How to Pack Jewelry for Travel

By Amy Curtis

The best ways to carry baubles and gems on your trip

How to Pack Jewelry for Travel

Accessorizing is the key to making a few good pieces of clothing suffice for an entire trip. When it comes to jewelry, though, transporting it raises questions. How can travelers prevent their jewelry from becoming tangled or damaged in transit? How much jewelry is too much to bring? Is it safe to travel with jewelry?

What to pack

  • Bring the kind of statement pieces that can make an outfit. Choose bold pieces that stand out without being flashy or appearing expensive. This adds personality to neutral clothing, creating the appearance of an entirely new outfit and making a basic wardrobe go further.
  • Pack favorite pieces that make the wearer feel confident. The pieces that make you happy are the ones to bring along. If a favorite piece is expensive, try to find a knockoff substitute. It’s not worth it to bring something well-loved just to have it stolen from the hotel room.
  • Bring only jewelry that's replaceable. A family heirloom should not travel abroad, nor should other pieces with sentimental value. Consider leaving even wedding and engagement rings at home, opting for an inexpensive substitution. Loss, not theft, is the real concern here, and who wants the heartbreak of an engagement ring slipping off into the ocean, or Grandma’s Claddagh ring tumbling into the air conditioning shaft at the hotel?

What to leave behind

  • Leave the expensive jewelry at home. No matter how many precautions are taken, expensive jewelry can attract thieves, and that’s not the kind of attention desired when traveling. Stick to costume jewelry, not just because there’s a risk of theft, but because worrying about theft can ruin a vacation.
  • Don’t travel with jewelry that can easily fall off. Almost everyone has that favorite piece that’s just a little bit problematic. Maybe the earrings tend to catch on things and pull out, or maybe the ring is just a tad too big. Avoid the hassle of crawling on the floor of an airplane, train or tourist hot spot by leaving these pieces at home.

Checked bags versus carry-ons

The beauty of a checked bag is that there’s more room to pack those truly stunning pieces. The drawback is that they’re more likely to be lost or stolen if checked. Lost luggage is a reality, and even bags that make it to their intended destination are sometimes tampered with along the way. It’s not hard for thieves to break into a suitcase – even if it’s locked – by manipulating the zipper. A carry-on is a safer bet, but keeping them with you in your purse may be the safest option of all.

Other considerations

Lay out each outfit before it’s packed, pair it with the jewelry it matches and then roll that jewelry up in the outfit – a smart move that keeps everything together and ensures you’re not bringing too much. Since rolling clothes makes them fit in a carry-on more easily, this might be your perfect solution.

Tip

Photograph each piece of jewelry before packing it, preferably with the outfit it matches. That way, it’s easy to remember what’s there without having to dig through everything. Additionally, having photographs of everything that came along helps to ensure that nothing gets left behind.

Jewelry rolls are a good way to transport jewelry, and they're easily purchased at various retailers. These allow the traveler to easily and conveniently store jewelry in a compact way. It’s still advisable to match the jewelry with individual outfits before packing it, though, to keep from bringing too much.

Other clever solutions for packing jewelry include slipping a straw onto a necklace before clasping it and packing it, to prevent tangling; packing earrings by hooking each pair through the holes of a button; and using a carabiner to transport rings. Be creative. Use a mint tin or lip balm tube as jewelry storage. Roll jewelry up in a washcloth or stash it in a sock. Or simply pack each piece in its own plastic zip-close bag.

If leaving those expensive pieces at home is beyond comprehension, then secure them in a jewelry roll, pack them in a purse that stays with you and lock them in the hotel safe upon arrival. Before leaving home, though, have them insured. The peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re protected will help make the vacation just that much more relaxing.