Tips on Traveling with High-Value Jewelry Pieces

You own your favorite jewelry pieces, presumably, because you want to wear them. But if they hold sentimental value, are irreplaceable, or are antiques, you may feel like you have to leave them at home if you’re traveling farther than the grocery store. In truth, you can, and should, showcase your cherished bling, even when you’re heading out of town for a big trip. Putting a few safeguards in place before you take off will help ensure that your jewels come home in one piece. Here are some of our top tips on how to travel with expensive jewelry so you’re not stressing your way through your next vacay.

Make Sure Your Jewelry Is Covered

If you don’t already have an insurance policy on your jewelry, get one right away and make sure the plan covers the time you’ll be traveling. While a good policy won’t be able to replace irreplaceable pieces, it can provide some consolation if they turn up damaged, lost, or stolen. If you’re traveling abroad, double-check that your plan covers mishaps in the destinations where you’re headed. You may also consider getting an updated appraisal before you head out so that insurance values are accurate.

Either Wear It or Carry It On

The number one mistake jewelry-loving jet-setters make is packing their pieces in their checked luggage. It would be a terrible shame if your one-of-a-kind diamond pendant or heirloom brooch got sent to the wrong airport or wound up in the wrong hands. If possible, wear your jewelry on your person at all times (it may be a smarter move than you think, according to the tip below) or store them methodically in your carry-on bag. Remember that, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you can usually keep your jewelry on during security.

Don’t Leave It in the Hotel the Whole Time

Wearing your prized pieces not only adds something to your travel style but may bring a hidden value, too. Explorer and conservationist Philippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques, says that wearing a nice piece of jewelry can actually help you stay safe in dangerous areas. Cousteau’s thinking? That Rolex will always serve as currency no matter where you find yourself, and it’s something you can always use to leverage your way out of trouble. The rule of thumb is to wear it, not flaunt it, however. In other words, no, you don’t need to wear a fake engagement ring on vacation, as long as you’re willing to trade it in exchange for your safety, should things get dire!

Leave Them in the Hotel Safe

There are going to be times on your trip when the smart thing to do will be to leave your pieces safe in the hotel room, such as if you’re headed to the pool, the beach, or the resort spa. Most hotel rooms have safes, typically inside the closet or within a cabinet or drawer, that you can use to store your jewelry and other valuables during your stay. These safes aren’t always the most secure option—hotels generally have multiple methods of entry for staff, in case a guest gets locked out—but you can enhance the security of an in-room safe with a special hotel safe lock that you purchase and bring yourself.

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Buy a Locking Travel Case

For an extra layer of protection, consider investing in a travel jewelry box that has a built-in lock. The real benefit of this is in the damage-protection department. Tossing your expensive pieces in your suitcase haphazardly can lead to tangled chains and broken components. A locking case may not deter determined thieves, but it will certainly help prevent your prized jewels from getting out of their case and becoming exposed to other things in your luggage—like that rogue bottle of sunscreen or perfume that broke in transit.

Make a List and Pack Light

Though some insurance policies do offer policies covering “mysterious disappearance,” you should make a habit out of knowing what you packed and where each piece is at all times. Naturally, this is much easier to do when you’ve only packed or worn one or two of your nicest items of jewelry, so try your best to pack light. You don’t want to be lugging around that heavy diamond-studded gold chain when you’re jaunting around town all day, anyway. Pack light both in volume and weight, and you’ll have a much better time throughout your trip.

Don’t Forget What You Leave Behind

When you travel, you take various precautions to ensure that the valuables you leave behind—your pets, your home, and your possessions—are safe. If you’re leaving town for a prolonged period of time, say for a month or more, it may be worth your while to take the same steps for your jewelry. Have the items you’re leaving at home stored in a safety deposit box at the bank or through a professional storage service.

Take Regular Stock

Say you do misplace something while you’re galivanting on a big trip. With so much to see, eat, and visit, it’s easy to do. If you’re regularly taking stock of your valuables, you’ll be able to retrace your steps and will have much more luck recovering lost items should something get misplaced. Each day, go through your belongings and make sure everything is accounted for. During the day, perform regular, quick checks, making sure your rings, necklaces, watches, etc. are all still on your body.

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Off Your Bling

At the end of the day, the goal of the aforementioned tips is to help you get the most out of your jewelry. Your favorite pieces are favorites because they’re pretty, unique, or special to you, so it’s nice to have them with you while you travel. The key is to spend a little bit of time before you embark putting safeguards in place so that, should something happen, you know exactly how to handle it, and your items return with you unscathed.

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