That's bad enough when it's your souvenir snow globe but it's even worse when it's your iPad or phone or the laptop you've stuffed with film downloads.
Most travel insurance policies demand that valuables such as jewellery and gadgets remain on your person while you fly – meaning in your hand luggage rather than your checked-in suitcase.
So if you have to leave them in your suitcase then you may not be protected in case of loss, damage or theft.
"Wherever possible travellers should keep valuables, including tablets and laptops, with them on flights and ... it may be sensible to leave valuables at home," said Mark Shepherd from the Association of British Insurers.
"If devices are damaged during a flight, there's also the potential to seek compensation through the airline."
However, he urges travellers to give their insurer a ring before they go to see if they have cover, and make alternative arrangements if not.
"Some travellers may find they also have additional cover under a household contents policy for gadgets outside of the home.
"We do know some insurers already take a flexible approach to claims if a passenger has been forced to put items in the hold by circumstances out of their control."
Check it out before you check it in
What not to pack
Don't assume the safest thing to do is pack all your gadgets and devices in your suitcase.
Many insurers have issued rules for travellers who want to keep their items protected while they travel, and those rules could leave cautious travellers out of pocket.
So don't put everything in your case 'for safety's sake' because you could be risking a much more expensive bill to replace them.
When a lock can save you £1,000
Even the insurers who are happy for customers to check their valuables into the hold will need to know there's some protection in place – even if it's just a lock.
If you're relying on your insurer for this cover then you need to check with them what counts as 'adequately protected'.
Some insurers may accept claims for damage if the suitcase itself was lockable, but reject claims when there was nothing but a small travel padlock securing the case – it's better to find out in advance rather than wait until you need to claim.
Don't forget to charge smaller gadgets!
Is it charged?
With all this fuss about laptops and tablets it's easy to forget the extra checks you may need to go through to get mobile phones and smaller gadgets on board.
Electronic items should be fully charged as you go through security as you may be asked to turn them on to demonstrate they are working devices.