Last month, we discussed the pros and cons of shipping your purchases made in foreign countries home and some important things to do if you decide to do it. This month we’ll assume you have decided to carry the item home with you. Here are some tips.
First, never put anything of great value in your checked luggage. If you purchase expensive jewelry or other items, you should keep them with you in your carry-on luggage. Although you would not want to have any of your precious ‘treasures’ stolen, some are too big to put in your carry-on, or just not something a thief would be after, so you want to go ahead and check it.
Paintings on canvas can be rolled and put in your suitcase. The merchant will remove the canvas from the frame and/or stretcher board, roll it, and wrap it in bubble wrap for you. I have done this twice, and it worked great. Don’t fold or bend it. Just tuck it along one of the sides of your luggage. When you get home, take the canvas to a professional framer, who will stretch it onto a stretcher board for you and happily frame it. Of course, the framing may cost twice as much as the painting did, but hey, it’s worth it to have a treasure that will forever remind you of your adventure.
Posters can also be rolled, but are not as resilient as a canvas, so they can be easily smashed in your luggage and ruined. To remedy this, save some of your empty plastic water bottles, cut off the top and bottom, and insert your poster. Use as many as it takes to encompass the entire poster.
A good place in your luggage for small, possibly breakable, treasures is in the toe of your shoes, or wrapped in a rolled-up sock. And always put liquids in a sealed plastic bag, in the middle of your not-too-tightly packed clothing.
Finally, I would like to harken back to something from last month, about shipping an item home. The last two items I received shipped from Italy were followed by a bill from the shipper. Even though I paid the shipping cost in Italy, apparently FedEx charges a fee to deliver it to you. Both times it was $28. So it may be a flat fee. Not that much, really, but irritating nonetheless. Just so you know.