6 Tips You Need to Know About Flying with Gifts

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By: Dave Taylor | Frenchie Aguilh Posted: 10:11 PM, Dec 11, 2017

If you're planning to jump on a plane with your loved ones' gifts this holiday, you might want to think twice about how you plan on packing them. To keep flyers safe, TSA agents won't think twice about opening your well-wrapped gifts of holiday cheer. So, to keep your presents safe, we've got the 6 best ways to prepare your gifts for a flight, so they don't get opened by anyone other than your lucky recipient.

1. Wait to Wrap

The best thing you can do to keep your presents safe from being messed with by TSA agents – don't wrap them at all. While it may seem like a time saver to wrap before you fly, if a TSA officer can't tell what your item is when it goes through the security x-ray, they'll have to open it up –  even if you protest.

So, save yourself the headache and just wait to wrap your presents when you get to your final destination – you're bound to be nearby a big box store or even pharmacy that sells wrapping goods you can pick up quickly – and the family or friends you're visiting won't know the difference.

2. Wrap Smart

If you're being picked up at the airport by the person you'll be gifting to, or if you just know you won't have enough time to wrap your presents when you land, wrap your gifts in ways that are easy to take apart, for TSA, and then easy for you to put back together for giving. Consider putting your gift in a decorative box that you can just lift the lid off of for TSA, if they can't see through it with their X-ray scanners.

And if you plan on traveling with a gift in a gift bag – don't get too fancy with wrapping the tissue paper around your gift until you're through security. Just place your item into the gift bag, and stick the tissue paper right on top. That way, if TSA needs to take a peek inside the bag, all you have to do is lift the paper, show them what's in it, and keep that security line moving.

3. Watch Your Weight

Are you one of those people that measures their carry-on luggage at home before heading to the airport? If you plan on packing your gifts, don't forget to put them in your luggage before weighing! It might seem obvious, but if you're already squeezing a week's worth of clothes into your bags, you don't want to find out, at the last minute, that you're either going to pay extra to check your bag or you're going to have to leave your gifts at the airport.

4. Take Care of Your Breakables

If you plan on traveling with a gift that might be fragile or easily broken, make sure to either take it with you onto the plane in your personal, under the seat item, or properly protect the gift in your checked luggage. If you are checking a fragile present, wrap the item in bubble wrap, or, in a sweatshirt, jeans, or soft clothing. Then place the item in the middle of your luggage so it's secured from damage on all sides.

The idea here is to keep it out of carry-on luggage that could end up gate-checked if your flight's overhead bins are full. Even if it's packed safely, once it goes into the cargo hold, you won't know how it might be handled.

5. Traveling with Treats

If you plan on gifting your far away loved ones with some homemade baked goods, good news: Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pies are permitted to be carried onto your flight. But, they can be subject to additional screening.

To make sure your treats don't get trifled with by TSA, make them easier to look over by carrying them on your plane in bakery style boxes that you can easily lift open and close back up. If you're worried about your presentation, consider packing string along in your carry on bag so you can spruce your treat box up once you land.

6. Toyin' Around

Most unwrapped toys can be brought onto a plane in either your carryon luggage, personal item, or checked baggage. But, don't forget to check the TSA's website to see what toys might be prohibited on your flight – often times, sports items like baseball bats or hockey sticks won't be allowed on, even if they are just a nice gift for your niece or nephew.

And if you have a particularly large toy that doesn't fit in any of your luggage, don't take a chance on having to leave it at the airport. Check with your specific airline about your concerns. If you find yourself having trouble squeezing a gift into your baggage, check on the airline's website to find information on the dimensions of your flight's overhead bins and compare them to the dimensions of your toy. Don't see the info you need on the website? Feel free to call the airline and ask if the gift will fit in their overhead bins or under your seat.

Need more tips or have more questions about how to pack your holiday goodies? Head to the "What Can I Bring?" section of at the top of the TSA's website. There, you can ask specific questions about what you want to bring on your flight and learn what you can do to travel with them – or what you've got to leave at home.

Do you do much traveling for the holidays or do you let the family come to you? Join the conversation on our Facebook page, @TheListShowTV.