8 Expert packing tips for proposing abroad amid UK travel chaos

New data reveals almost a third of Brits were engaged while on holiday from the UK, with a quarter saying they were “totally surprised!”

In a recent poll of 1,043 Brits by wedding website Hitched.co.uk*, it was revealed that more than a third of couples (35%) have been impacted by the recent travel chaos across the UK

This has been especially problematic for those planning to pop the question while on holiday, as the poll also revealed that almost a third (32%) of British couples got engaged abroad, with almost a quarter (23%) saying they were totally surprised by the proposal while on holiday.

With many travellers concerned about the safety of their luggage thanks to recent reports of baggage not arriving** on time, or where it should arrive at all, editors at Hitched spoke to experts Maxwell Stone, creative director at Steven Stone and Yvonne Williamson, Communications Manager at Briggs & Riley to find out the best way to keep an overseas proposal a secret amidst the airport chaos, for those planning to propose while on holiday. 

Maintain the surprise

Maxwell Stone says: “When it comes to maintaining the surprise, the most challenging part of the journey will be going through airport security. It’s not advisable to keep it in your pocket as it’ll be difficult to disguise when you empty your pockets! 

“Plus, if you forget, the metal detectors will be the first to spoil the surprise! Instead, keep it in your hand luggage but be sure to conceal the ring box, in case your partner sneaks a peak – wrap it in something ordinary like socks and they’ll be none the wiser.

“Then, to save you the stress of having to keep the ring hidden and worrying about the proposal in general, try to propose at the beginning of the trip.”

Yvonne adds: “Pack it in your carry on or backpack, in a clear zip pouch with a note clearly explaining what’s inside, so that if your bag gets pulled for a search, security personnel know they need to be discreet! Keep the ring in the box to keep it safe and secure, but never wrap it in paper etc, as you may be asked to unwrap it, which could cause a fuss and give the game away.”

Don’t be risky with the precious

Maxwell says: “The first risk is that the airline could lose your luggage. Don’t risk putting an engagement ring in a checked bag – make sure that it’s in your hand luggage, so it’s with you at all times. 

“The second risk is that with the current chaos that’s consumed the majority of airports across the UK, a delay would mean additional time without your precious gem – which of course would mean a mass amount of panic and anxiety on your behalf.”

Yvonne agrees: “We would advise packing the ring in your carry-on wherever possible. However, if you absolutely must check it in, then be sure to choose a secure, lockable bag and place the boxed ring within a secure pouch or packing cube, along with a note explaining what is inside, in case of the unlikely event that you bag is pulled for a security check when arriving at your destination. 

“It’s also a good idea to include a tracking device, such as an airtag, in your bag, so that if the worst happens you can pinpoint exactly where your luggage is. Lastly, you’ll want your luggage to be easily identifiable – imagine picking up someone else’s luggage or vice versa, and losing the ring!”

Secure your valuables

Maxwell says: “An engagement ring is one of the most important and valuable purchases that you’ll ever make, so you’ll want to ensure that it’s properly protected with a good quality travel insurance policy. If you’re proposing abroad, then it’s important to ensure that the insurance you choose is worldwide.

“Be sure to read all of the small print so you understand any cover limits and exceptions, as travel insurance sets a single item limit for valuables taken on holiday and if your engagement ring is worth more, you’ll need to add extra cover. Stand alone jewellery insurance is ideal if you only want to cover a single item like an engagement ring.

“And, make use of the hotel safe! Not only is jewellery theft more common in popular tourist areas, but there are several factors that can damage  it – including sea and sand.”

Be organised ahead of time

Maxwell says: “Double-check ring sizing with your partner’s current jewellery before you head off for holiday – you don’t want your perfect trip to be ruined because their engagement ring slipped off unnoticed.”

Yvonne adds: “There’s no avoiding the fact that proposals are up there with life’s most nerve-wracking occasions, so be smart with how you pack to minimise stress in the areas you can control. 

“Arrive at the airport in good time, choose quality travelware that isn’t going to break on you and use packing cubes to streamline your items and make things easy to locate. Always pack your passport and travel documents in a safe and secure space – ideally with RFID blocking technology – to prevent digital pickpocketing.”

For more advice for couples planning a wedding, please visit: https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/organising-and-planning/ 

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