You just gotta have it. That hand-crafted, little exotic ceramic piece in the window of the island gift shop. You think you’re going to sandwich it between your clothes inside your luggage, and it’ll arrive home just as gorgeous as it looked when you bought it. I thought the same when I purchased a beautiful set of a set of ceramic bird chimes in Jamaica, then carefully arranged them in the center of my luggage. Upon arrival home, I discovered a couple of the little birds suffered from severed wings. The chimes hang in my house anyway and, fortunately, no one seems to care that a couple of the birds appear to be physically challenged.
To avoid disappointment and to keep your delicate keepsakes safe from harm, simply throw a few sheets of bubble wrap in your luggage before you leave for your trip, as well as a ziplock bag full of packing peanuts. They weigh almost nothing and won’t take up much room. In the case of packing peanuts, you can also stuff them inside your shoes to maximize space. When you’re ready for the trip home, wrap and store them safely in your carry-on bag or, if there is insufficient space, place your carefully cushioned trinket into the center of your checked bag.
With a little advanced preparation, your breakables should arrive home in one piece.