Is it Safe to Check a Backpack?

Checking a backpack may seem like a simple enough task, but for many travelers, it can be a source of great anxiety. So much so that there are lots of questions: is it safe to check a backpack? Will my backpack get lost? Will my belongings be damaged? What if someone tries to steal my valuables?

These are all valid concerns—after all, you don’t want your belongings to get lost or damaged during the journey.

Do not worry, we’ve got you covered.

In this blog post, we’ll address some of the most common concerns about checking a backpack, and also give you some handy tips so you can be prepared for your next trip.

Here’s what we found out! 

Checking a backpack may seem like a scary proposition, but it is actually quite safe. Airlines have specific guidelines for how to properly check a backpack, and as long as you follow these guidelines, your backpack will be just fine.

Of course, there are some instances in which it might not be wise to check your backpack. For example, if you’re carrying fragile items or valuables like jewelry or electronics, you might want to keep them close at hand so that you can keep an eye on them at all times.

But in general, checking your backpack while you travel is quite safe. 

Below is a detailed explanation of why it is safe to check your backpack: 

Checking your bag isn’t as risky as you may think.

With proper precautions in place and a reliable airline service at hand, checking your backpack can be one of the best decisions that travelers make when they are preparing for their next journey!

In this section, we’ll explore some of the reasons why it is quite safe to check your backpack:  

Checking in luggage isn’t as risky as it seems because airlines have strict security protocols in place that ensure the safety and security of every bag that passes through their system.

Before bags are loaded onto planes for transport, they are scanned with X-ray machines so that suspicious item can be detected quickly and efficiently.

When you check your backpack as luggage, you will get a baggage tag with your details written on it. This may not seem like a big deal, but if your backpack gets lost, it will be much easier for the airline to track it down and return it to you.

In addition, some airlines use tracking apps and RFID tags that allow passengers and airlines to track each bag throughout its entire journey—from loading onto the plane until it arrives at its destination.

These technologies provide an extra layer of protection against theft or lost luggage when it comes time to check in bags at airports.

Furthermore, many airlines will also offer insurance coverage or compensation in case any of your items do happen to get lost or stolen while in transit.             

And while the odds of your backpack getting lost are very low– around 0.4%, according to LuggageHero- it’s still good to know that there’s a safety net in place in case it does happen.

When packing light and traveling with just a small carry-on bag, you may find yourself limiting what you bring due to space concerns. This means sacrificing items that may be essential for your comfort and well-being during your travels.

However, if you check your backpack, this problem disappears.

You can bring whatever essentials will make your journey enjoyable without worrying about how much space they take up.

In addition to providing extra storage space, checking your backpack also allows physical stress relief.

Traveling can take a toll on our bodies due to uncomfortable seats and long hours of standing or walking around airports or train stations—not to mention having to lug around a heavy load on your back!

By giving up control of one item (your bag) that is safely stowed away for transport, you can focus on taking care of yourself during the journey instead of worrying about the safety of your belongings.    

In addition to being more convenient than carrying heavy bags (s) around, checking your baggage can also save money on airfare costs.

Many budget airlines charge extra for large carry-on bags and overweight baggage you didn’t even plan for; opting for checked baggage instead, can add up to significant cost savings over time!

Plus, with most airlines now offering free checked baggage (up to a certain weight), there’s no need to worry about extra costs either!

So next time you’re wondering whether it’s safe—and cost-effective—to check your backpack when traveling, remember all the great benefits listed above!

Just like carry-on, airlines have guidelines on how you can safely check your backpack. 

Below are the rules:

IATA guidelines state that all checked luggage must not exceed 62 linear inches in size (height + width + length). Additionally, the weight of each bag must not exceed 50 or 70 lbs. This is an international regulation that is put in place for the health and safety of airport workers, as they have to lift tons of bags daily.

If your bag exceeds the weight limit, you may be asked to repack it, or have it labeled as “heavy luggage”.

According to, if your baggage is larger or heavier than what is allowed, you can still bring it on the plane, but it will be marked as oversized/overweight and you will have to pay a fee.

For example, American Airlines allows for oversized bags up to 126 linear inches (320 cm) and overweight bags up to 100 lbs (45 kg).

However, all airlines have their unique restrictions.

It is best to refer to your flight ticket to get the most accurate information about what size and weight of luggage you can check.

Note: Here’s a list of checked luggage size charts for different airlines.

When packing your bags, always remember to place your most valuable belongings in your hand luggage or carry-on bag.

This way, if your luggage is misplaced or lost by the airline, you will at least have your most important items with you.

In addition, it’s a good idea to include your contact information (name, address, and phone number) on your bag, in case it gets lost. You can do this by writing your personal information on your luggage tags on both the outside and inside of all your backpack.

And if you’re traveling overseas, keep a copy of your itinerary with you.

This will make it easier for the airline to track down and return your backpack if it is misplaced.  

There are many items you are prohibited from carrying in your checked luggage.

This includes the following: lithium batteries, flammable items, explosives, matches, pressure containers, poisons, infectious materials, magnetic materials, radioactive materials, illegal drugs, and more.

Also, a film can get ruined when it goes through checked luggage x-ray screening, and expensive items such as jewelry should be kept with you to avoid theft.

If TSA finds any hazardous items in your luggage that are considered unsafe, you may face fines or arrest.

Read TSA’s complete list of permitted and prohibited items to be on the safe side. 

How do I protect my backpack when checking it?

Checking your backpack as luggage at the airport can be a little daunting. You want to make sure everything stays in one piece and doesn’t get lost or damaged in transit.

To help ease your anxiety, we’ve put together a list of 10 tips on how to protect your backpack when checking it at the airport.  

If you’re planning on checking your backpack, make sure to choose one that is durable enough to withstand being thrown around by baggage handlers. 

As such, look for one that is made of durable, water-resistant materials such as nylon or polyester as they tend to withstand wear and tear better than backpacks made from other materials such as faux leather or canvas.  

It’s also a good idea to invest in bags that have padded straps, removable hip belts, lockable YKK zippers, and that have reinforced stitching, especially in high-stress areas like the seam, shoulder straps, and bottom of the bag.

You should also look for a backpack with multiple compartments so that you can easily organize your belongings.

And if you want backpack brands that make durable travel backpacks, Tortuga, Osprey, Peak Design, REI, and North Face come highly recommended.

Do not exceed the checked luggage size and weight requirement of the airline you’ll be flying with.

Generally, your checked luggage must not exceed 62 linear inches in size (height + width + length) and 50 or 70 lbs in weight.

So, weigh your backpack to make sure it complies with your airline’s baggage restrictions for checked luggage.

This will save you from having to pay overweight baggage fees. 

Is it Safe to Check a Backpack? : How to tie a checked backpack by

Tighten and tuck away the waist strap, hip belt, and all dangling straps on your backpack. 

This will prevent them from getting caught in a conveyor belt and becoming damaged or tangled. 

Also, Josh of recommends you tie the shoulder straps together so it’s easy for baggage handlers to carry your pack by one main strap, rather than two. This also ensures that the straps do not get torn or damaged during the loading and unloading process.

Is it Safe to Check a Backpack?: Deuter transport cover
Credit: amazon

The best way to keep your backpack secure and your belongings protected while traveling is by wrapping it in plastic wrap or placing a rain cover over it.

This will ensure that everything from the straps and handles to the belts and other items that could contribute to the backpack getting caught on the luggage belt is safely secured and tucked away.

It also prevents the zippers from accidentally being opened, which could lead to the loss or damage of your belongings. 

Is it Safe to Check a Backpack? : TSA approved locks

Use TSA approved lock for the backpack’s main compartment and secure all zippers so nothing falls out during transit. 

If your bag doesn’t have a TSA-approved lock or zipper, then you run the risk of having your bag destroyed when TSA agents try to gain access, if they notice anything suspicious. Make sure you have a TSA lock or zip that will grant them easy access to your backpack.

Also, zipper pulls and clips can come undone during transit, so it’s important to reinforce them with duct tape or something similar.

This will give you some peace of mind knowing that your belongings are safe and secure.

There are a few items that we recommend keeping out of your checked backpack, for both safety and security reasons. 

This includes things like electronics, jewelry, passports, and medications.

That way, if your baggage is lost or delayed, you will still have access to these items.

So, make sure to leave any valuables such as laptops, tablets, jewelry, passports, and medications in your carry-on bag so that they don’t get lost or stolen while your backpack is being checked.

You should also avoid packing anything fragile in your checked backpack as there’s always the risk that it could get broken during transit.

All in all, if you can’t bear the thought of losing an item, it’s best to keep it with you in your carry-on luggage.

I’d suggest you stay away from light-colored bags like white. 

Light-colored bags are more likely to show dirt and stains, so opt for a darker color that will conceal any wear and tear.

Is it Safe to Check a Backpack? : backpack leather luggage tag

Don’t forget to tag your backpack.

Tagging your backpack with your name and contact information will help the airline reunite you with your belongings if they are misplaced.

Pack wise and beware of liquids and sharp items in your checked luggage.

Liquids and sharp items are prohibited for security reasons because they could potentially cause damage to your belongings or injure someone else handling your bag.

TSA has a list of items that are not allowed in checked luggage. 

For example, flammable items, explosives, flare guns, pressure containers, poisons, illegal drugs, etc. are prohibited items.

And since all checked bags go through a TSA security screening, you should know that TSA agents will search your bag for any hazardous items.

So, pay attention to what backpackers can and can’t include in checked baggage, and follow the rules accordingly.

So, check with your airline about their specific policies and procedures for checked bags, and follow the rules accordingly. 


Can a backpack be a checked bag?

Yes, a backpack can be a checked bag if it meets the size and weight requirements of the airline. Most airlines require that checked bags not exceed 50 pounds in weight, while the maximum size for a checked bag is usually 62 inches (length + width + height). If your backpack fits within this limit, then yes, it will be checked.

The important thing to remember is that your backpack should be able to withstand being thrown around and jostled in a luggage bin, so choose one that is durable and has good padding.

Also, make sure all of your belongings are securely packed inside, and that there is nothing sticking out that could get damaged.

If you have any fragile or valuable items, it might be best to pack them in your carry-on bag instead. 

Are there any items I shouldn’t put in my checked backpack?

Is it Safe to Check a Backpack?

There are a few items that we recommend keeping out of your checked baggage, for both safety and security reasons. First and foremost, keep any valuables– passports, jewelry, electronics- with you in your carry-on luggage, in case your checked bag is lost or stolen

Additionally, any liquid items, or gel, should also be kept in your carry-on bag. This includes things like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, makeup, etc.

All of these items should be placed in sealable plastic bags to prevent them from leaking or spilling during transit. 

Yes, checking a bag is safe. It’s often the best way to ensure that your belongings that are too big or heavy to be a carry-on can make it to your destination intact. When you check a bag, it’s important to include all of your identifying information on the tag, including your name, address, and contact information.

And for security reasons, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens all checked for explosives and other dangerous materials before they are placed on an airplane.  

If you’re worried about the safety of your belongings while they’re in transit, you can purchase travel insurance for checked bags. This will help protect you if your luggage is lost or damaged while in transit.

Can you check in a big backpack?

Is it Safe to Check a Backpack?

Yes, you can check in a big backpack as long as it meets the airline’s requirements. The maximum weight for a checked bag is usually 50 or 70 pounds and your backpack should not exceed 62 linear inches in size.

For example, on Delta Airlines, the standard checked baggage must not exceed 62 linear inches (length + width + height) and must not weigh more than 50 pounds for the economy and 70 pounds for Delta One, first, or business class.

However, the airline may charge you an extra fee for checking in a bag that’s larger than the standard size. 

Do checked in bags get searched?

Is it Safe to Check a Backpack?

Yes, checked-in bags get searched. The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents will usually use an X-ray machine to scan the baggage, but they are also authorized to open any bag and conduct a manual search if they notice anything suspicious. 

What to do if your checked bag goes missing

If your checked bag goes missing, the first thing you should do is file a report with the airline as soon as possible. You’ll need to provide your name, contact information, ticket number, and description of the bag. Most airlines have a baggage claim department where you can submit a report and they will start investigating the situation.

Finally, be sure to keep all documentation related to your missing bag – boarding passes, baggage tags, etc. – as you may need them later on.

Make sure to have your ticket or boarding pass handy, as well as your luggage tag number if you have it. You’ll also need to provide contact information so the airline can reach out to you with updates on their investigation. 

Closing Thoughts

Is it Safe to Check a Backpack?

So, is it safe to check a backpack?

Even though it is a scary proposition, it is quite safe to check your backpack at the airport. The answer is yes. Just make sure to follow the airlines’ guidelines, pack carefully, and you can rest assured that your backpack will arrive at your destination safe and sound.

We hope our tips will help you do just that. Have you ever had to check your backpack as luggage? If so, what tips would you add to ours?

Let us know in the comments below! 

2 thoughts on “Is it Safe to Check a Backpack? 10 Tips on How to Protect Your Checked Backpack”

  1. This is such a super helpful read and I learned a lot that I didn’t already know about checking as well securing a backpack.

  2. Great article on how we can travel safely if we follow all the rules regarding backpack weight and prohibited items. And it is a particularly useful tip to keep valuables with us in case the bag gets lost somewhere. I’m sure this article will be useful to many as it was to me, thank you for sharing this useful information. 🙂 I wish you good health.


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