The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) have a policy of “when in doubt, leave it out”. The build up to those final steps of packing for our long awaited trip can easily turn into an obsessive case packing misadventure as many of us are unclear about what we can or cannot take. Here are the things you need to know about what not to pack.
Your Entire Wardrobe
Be selective about what you bring with you and pack according to the type of travel experience you intend to have. If you are travelling to another hemisphere, keep in mind that you will be going to a season opposite to the one you have just left. It may be freezing when you first arrive at the airport departure doors, but if you are heading to Australia you will be hit with mid-summer, beaches, and barbeques! Take a change of clothes that are appropriate for the season you are heading to in your carry-on luggage. This will also come in very handy if your baggage goes astray in transit, giving you at least one day of clean clothing until you sort your luggage situation out.
Bottles of Liquid
To get through Security Control the rule for liquids applies universally and the accepted liquid limit is no more than 3.4 fluid ounces/100 ml. This must be decanted into clear containers and placed into a quart sized plastic bag.
One way around this is to buy travel sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste etc. These are available at most supermarkets, but it also gives you an excuse to use those cheeky hotel toiletries you have been secretly hoarding!
Here are some examples of liquids that fall into this category: Water/drinks, soups, creams and lotions, perfume, sprays, gels, toothpaste, mascara, deodorants, shaving foam, and anything in a pressurized container.
What about Duty Free Purchases?
These items will need to be carried in a sealed security bag which will be issued to you at the time of purchase. Ensure that you keep the receipt and place it in the bag before it is sealed. If you are catching a connecting onward flight, you may have this opened and inspected at transit Security Control. Simply let security know you have purchased duty free and they will reseal it with a new security bag.
Keep your Bling Safe
Baggage can get lost, be left behind at airports, or thrown about by baggage handlers and broken. It’s a good idea to take anything that is of importance or value with you in your carry-on bag.
If you are travelling with valuables or jewellery, keep in mind that there is that slim chance that your luggage may go west. If this happens you will need to submit a claim form. If your claim is accepted, the airline will base their calculation on the depreciated value of your items, making it unlikely that you will receive what you originally paid for them.
Carry Your Essential Documents
Any important original documents, such as work or sensitive papers, should be taken on board with you. Backup or scan these documents if possible as an extra precaution. Don’t make the mistake of packing your passport, it won’t be the first time this has happened to an over excited traveller.
Prohibited Carry-on Luggage
Do not take any of these items onto the aircraft with you, they will be confiscated: Scissors longer than 2 inches, knives with blades longer than 2 inches, party poppers, tools, toy or replica guns (including water pistols), pool cues, razor blades, cutlery, hypodermic needles (unless needed for medical reasons), catapults or slingshots, sporting bats or clubs, or darts.
Completely Banned from Airports
Some may seem obvious, others not so, but there are many items that you should never think about bringing into an airport, as this will land you in some serious hot water: Explosive and incendiary materials, flammable items, gases and pressure containers, matches, oxidizers and organic peroxides, poisons, infectious materials, corrosives, organics, radioactive materials, magnetic materials, cannabis, or any other illegal drug.
Don’t Part with Your Laptop
There are two threats here, burglary is fairly rare, but some TSA workers have been caught stealing computers, cash, and other valuables from passenger baggage. The other is that you are at the mercy of the baggage handlers and no matter how many items of clothing or beach towels you wrap around your laptop, it still faces the perils of being thrown into a cargo hold.
Leave Fragile Items at Home
Baggage handlers can be a bit rough with luggage, but it’s not all their fault, it’s nothing personal. They are under a huge amount of pressure to do their job in the shortest time possible so that you can get your trip underway.
Take anything fragile or precious with you in your carry-on bag. This way you, and only you, are responsible for its survival. If you have bought the perfect Pinot Grigio from that cute little vineyard on your trip, place it into a separate water proof bag within your carry-on luggage and should it break in transit, your other items will be protected.
Take your Medication
It’s best to take all medication with you in your carry-on luggage. You are allowed to bring medicines that exceed the 3.4 ounce restriction, but you will need to declare these to the security officers for inspection. The best advice is to travel with a note or prescription from your Family Doctor detailing all medications that you are taking with you, their dosage, and who they are for.
Old Style Camera Film
If you are the vintage type and prefer to use the good old fashioned non-digital film cameras, you will need to know that should these go through the x-ray machines, they will be wiped clean. Instead, take them out of your luggage separately and ask that these be hand inspected. You don’t want to lose all of those wonderful holiday snaps in an instant.
Have you ever arrived at your destination and made your way to baggage claim, only to find third suitcase looks like yours? It is potentially embarrassing to wander off with someone else’s cases, only to notice the name tag on it is someone other than you. Here’s the answer to the problem – buy some unique funky cases that will stand out. Failing that put a bright large sticker on each side of each case and your mistaken identify woes will disappear