Dec 14, 2017

How to Travel With Gifts

Travel around the holidays can be so stressful even if everything goes right. Since I only travel with a carry-on, I’m pretty well versed in packing gifts, whether it be for a business acquaintance or a family member at my destination. The last thing you want to happen is to have to ditch gifts you’ve thoughtfully chosen while going through airport security, so today I’m sharing some of my best tips for how to travel with gifts.

Tips to Travel With Gifts

  • Do not pack anything that you can not normally take through security or anything else (like toy weapons) that resemble these items. TSA has a list here.
  • Your gifts will go through the screening process, just like all of your other belongings. They must also follow the liquids rule, so snow globes larger than a tennis ball are likely a no-go.
  • Wrap your gifts with care, as they may need to be unwrapped for further inspection and agents don’t always have time to be careful with wrap.
  • Gifts wrapped in bags or without ribbon are best. You can always pack bags or supplies and finish ribbon later.
  • Use a pencil to write directly on your gift wrap in case the tags fall off. You can also make a list of gifts and their recipient so you don’t lose track or if you plan to wrap later.
  • Food is A-Okay, but liquids and gels may require further screening. Baked goods are best, bring extra if you want to make everyone really happy.
  • Spare lithium batteries are not allowed in checked bags as they can pose a fire hazard. It is best to keep them in your personal item or carry-on.
  • Try to choose smaller gifts that will not monopolize the space in your luggage. You want to wear other clothes too right?
  • A carry-on that has separate zippered compartments (like mine) for each half is best. Then you can zipper off gifts safely to one side.
  • Pack heavier items toward the wheel end of your luggage. When it is standing, the more fragile gifts will be less likely to be squashed.
  • Fragile items can be padded in with clothing to help keep them safe while you’re in transit.

How to Travel With Gifts

Small Gifts You Can Easily Travel With

Perfect gifts to travel with are ones that may be small in size but still pack a punch when they’re opened. They’re not too fragile or can squish easily in transit without being harmed. Here are a few of my favorites…

Do you travel with gifts for the holidays? What are some tips you have for traveling with gifts?

Expand Comments

Excellent tips! I usually stay home during the holidays so I never had to worry about traveling with gifts!

TSA finds a lot of interesting things! I’m flying out later this winter and taking gifts, so I’ll be sure to check out there this ahead of time.

I travel a lot for work and it’s so hard to remember all of TSA’s rules. Now I want to check out TSA’s instagram page and see what they’ve found. LOL

These are great tips! I enjoy scrolling through the TSA’s Instagram feed to see what they’ve removed from passenger’s bags – large bottles of alcohol and replica weapons are almost always on there!

Me too. The real weapons make me shake my head so hard too. :O

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