The busy holiday travel season is underway and if you’re toting gifts in your baggage, you may hold up the airport lines if you bring items off-limits in either your checked or carry-on luggage. Oddly enough, it’s okay to travel with a Christmas tree, and you can bring a set of knitting needles to finish up the scarves you’re making for everyone in your family. However, there are some gifts that won’t make the cut when you check-in at the airport.
According to USA Today, airlines are expecting more passengers during the 2017 holiday season than last year, with a whopping 51 million people expected to board planes in the U.S. between December 15 and January 4.
So, if you are one of the millions of people in the United States who plan to travel by air for the Christmas holiday, here are some of the holiday gifts and goodies you need to leave at home — and a few unexpected items you can take with you.
In an effort to save time, you may wrap gifts before you stuff them in your suitcase. Although it’s a great idea, there’s a chance you may find them unwrapped when you arrive at your destination.
Although wrapped gifts aren’t off-limits, Travel and Leisure reports that if TSA agents can’t see what’s inside the package when it goes through the X-ray machine, they will need to unwrap it. If you don’t have time to ship your gifts, you may want to use a gift bag or wrap them when you arrive.
If you have a snow globe collector on your holiday list, you may need to send the gift by mail. The TSA doesn’t allow snow globes in your carry-on bag unless the liquid content is 3.4 ounces or less, or “the size of a tennis ball.” If it’s any bigger, you can pack it in your checked baggage, but there’s always a risk that it could break inside your bag when it gets bumped around on the plane and on the baggage carousel in the baggage claim area.
It’s a no-go for most wreaths, pinecones, and mistletoe, so if you are expecting to arrive at your family’s Christmas celebration with some holiday decor fresh from nature, you may have to leave them at the gate.
People reports that wreaths must have at least five pine needles in a cluster or you won’t be able to take them on the plane or in your carry-on luggage. However, certain airlines allow you to bring a Christmas tree with you. Delta Airlines states that trees are considered “limited release baggage” and must be wrapped and secured with burlap.
Food is always welcome, but Skyscanner reports that certain food items — including soft cheese, cranberry sauce, honey, and syrup — are not allowed in your carry-on bags unless they are under 100ml in weight.
Liquids always seem to be an issue when you fly, but there is good news for anyone who wants to stuff a turkey in their carry-on bag. The TSA states that solid foods including a whole turkey, ham, cookies, fruitcake, and pies are allowed as long as they fit in your carry-on luggage.
What about toys? It seems like a no-brainer that you should be able to take toys with you on a plane, but the TSA has limits on what kind of toys you can put in your carry-on bag.
“Water guns, toy guns, toy swords and other items that resemble real firearms or other weapons can look just like the real thing in an X-ray. This can lead to evacuations and delays while explosives professionals try to resolve the alarm. Please pack these types of toys in your checked bag or ship them to their destination.”
Giving a sports-related gift to someone on your list this year? Some sporting goods aren’t allowed to come on-board with you, including baseball bats, tennis rackets, and martial arts equipment. According to Skyscanner, these items must go in the hold during your flight.