Tips on Flying With Gifts

'Tis the season for traveling.  Luckily for Santa --with his tons of gift-wrapped toys in tow --he doesn't have the same safety requirements as we do when it comes to air travel.

If you're attempting to fly with your own toys in tow, a little preparation can save you a lot of hassle and possible disappointment, especially if that long-sought gift for Aunt Suzie gets confiscated because you didn't know the rules.

You've probably heard it all before --no liquids over a certain size and sharp objects (like knives).  But now is as good as anytime to remind people of the Transportation Security Administration's rules when it comes to traveling with gifts.

3-1-1 Isn't Just Shampoo  

Any liquid, aerosol or gel items are limited to 3.4-ounces for carry-ons. So think again if you want to bring your homemade gravy or salsa (even cheese and peanut butter).   This rule applies to gift baskets too with these items and others like, jams and salad dressings, maple syrup and oils and vinegars. Wine, alcohol, boxes of perfume and even snowglobes must adhere to the requirements, too. A note about baked goods like pies and cookies.  They can be brought through security, but are subject to additional screening.  Let's hope the agents won't get hungry.

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Do Not Wrap Gifts

While the TSA technically does allow you to bring wrapped gifts on the plane, security agents reserve the right to inspect any item they wish--which requires undoing all your handy work.  So bottom line, save yourself the hassle --and that of the agent --and wrap gifts after arriving at your destination.

What's Allowed and Not

You can bring special items as carry-on or to be checked at the counter, such as a bike or skis, but you can't bring a baseball bat or ice skates, for example. It is good to know what items are prohibited on planes before you head to the airport.  If you are unsure, click here to see a list.

Smooth Sailing Through Security 

So you checked out all the rules and have decided that carrying on gifts is a good idea.  A few tips.  Keep presents to a minimum.  On most airlines you are only allowed one carry-on item, two tops.  Give your self plenty of time to get through security.  Remember, you will have to take off coats and shoes and belts.  A ringing metal detector doesn't sound nearly as festive as sleigh bells, so pack coins, keys, jewelry, belt buckles and other metal items in your carry-on bag.