The holiday season is a time of giving, but when you’re travelling to see friends and family, the art of gift giving can get complicated.
Travelling across the country with a bag full of presents for all your family members is no easy feat. While it would be nice to have a magical sleigh that fits an infinite number of gifts, most of us will be travelling by plane and thus bound to various baggage rules and regulations.
Here are some tips on how to make travelling with presents easier.
Do not wrap your gifts before travelling.
Wrapped gifts are allowed on planes, but it may cause you unnecessary trouble. If your gifts are pulled aside by TSA agents, they must be unwrapped for inspection. This means that all of your hard wrapping work may be ruined and you’ll just have to do it all over again. Instead, wrap your presents at your destination.
If they are wrapped, put gifts in a checked bag.
If you pack your wrapped gifts in a checked bag, they are less likely to be searched and therefore less likely to be unwrapped.
Don’t forget to check airline baggage fees.
If you do plan on checking a bag, remember to check baggage fees.While some airlines offer one free checked bag, others cost $US25 or more. You wouldn’t want to be surprised by a fee you weren’t prepared for after already spending money on all those gifts.
Consider putting presents in gift bags.
If you really need to wrap your gifts before you leave because you won’t have any time at your destination, consider using gift bags instead. That way if a TSA agent needs to inspect the gifts, they can easily look inside without ruining the wrapping.
Make sure to check TSA restrictions — even gifts must adhere to these.
Before you travel, make sure that none of your gifts are breaking any TSA guidelines. There are some holiday-specific guidelines that you must follow as well. For instance, it is forbidden to take a toy gun on a plane unless it is in a checked bag, while some sporting goods are banned entirely.
Pack everything in a hard shell suitcase.
Whether you’re packing your gifts in a carry-on or checked bag, the best way to travel with them is inside a hard shell suitcase. This type of luggage will keep the presents safe and reduce the risk of damage. Try not to pack presents inside a duffel bag or other softer fabrics: even if you’re not travelling by plane, harder suitcases are best.
Make sure you protect breakable gifts.
Even with a hard shell suitcase, some gifts may still get broken. If your suitcase is stacked amongst hundreds of others or falls to the ground, something might break. To reduce damage, try to nestle your gifts in some comfy clothes or even invest in bubble wrap.
Keep valuable gifts in your carry-on.
When you’re travelling by plane, you often keep your valuables with you in a carry-on. This goes for holiday gifts as well.
Click here to see what else you should always keep inside your carry-on.
Bring extra wrapping paper.
If you did decide to wrap your presents, don’t be surprised if your perfectly wrapped gifts don’t show up at your destination in pristine condition. Bags often gets bumped and pushed in transit so it’s common for the wrapping paper to rip. If you bring extra wrapping paper, you can easily fix the issue.
As an alternative, consider shipping presents to your destination.
To avoid baggage fees, broken presents, and strict TSA rules, it may be easier to just ship your gifts instead of travelling with them – especially by plane. You may also want to consider buying more travel-friendly presents like gift cards.