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Tips for Traveling with Jewelry

What jewelry to bring on your vacation and how to pack it.

Travel plans are nearly synonymous with the summer months. Whether you’re planning a big trip abroad, a meandering road trip or plenty of adventures at the beach, you may have questions about what jewelry to leave behind, what to bring and how to pack it.

Don’t leave your accessory plan to the last minute. Instead, start by reviewing these travel jewelry tips.

What to bring — and what to leave at home

No matter where you’re traveling or for how long, keep in mind a vacation is a break from routine and daily worries. For most leisure travel, the simple rule is don’t bring anything you’re going to worry about losing. It’s best to leave items of great monetary or emotional value at home unless they’re a key part of how you plan to outfit yourself for a special trip event.

But this doesn’t mean you should leave all jewelry at home. A vacation’s a great time to accessorize, and a great excuse to expand your jewelry wardrobe to include some inexpensive basics.

For the most part, stick with just a few neutral pieces — small hoop or stud earrings, a small pendant, a chain-link bracelet — that will work with multiple outfits. But throw in a few whimsical statement pieces, too. They’ll dress up even your most basic travel outfit. And since you’re sticking to less expensive jewelry, you can likely afford to go trendy.

Consider alternatives for your wedding finger

What about your wedding band and engagement ring? Depending on your destination and activities, it’s often best to leave your engagement ring at home and wear just your more subdued wedding band. (If your wedding band is flashier or more expensive, do the reverse.)

If you’re bound for the wilderness or abroad, or just don’t want to worry about losing or caring for fine jewelry, consider swapping out both for a less expensive (but equally meaningful) travel band on your wedding finger.

Maybe you still want the look of your diamond engagement or wedding ring but don’t want to risk your own. Consider a look-a-like at a fraction of the cost. Colorless or “white” gems, like white topaz or crystal, can play the part of your pricier and more emotionally precious diamond jewelry.

If you do choose to travel with any fine jewelry, this is a good time to set up jewelry insurance for those pieces if you haven’t already.

How to pack jewelry for travel

You’ve taken your vacation plans into account and decided what jewelry to bring. Perhaps you’ve laid all your necklaces and bracelets on your bed — and they’re already getting tangled. How will they ever make it tangle-free, clean and organized to your destination?

Consider these methods for packing jewelry for your vacation.

  • Travel jewelry case: If you travel frequently, it might make sense to invest in a travel case made specifically for jewelry. (These are sometimes called travel jewelry organizers or jewelry rolls.) It doesn’t have to be pricey, but a good travel jewelry case will have compartments to keep your individual jewelry items both organized and free from tangles and scratching.
  • Straws: Keep necklace chains tangle-free by slipping one end through a drinking straw (one chain per straw) then closing the clasp. Put all the straws in a toothbrush holder to keep your necklaces safe and contained. Do you also have a chunky necklace or two in the mix? Follow the same process using a toilet paper tube.
  • Index cards: Keep earrings organized and easy-to-find by using a safety pin to poke holes through an index card then inserting earrings and sealing the backs. Wrap a cloth around the card then pack it with the rest of your jewelry.
  • Buttons: This trick works to keep earring pairs together for travel and at home. If you have spare buttons (especially larger ones), pair your earrings through the holes and seal the backs, one earring pair per button. When you’re packing for a trip, put the buttons you want to take in a small ziplock bag or wrap them in a small cloth for added protection.
  • Daily pill box: You know those seven-day pill boxes used to manage weekly pill doses? They’re the perfect size for storing individual earrings, rings and even smaller bracelets and necklaces. By putting just one item (or earring pair) in a box, jewelry stays tangle-free and organized. And since the boxes are connected, you have all your jewelry in one place. A related trick: Use old prescription pill bottles to pack individual jewelry items, then place all the bottles in a larger ziplock bag.
  • Small sealable snack cups: If you have small children in the house, you likely have an array of small, sealable plastic bowls or snack cups. These are a great size for storing individual chunkier necklaces, bracelets or earrings, or a collection of earring-pair buttons wrapped in a small cloth.
  • Little plastic bags: You know those tiny, sealable plastic bags you often get with inexpensive jewelry? Consider saving them to store your jewelry for travel. Put one jewelry item in each bag to keep things organized and prevent tangling. Then drop all the little plastic bags into a larger ziplock bag for travel. If you don’t have any tiny plastic bags on hand, check your local craft store. Even easier, head no further than your kitchen pantry and pull out some snack-bag sized ziplock bags.

Final words on traveling with jewelry

If you’re flying, pack jewelry in your carry-on bag. Checked bags have a much greater chance of getting lost.

And remember: You’re taking a vacation to relax and have fun, and to get away from your daily routine. Keep jewelry simple and inexpensive so it doesn’t get in the way.

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