1. Make the investment
Demonstrating the abuse a bag can typically expect, Murphy began his segment by hurling a suitcase from atop a ladder.
“This is a $60 bag. That bag is probably going to survive two or three trips and then it’s going to come out with handles broken and everything else,” he said after dropping it once again for good measure. “Spend a little bit more money and get something that’s going to hold up.”
2. Leave the China at home
In light of the jostling, dropping and bumping a bag can take in even the best of circumstances; Murphy recommended that travelers take care to find some other way to get fragile items to their destination.
“People are packing things like computers and fragile items… if I drop that five feet, whatever’s inside is going to break,” he said. “So absolutely don’t pack anything that could be broken.”
3. Look for reinforcements
Next in his segment, Murphy demonstrated a Tumi case that boasts extra reinforcement to take a beating. He recommended finding a suitcase with that extra layer of protection, giving a full demonstration of the bags capabilities.
“You open this up and get inside, it’s just a big shell. It has this big shell, but it’s reinforced,” he said, giving it a swift series of knocks for good measure.
He especially recommended a bag with reinforced corners, saying “That’s where it’s going to take a beating.”
4. Don’t leave wheels out
Even the specially reinforced bag Murphy demonstrated on-set had a critical design flaw that he was quick to point out.
“External wheels can break off because they’re exposed,” he said, pointing out where the wheels extended past the bag’s edge. “Get something that has internal wheels.
5. Pack lightly and carry on
Obviously the most fool-proof way to keep your bags from the being damaged (or looted) by baggage handlers is just to keep it on you. Murphy showed a smaller, expandable Tumi bag that he was able to carry on without sacrificing capacity.
“I just took a seven day trip with this bag, believe it or not,” he said. “It made it, it looked great, but I carried it on. That was the key”
6. When all else fails, don’t plan on reimbursement
So you’ve shipped the fragile items, stowed your wheels and reinforced the sides of your bag until they can withstand a charge from an angry rhino. But what if your bag just goes missing? With 1.8 million bags lost, stolen or damaged in 2012 alone, it could happen.
If it happens to you, don’t hold out hope that you’ll see the full value of your bag back, according to Murphy.
“The liability is very capped. It might be $400 depending on the airline,” he said. So you’re out of luck, because this bag costs about $500. If they lose this bag with all of its contents… that won’t even replace the cost of the bag.”