
Packing a suitcase too tightly can be disastrous as it places a lot of force onto each item. However, traveling with a large luggage piece that is half-empty can be just as bad. This is because empty spaces give items to move around and collide with one another. For this reason you should aim to fill up any empty space in your suitcase.
You can accomplish this with a few extra clothes, bubble wrap, or even newspaper. Just make sure not to overfill the suitcase. Your goal should be to pack in enough items to prevent them from moving around when the suitcase is moved or turned over.
In some cases, it might be more feasible to use a smaller suitcase. After all, you might not need a 30 inch luggage piece for a two-day trip.
6. Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are another helpful item for transporting fragile items in your suitcase. These pouches are normally used to keep things organized, but packing cubes can also offer some degree of protection when utilized cleverly.
For example, if you are traveling with multiple fragile items such as three sets of watches, you can pack each one into a separating packing cube. You can also stuff each cube with socks or bubble wrap as an added protection measure.
7. Pick the Right Bag
As mentioned earlier, you might need to choose a smaller suitcase to avoid leaving empty spaces once the packing is complete. However, the type of suitcase you choose will also impact how safe your items remain in transit.
Traveling with something with little to no padding or solid protection such as a duffel bag can be disastrous if you intend to transport fragile items. For such situations, you might want to invest in a hard shell suitcase. These suitcases are better at shielding their contents from blunt impacts and can keep them relatively well protected, even when other suitcases are stacked on top of them in a luggage hold.
8. Use a Fragile Sticker
Fragile stickers are usually a last minute measure for people traveling with fragile items. These stickers inform baggage handlers that your luggage contains fragile items and that they should be careful when loading and unloading them onto vehicles or aircrafts.
This strategy might not always work depending on the airport you will be flying to and from. However, it doesn’t hurt to slap a couple of these stickers onto your 30 inch luggage piece if you want to be extra careful about fragile items.
Keep Fragile Items Safe on Your Travels
The above tips should be useful for anyone who is concerned about protecting fragile items in their suitcase during travel. These strategies might not guarantee that your items reach their destination safely. However, they do improve their chances significantly.
Once you reach your destination, you can make your trip easier by utilizing luggage with shelves. The large luggage offerings from Royce and Rocket are perfect for travelers who want to make their upcoming trip easier and more manageable.