This Fall, more than 150 million travelers are expected to fly through the nation’s airports. With the increase in travelers and an increase in security measures, John Vermilye and Joel Blumenthal are men with baggage who are good to know. With more than 50 combined years of experience in the travel and luggage industry, these men offer tips for the family, business and single travelers on how to pack, expedite the screening process and ensure their luggage makes it to their vacation destinations. John Vermilye, Founder and Chairman of Travel Sentry, a security solutions organization that created and licenses Travel SentryTM Certified locks which allow travelers to lock checked bags, offers five key tips on helping ensure your luggage makes it to your destination:
• Lock your bags.
• Place your name, address and cell phone number inside and outside of the luggage
• Make sure the desk agent has the correct final-destination on the tag placed onto your suitcase
• To avoid mistaken identify of your bag, be sure to mark your bag to make it unique. Tie a ribbon, sew on a patch, or write your name on your bag with a metallic or permanent marker
• Use a hard-sided suitcase.
There are several new models coming on the market with Travel SentryTM Certified locks built in. These bags do a better job of protecting your belongings. “Think of your bag sitting on top of the baggage cart during a rainstorm while it waits to be loaded on the plane,” says Vermilye, “Now think of your bag sitting at the bottom of the pile getting crushed by all the bags above it. Any questions?” Vermilye, who served as the Director of Corporate Baggage Operations for Eastern Airlines and who recently assisted the TSA in developing a baggage screening system to efficiently process 1.5 million bags per day, reports that in his 30 years in the baggage industry, the most common mistake travelers make when checking their bags is to not lock them.
“It’s not just to protect them from theft, but many times bags burst open due to airline baggage handling, over packing and worn latches,” says Vermilyea. “An easy way to prevent this is to lock your bags using TSA accepted locks. Even with hard-case luggage, it is a good idea to get a strap for additional security.” Identified by a red diamond logo on the lock body, Travel SentryTM Certified locks allow TSA to use a series of codes and secured tools to access and search bags as needed, then re-lock them. Travel Sentry licenses the lock system to many manufacturers including Brookstone, Samsonite, Prestolock, Lewis N. Clark and others that can be found, along with retailers. Joel Blumenthal, a father of two boys, golfer, diver, and lifelong skier and the President of Travel Sentry, offers tips on traveling with sporting gear and kids.
Blumenthal says the key to traveling with sporting equipment, whether it’s golf clubs or skis is to know the weight restrictions airlines are now enforcing on checked luggage. Most airlines provide a list of sports equipment and the weights accepted (some even break it down to the number of golf clubs). “Also be sure to lock up your valuable gear,” states Blumenthal, “Locking your sports gear ensures that even if a snap, buckle or zipper breaks, your bag will have a better chance of staying together if it is locked.” Blumenthal, who travels every year with his kids, says that traveling with kids can be fun. His failsafe method is to have each child carry his or her own backpack.
Before each trip, he has the kids pack what they want to take on the plane. The night before the trip he adds new books, cards, CD’s, surprises and snacks. Blumenthal also makes sure that each backpack has an ID tag with his and his wife’s cell phone numbers. “Traveling can be confusing, especially for kids,” says Blumenthal, “By having our cell phone numbers on the bags, we know that if either of the kids ever gets lost in the airport, they can simply ask an airport or airline employee to call us.”