What NOT to pack in your carry-on bag

What NOT to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag

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I’m a big advocate of traveling carry-on only. It means you have less stuff to lug around, you avoid having to pay baggage fees, and the airline can’t lose your luggage if it’s not checked. But you should know what not to pack in your carry-on bag. If you were thinking of bringing any of these, you’ll either need to leave it at home, find an alternative, or deal with checking luggage.




Liquids over 3.4 ounces or 100ml

The liquids restriction is pretty universal nowadays, though enforcement may vary. To be on the safe side, stick to the rule: all liquids must be in containers of no more than 3.4 ounces or 100ml, and all containers must fit in a clear, one quart sized zip top plastic bag. You can still travel carry-on only with liquids. A 100ml bottle of shampoo just lasted me approximately 40 showers. Buy travel sized containers and fill them with shampoo, shower gel, and any other products you want to bring on your trip. Buy things like toothpaste in travel sizes.

what not to pack in your carry-on bag

There are special rules for medications, but these vary by country. Check with the country you will be flying out of for their rules, but in most cases you will need to let the screening agents know that you have liquid medication in addition to one quart bag you are allowed. Items passengers often forget about which are considered liquids: peanut butter, mascara, snow globes, aerosols.

Check out non-liquid options like solid perfume sticks and solid sunscreen to minimize your liquids.

Sharp objects

This one should be self-explanatory, but sharp objects are prohibited in carry-on luggage because they could be used as a weapon. If you simply must bring a knife, box cutter or sword on your trip, it must be packed in your checked luggage. Scissors that are less than 4 inches long, like nail scissors, are generally allowed by TSA, but since the final decision rests with the agent, just be aware that they could confiscate it. Rules in other countries can be different from those in the US, so check it out before you fly from somewhere else.

Sporting equipment

Baseball bats, ski poles, pool cues, bows and arrows, hockey sticks, golf clubs, and pretty much any other sporting equipment containing the words stick, pole, bat or club cannot be brought on the plane as carry-on. If playing sports will be part of your travels, consider renting equipment at your destination. If you’re quite attached to using your own sports equipment, you’ll probably need to check it. Oddly enough, the TSA website states that it’s ok to bring ice skates in your carry-on. I’m not sure I want to test this one though.

Guns

Obviously a gun is a weapon, and they don’t want you bringing it on an airplane in your carry-on bag. Most guns are permitted in checked luggage as long as they are empty, and they must be in a locked, hard-sided container. Check with your airline about other restrictions and/or fees they might have. Some items, such as flares and gun powder, are not even permitted in checked luggage. Before you travel, research the gun laws in the state or country you’re going to. Different states throughout the US have different laws, and many other countries heavily restrict or prohibit personal gun use and ownership.

Tools

Most tools are prohibited in carry-on luggage. If you’re planning on bringing your tools with you, you will most likely need to put them in checked luggage. You might not think of a hammer or drill bits as weapons, but TSA’s opinion differs.

Lighters, matches and other flammable items

I think we can all agree that starting a fire on the airplane is not a good idea. Please leave all flammable chemicals and items at home. If you feel you must have fireworks, bleach or paint thinner on your vacation, buy them when you arrive. These and other flammable and explosive items are prohibited in both carry-on and checked luggage. Lots of camping gear, like camping stoves, is considered flammable as well. Check with TSA and the airline for rules and restrictions. If possible, get the equipment you need once you arrive to avoid the hassle. TSA does allow one book of safety matches in your carry-on, but matches are not allowed in your checked luggage. Normal lighters are allowed in your carry-on, and can only be checked if they have no fuel in them.

Meat, fruit, vegetables, and other agricultural products

When traveling internationally, most countries prohibit you from bringing in meats, fruit, vegetables, plants, and other agricultural products. If you want to bring an apple as a snack, just make sure you eat it on the plane. Otherwise it will be confiscated on arrival, and you could find yourself facing an angry border agent. Certain countries, like Australia and New Zealand, are even more strict and won’t allow things like wooden souvenirs you may have picked up somewhere else.

what not to pack in your carry-on bag

And now for some items that are allowed but not recommended for packing in your carry-on:

Stinky food

I know airline food is notoriously bad, or often not even offered, so it makes sense to bring your own occasionally. But please be respectful of your neighbors and leave the fish and other stinky food at home.

Nail polish

Ok, bring the nail polish (in your liquids bag) if you want, but please don’t paint your nails in flight. This falls under the disrespectful smell category.

Adult viewing and reading materials

Your neighbor does not want to look over and see you reading an adult magazine or watching adult movies on your laptop. Save it for the privacy of your own home.

Perfume

We’re all glad you care about how you smell, but perfume can be unpleasant and bothersome to many people. Some are even allergic. Wait until you reach your destination to spray on the perfume, that way your seatmates can breathe easy during the flight.

Guidebooks

Guidebooks can be really helpful, but chances are you don’t need to bring that heavy book with you on the trip. Either rip out the pages you think you’ll need, photocopy them, or take pictures with your phone of the pages you need. Better yet, buy digital copies for your Kindle or other e-reader.

This list of what not to pack in your carry-on bag is not all inclusive. Regulations change often, so please check the TSA (or other countries) and the airline websites before you fly. Despite the long list above, it’s still pretty easy to travel carry-on only. Be realistic about what you need to take on your vacation, buy restricted items you need once you arrive, and enjoy your trip!

Read more about packing:

What NOT to Pack in Your Carry-On Bag
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Comments

  1. Kyi

    Hi Ali, Great travel tips as always!! I always keep sharp objects like nail clipper in checked-in luggage since I haven’t been traveled with carry-on only.

    That’s what I am always in doubt whether I could pack it in carry-on bag.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks Kyi! Nail clippers are ok in your carry-on but in some places nail scissors are not. According to the TSA website, scissors shorter than 4 inches are allowed, but in some countries scissors aren’t allowed at all. So generally I will take my clippers but leave the nail scissors at home.

  2. Matthew Cheyne

    This is a very good article that is quite comprehensive in listing the ins and outs of what not to pack on your carry on.

    I have a couple of questions though. One is; is there a website or luggage supplier out there who offers an all in one solution for carry on luggage or better still, luggage period, that is fully TSA compliant? It seems as though to me that the United States has the harshest restrictions by and large and that if you comply with what the TSA requires plus what is required for you origin, transit and destination countries, you can’t really go wrong from a luggage compliance standpoint.

    Another question would be this: how much carry on luggage is too much? or a better way to put the question could be when is carry on only not a good option?

    And my third and final question relates to my own Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis. When it comes to walking sticks, of which I own and use one whenever I am outside my own home, can you take them on the plane with you and are they considered carry on luggage or just as what it is – a walking stick and do you have to stow them away in the locker room above your head when you’re on the plane? I’ve never actually flown with one yet but I expect that I will in the future some day whether that’s domestically or internationally. Hopefully the latter πŸ™‚

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks Matthew! I’ll try to answer your questions briefly, but I do have posts in the works that address some of these issues, so hopefully there will be more detail on the site about these issues in the future.

      1- I think it’s difficult for luggage companies to make a bag/suitcase that will always be carry-on compliant because every airline has their own maximum size allowed. Many luggage companies will sell bags/suitcases that will work for *most* airlines though. The other problem is if you end up on a regional jet, they have smaller overhead storage, so the size of the luggage you bring would have to be even smaller. Though usually in those cases they will gate check your bag and give it back to you as you get off the plane, still able to avoid baggage claim. As for TSA compliant, they don’t really look at the size of your carry-on (as long as it fits through the x-ray machine) but for checked luggage, if you want to lock your luggage, you have to get TSA locks so if they feel the need to open your bag, they can.

      2- I try to do carry-on only every time I fly, but it’s not always easy. Winter clothes take up more room, so if you’re traveling to colder places, it’s harder to bring enough, though doable. If you need hiking boots and other gear like that for outdoorsy stuff, you might not be able to fit it all in a carry-on. If you just have to bring some type of liquid that’s over 100ml. There’s also a weight issue. Each airline has a different weight restriction on carry-on luggage, and some are really low. If the limit is 5 or 7 kg, it might be too difficult for you to reduce your stuff down to just that small weight. For the most part it comes down to your personal preference.

      3- Most, if not all, airlines will let you take your walking stick on the plane as long as it’s not pointy. It won’t count towards your carry-on allowance. They will probably want you to store it in the overhead since it won’t really fit in the seat in front of you, and they want to keep the aisles and the space where your feet sit clear.

      I hope this helps!

      1. Matthew Cheyne

        Thank you so much for the answers Ali πŸ™‚

        The reason why I asked them is that I have a Nanna who lives in Perth, Western Australia, on the other side of the country to me, the city in which I was born. When it comes to travel I always have her in the back of my mind because she recently turned 87 and had a cancer scare earlier this year that fortunately turned out to be nothing in the end. So I asked those questions just in case she falls really ill or the worst possible thing happens and I get the call that everybody dreads and need to quickly hop on a plane to Perth.

        Knowing my circumstances I think it may be wise for me to call up all the airlines I may be flying with in advance and them questions similar to what I’ve just asked you so I have a plan in my head at all times as to what to do and how to do it.

        I’m not sure whether you’ve covered this in an article already but could you do an article sometime on how to structure your finances for traveling in terms of saving for a trip i.e. do you guys have a separate bank account you put your travel money into apart from the rest of the money you have and whether you use your normal credit/debit cards when you travel or do you special travel debit cards that are around now in order to lock in favorable exchange rates and so forth. Or do you even use travelers check’s still and a bit of foreign currency buying before you leave for a destination. Stuff like that would be really helpful for an analytical guy like me who always wants to know how to do stuff before actually doing it.

        1. Author
          Ali Garland

          No problem, glad to help! You can find a lot of info on the airline’s website, but finding their customer service number and calling to ask some questions is a good way to make sure you know how to handle everything.

          Thanks for letting me know what you’d like to read about! I’ll put those into my drafts and work on those topics. I think I’ve mentioned in a post about travel and money, NO travelers checks! They are almost useless now, so incredibly hard to find a bank that will take them.

        2. Author
          Ali Garland

          I should’ve looked before I submitted that reply, but here’s the link to the post I wrote about money and travel. Doesn’t answer all your questions, but I have started 2 drafts to write about the rest later! Thanks!

  3. Jennifer

    I like the size of a carry on bag because it is easy to travel around with, but more and more I am checking it. The airlines are just getting too restrictive with carry on. Anymore you can only have the one bag and even your purse must fit inside, which is just ridiculous! no way is that bag fitting under the seat in front of you, so what does it matter if you also have a purse that you do put under the seat in front of you? It’s too much of a hassle.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      It is getting harder and harder to go carry-on only, and I totally agree with you about the 1 bag, no personal item rule. It doesn’t reduce the amount of stuff in the overhead, it just means you have nothing on the floor. It’s all a personal preference. It’s a hassle to meet the requirements to go carry-on only, but it’s also a hassle to wait around for your luggage, and even more of a hassle if it gets lost.

      1. Alix

        Hi Ali, I have had the problem of the one-carry-on bag but recently I used Ryanair and they allow the usual size carry on bag ( 10 kilos) PLUS a hand bag/purse! Very useful. Lets hope other airlines follow suit!

        1. Author
          Ali Garland

          It still surprises me that Ryanair allows one carry-on bag plus a personal item when so many other airlines don’t. They’re usually more restrictive than anyone else. I hope other airlines do follow this, but I typically see airlines going the other direction with carry-on allowance unfortunately.

  4. OCDemon

    I’m a big fan of the “hack the guidebook into pieces” strategy. If you buy a regional guidebook, you can cut each country chapter into its own pamphlet, and it’ll probably fit into a back pocket. If you put packing tape around the edges, they’ll last forever. I gave them away when I left the countries, and it was a fun Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants type of thing. I mean, I’m assuming, since I haven’t seen it…

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      No, of course not, I’m sure you’ve never seen that movie πŸ˜‰ I rip pages out of my guidebooks all the time. Why carry the whole thing around if you only need a few pages of it!

  5. Tom Hill

    Useful article, but I would add that when flying European budget airlines with severe weight restriction, and if the weather is warm enough, wear flip-flops, pack boots; that way if you’re a bit over the weight allowance you can always swap footwear and reduce your checked luggage weight in a matter of seconds.

    Also, wearing the flip-flops obviates the need to remove them for the airside security screening.

    and the last intriguing question, why would anyone ever want to carry a gun or pornography on an aircraft (or anywhere else for that matter!?)

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks Tom, great point! Wearing heavier shoes, and even putting any small but heavy items in your pockets will reduce the weight of your carry-on bag when you’re at the check-in counter.

      I agree, hopefully people wouldn’t think to bring a gun or porn on an airplane, but it happens. TSA does catch people every once in a while who say they forgot they had a gun in their bag. And I’ve known a couple people who have looked over at their airplane neighbor to see them looking at porn on their laptop or a magazine. Crazy!

  6. CrifJohnson

    Thanks alot Ali! Your suggestions are indeed very useful. Personally, when I travel I never carry food items in my Carry One luggage bag. Food items should be avoided.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks! I think it depends on personal preference. I often bring snacks like granola bars, something that won’t spoil, smell bad or get squished too easily.

  7. Tammy

    This is our first time flying (family of 5) We have no electronics to keep children entertained. So what would be good things to help with that?? ages 8, 6, and 2. Can you use a fanny pack on the airlines? Or is that considered carry on?? Also any other advice would be very much appreciated!! We are flying southwest. Very much nervous about this whole experience but excited too!!! Thank you!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Tammy! You can bring a fanny pack on board with you, but it will probably count as your personal item, like a purse. So you could have your carry-on size suitcase plus the fanny pack, but if you have a larger purse or something of similar size that you can fit the fanny pack into, that would work. Check out Southwest’s carry-on policy here http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/baggage/carryon-bags-pol.html for more details, including info about traveling with strollers. (With a 2 year old, I’m guessing you might be bringing a stroller.)

      I don’t have kids, so I don’t know much about traveling with them. However, I think you’ll be fine without electronics for them. After all, we didn’t have loads of gadgets when we were kids, and we kept ourselves entertained just fine! Think about what kinds of indoor activities they normally like to do that don’t require tons of stuff – coloring, reading, small games, cards, etc. Probably also a good idea to bring some snacks, like granola bars or fruit, something that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, isn’t liquid and isn’t too messy. I also happened to see this in Southwest’s flying with children section, might have some good suggestions: http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/family/taking-the-kids.html Hopefully your kids will keep themselves occupied enough that you can read too, so don’t forget to bring a book (or whatever you like to do) as well.

      You mentioned this is your first time flying, so just in case you weren’t aware, Southwest doesn’t do assigned seats. So 24 hours before your flight time, get online and check in. You should also be able to print your boarding passes, but if you don’t have a printer, you can print them at the airport. But you should still check in online 24 hours ahead. The website says families with children under age 5 will automatically board in group A, so it shouldn’t be a big deal, but I think it’s better to just make sure. When you board, you pick your own seats, and getting to board in group A means you’ll pretty much have your choice of wherever, though you can’t sit in the emergency rows with kids. For more info, see here: http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/airport-experience/index.html

      Remember, you’ll be fine. Flying can be overwhelming, but the airline employees know what they’re doing, and they’re usually very helpful, so if you have any questions while you’re at the airport or on the flight, just ask. And have a great trip! If you have any other questions for me, feel free to email me!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Lilly! Tweezers should be fine. You never know what TSA will decide is forbidden on any given day, but tweezers are not on the list of prohibited items. Happy travels!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hair coloring stuff should be fine as long as each bottle is 100ml or less. Same with toothpaste. Your toothbrush is fine to pack in your carry-on too. Happy travels!

      1. Alix

        How many 100 ml bottles can I take in a carry on bag ?
        I normally put everything in suitcase and hope it doesn’t get lost !
        Thanks.

        1. Author
          Ali Garland

          Hi Alix, you can take as many 100ml bottles as you can fit into a one quart (just under one liter) zip-top bag.

          1. Alix

            I like to take with me tiny amounts of face stuff in my carry on bag, just in case my hold suitcase is lost !
            But ! No scissors, even small nail ones. No pen knives.
            Also, if you are travelling with a companion, swap around your hold luggage possessions, so if one suitcase goes missing you both will have some items to help out ! Not all the eggs in one basket !!

          2. Author
            Ali Garland

            Very good ideas, Alix! I had nail scissors with me in Cambodia and they confiscated them. And definitely a good plan to put have of your stuff in your travel buddy’s checked luggage, if you’re both checking bags! Even on the rare occasions I end up checking bags, I always pack toiletries, my medicine and a change of clothes in my carry-on in case my checked bag gets lost.

  8. Nadine wells

    Can I bring my make up kit with my nail polish and perform and lotion and eyeshadow and blush and lip gloss?

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Nadine! You can bring your make-up kit as long as each individual item (the liquids anyway) is 3.4 ounces/100ml or smaller, and they all have to fit into a quart sized zip top bag. Anything that is not liquid (like your powder-based make-ups) can be any size and should not be packed in your liquids bag because it’ll take up precious liquids space. But your nail polish, perfume, lotion, and anything else that’s liquid needs to be 100ml or smaller and in the quart sized liquid bag. I hope this helps!

  9. Alix

    Another tip, I always take,( carry on,) clothes washing tablets. The dry powder ones. Ideal for a bit of hand washing,and saves going to a local store who usually sell washing detergent in huge boxes !
    Also now have taken to using tooth powder. They can’t take that off me !
    Never sure about aerosols so the travel hold.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      I’ve never used tooth powder, but I do travel with small tubes of toothpaste to stay under the 100ml limit. The laundry tablets are a good idea too. I have small laundry detergent sheets that are about an inch or so long, so they don’t take up much room, and they’re not liquid. They’re not great for doing a full load of laundry, but if I need to wash a couple things in the sink, they work well.

      1. Alix

        Thank you, never heard of detergent sheets. Will look out for them ! I also use dental floss as a washing line !

          1. Alix

            Thank you for that info ! Fantastic site, so much handy stuff ! Certainly will be ordering quite a bit !

  10. Jen Zheng

    Hi,

    Thank you for this great article, answered a lot of my parents’ questions. My parents travel to China to see their sisters and brothers each year. My mom would like to know if she can bring a few box of haircolor kit (checked in luggage) with her? My seventy-year-old parents care so much about how their hair look. Thanks again!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Jen! I don’t think that would be a problem. It’s just a few bottles of liquid, so unless the dye is in a pressurized container, it should be fine. Your mom should probably put the box in a sealed plastic bag (like a ziplock) just in case it leaks during the flight.

  11. christine

    Hi going out to Australia can i put shoes in my hand luggage and do you have to disinfect them xxx

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Yes, you can put your shoes in your hand luggage. You shouldn’t have to disinfect them unless you were on a farm or something like that right before flying to Australia. Australia is really protective of their environment, and they will ask you a question about that (I think it’s on the entry form) but otherwise it’s not a problem.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Sue, you sure can! I also pack a small hand towel to wrap around the hair straightener in case I have to pack right after using it. That way you don’t have to worry about putting it into your bag while it’s still hot.

  12. Julie

    thank you for the tips these were not only helpful but I was able to prove my mom wrong which is always a plus so thank you for that and these will work for almost any of my travels so thank you for that

  13. Debbie

    Hi..just to clarify can you take Hair Dye in checked bag to the US ?
    Even though it states no hydrogen peroxide in liquids?
    Thanks
    Deb

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Debbie, if there’s a chemical in the hair dye that is not allowed in checked luggage, then I would say no. But I’m not an expert on traveling with hair dye, so your best option is to check with the airline. If you’re worried about it, maybe try to buy an equivalent color at a store in the US? You can buy those do-it-yourself hair dye boxes in any grocery store or drug store. Sorry I couldn’t give you a more definitive answer!

  14. Ryan

    Hi! I plane flying to over sear this summer, can I bring 5 bottles perfume which not open and still in seal box, each measure from 50 ml to 100 ml. If 1 litter clear zip lock not fit for 5 bottles, can i use two 1 liter zip lock?. Thanks

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Ryan! Your liquids must all be in containers of 100ml or less and they must all fit into ONE 1 liter zip lock bag. If you can’t fit them all in one bag, security won’t let you through. Doesn’t matter if the bottles are still sealed. They won’t let you bring two zip lock bags in carry-on. Sorry!

      1. Ryan

        Since there are 3 other people coming along with me on the trip. Can each person bring one zip lock bags in carry-on?
        Thanks

        1. Author
          Ali Garland

          Yes, each person is allowed one quart-sized ziplock bag, so if your friends have some extra room in their bags, maybe they can take some of your stuff.

    2. Alix

      You can only take larger liquid items if you actually purchase them air side, that’s after security, shopping in the duty free area. I saw a woman who had a packaged perfume bottle ( expensive!) taken from her carry on bag and confiscated in the security area.
      I also saw a mother have a new, boxed baby cream confiscated !
      If you have to take these liquids ( perhaps gifts ?) I would put them in my hold luggage , wrapped in bubble wrap, and put into sturdy, sealable sandwich type boxes. If they do break, they will be in a container. I take plug in mosquito liquid that way.
      Hope it helps. The lady who lost her perfume lost Β£80 !
      Some airports now have a service where they will look after your liquids ( for a fee) until you return. But not much use if you are returning to another airport !

      1. Ryan

        Woow! Now you guys make me confusing. Ali Garland said its OK, Alix said better put in luggage. I always scare my stubs will be lost at my country Airport. I start flying from LAX. Could you guys please confirm should i carry on or not. Thanks

        1. Author
          Ali Garland

          Ryan, Alix is saying the same thing. If you have any liquids larger than 100ml or more bottles than you can fit into a quart-sized ziplock bag, you must put them in your checked luggage, and make sure they are packed in sealed bags in case they break. Although if you can fit the perfume bottles without your shampoo or whatever else, I’d probably pack the shampoo in the checked bag and keep the perfume with you. If you purchase liquids AFTER you go through security, they can (in most cases) be more than 100ml. I hope this helps!

  15. Iman

    Hi Ali, I was wondering if I could take 3-4 nailpolish bottles under 100 ml in my carry-on and can I use them on the plane because the plane I am going on has no tv so I will get bored I will bring a book to read and a notebook to doodle but that’s not at entertaining as doing Ur nails
    Please reply as soon as possible I’m travelling in a few days and need to start packing
    Lovely tips keep up the gd work

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Painting your nails on a flight is technically not against any rules that I know of, but it’s kind of rude. Nail polish has a really strong smell, and you will be sitting really close to several other people in a space with no ventilation. I would highly recommend finding something else to do to keep yourself entertained. Read a book, watch a movie on your laptop or tablet, listen to music.

  16. Barb

    Can I pack a shower puff (one with a handle) in my check bag?

    Thanks for your help.

  17. Carrie

    Do the 100mL liquids in the 1L bag have to be transferred into clear bottles, or can the bottle it came in be used to (i.e. blue opaque 100mL Herbal Essences shampoo bottle)
    Thanks!

    Carrie

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      They don’t have to be in clear bottles, just bottles that are 100ml or less.

  18. Mrs A Bullock

    All I want to know is if I’m allowed to take a can of hairspray (400ml) when I’m travelling to Medagascar.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      You definitely can’t take a 400ml bottle of hairspray in your carry-on luggage. Any liquids you pack in your carry-on must be 100ml or smaller. According to the TSA website http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/08/tsa-travel-tips-tuesday-aerosols.html you can pack your aerosol hairspray in your checked luggage. Rules in other countries are usually similar, but you should check with the aviation security organizations of whichever countries you have to fly through in order to get to Madagascar. Another option is to bring hairspray that’s not an aerosol one. Enjoy your trip!

  19. Leo

    Hi Ali,

    Im travelling on Hongkong next week, and I care a lot about myself thats why im bringing with me 1 box of 80gram bath soap, 1 box of 90 gram soap for my face, 90ml shampoo,
    50ml lotion, 50 ml body spray, 100ml perfume, 40ml deodorant, my vitamins, 60ml disenfectant alcohol, 25ml toothpaste, and a 25g baby powder. All in a check in luggage. But im not sure if its ok to bring an alcohol and the baby powder, coz i dont know if the airport thought that its a powder drug. Lol but it was sealed and not yet used. Coz i bought this special for my 2weeks travel.

    Thank you.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Leo! I don’t think any of that will be a problem in your checked luggage. People often take wine or other alcohol that you drink, so I think the disinfectant alcohol is fine, though you might want to verify with the airline. The powder shouldn’t be a problem either. Even if it looks a little suspicious to them, they have ways of determining if something is actually a drug, and I think it would be pretty easy to determine that you’re not trying to smuggle drugs. And always remember, you can buy what you need where you’re going, so if you really don’t feel comfortable trying to travel with the alcohol or the powder or any other toiletries, you can find them, or something similar, once you arrive in Hong Kong. Enjoy your trip!

      1. Alix

        I always take tiny versions of my face stuff in carry on just in case my hold suitcase goes missing. Soaps should not be a problem with carry on but keep larger liquids for the hold. Always wrap well in plastic, or place in a sandwich box, if leaks occur your clothes are safe. Anything electrical, like hairdryers, electric toothbrush etc has to be carry on. If it goes in hold luggage it causes worry as the X ray picks up on it. It could be trouble! I think they have the right to open your suitcase and check.

        1. Author
          Ali Garland

          Thanks Alix! You’re right, they do have the right to open your luggage. I’ve had that happen a couple of times, and they’ve left a note, some generic thing stating TSA checked it. Always good to have anything you wouldn’t want lost in your carry-on bag!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Yes, just don’t pack it while it’s still hot. If you have to, wrap it in a small towel so it doesn’t burn your clothes.

      1. Alix

        I think hold luggage should not have electrical items as they show up in the scan and they could be suspect and something nasty. Take electrical stuff in carry on, I.e, chargers, toothbrushes, hairdryers. Laptops, tablets and phones are carry on stuff too.

  20. Toni

    going from LAX to Bali, through Singapore.

    Can I bring a quart bag in my purse. And one quart bag in my carry on rolling backpack?
    Thanks!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Toni! No, you are only allowed to have ONE quart-sized bag of liquids to carry onto the plane. Whether it’s in your purse or your suitcase doesn’t matter. Any liquids you want to travel with that don’t fit in the quart-sized bag or that are in bottles bigger than 100ml/3.4 ounces will have to go in your checked luggage.

  21. Janice

    I am flying to Orlando on my own next week and have found your advice about carrying liquids very usefull, i am just a bit nervous because I have a 1hr 25mins stopover at JFK and dont really no what i have to do and where i go . I am flying in and out of same terminal but worried in case its not long enough to get sorted . I am flying with British Airways so any advice would be good

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Thanks Janice! I’m guessing you’re flying from the UK. You will have to go through customs and immigration/passport check at JFK. You will also have to claim and re-check your luggage and go through security again. 1 hour 25 minutes is a bit tight, but not impossible. Check out my tips for dealing with a short layover here, and let me know if you have any other questions!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Ok you’ve stumped me, Julia! I’m sorry, but I have no idea. Australia is pretty picky about what they let into the country, but usually it has to do with food, animal products, wood, and things like that. Try the Australia embassy website and see what they list as prohibited items. Also, keep in mind that Australia has just about everything you would find at home, just might be different brands, so you can probably buy hair dye once you get there.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Yes, pack your medicine in your carry-on bag. (If you pack it in checked luggage and the airline loses your bag, you wouldn’t want your important medication going missing too.) If your medicine is liquid, most countries do not count it towards your total amount of liquids allowed, but you do still have to take it out of your bag at the security checkpoint.

  22. MM Wright

    I am an artist and will be traveling internationally. Can I pack gel pens in a carry on? I have multiple sets of expensive pens. These pens have cost me a few hundred dollars and I would not want them confiscated by the TSA.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      I don’t see why pen would be a problem. I always travel with at least a few pens and I’ve never had a problem. I’ve never thought much about it until you asked! They’re not sharp enough to be considered a weapon, and I have to assume they ignore the fact that pens technically have liquid in them because I have never heard of anyone having a problem with it. If you’re still concerned, you might want to check with TSA directly.

  23. Debbie

    We have a mini bose speaker Bluetooth can we pack it on our carry on. Using it at our vacation rental cabin.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Debbie! I can’t see why that would be a problem, it’s always recommended to pack your electronics in your carry-on so they don’t break in transit.

  24. Brooke Kozozenski

    hi debbie! It will be my first time flying and i wandering if i can get a better seat really if i purchase the early bird deal on southwest?? can i bring my glass perfume on the plane if it is in my luggage and not my carry on and can i wrap it in socks to protect it??? I am wondering how early i need to get at the airport?? How can i tell how much my suit case weighs before i go to the airport and have to get rid of items?? do i need to purchase luggage tags because my suit cases didnt come with them??? sorry so many questions but really concerned and dont want security to be mean to me lol!! thats another thing…is security as scary as it looks???

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Brooke, I’m not sure who Debbie is, but I’ll try to answer πŸ™‚ I can’t help you with the Southwest Airlines question as I have only flown them once or twice and it’s been years. You’ll have to check their website or call their customer service to find out more about that.

      If you want to bring perfume, you can. If it is 3.4 ounces/100ml or LESS, you can bring it as carry-on. If it is bigger than that, you’ll have to pack it in your checked luggage. If you pack it in checked luggage, put it in a sealed plastic bag in case it breaks, and definitely cushion it with socks or a towel or whatever you can to try to prevent it from breaking. Just keep in mind that baggage handlers are not gentle with luggage, so if there’s any way for you to leave it at home or pack a smaller portion in your carry-on, you’ll be better off.

      For a domestic flight, you should get to the airport an hour or hour and a half ahead of your flight. It depends on the airport though since bigger airports can have longer lines at security. For an international flight, you should aim for about 2 hours ahead of your flight.

      If you’re concerned about the weight of your luggage, get a luggage scale like this one: http://amzn.to/1TM8E1u

      You will need luggage tags for any checked luggage. If you don’t have any, you can either purchase some or get a paper one from the airline when you check in.

      Security isn’t so bad. It’s annoying, but as long as you follow the rules, you should be fine. Check out more info on getting through security here, and have a great trip!

  25. Amy H.

    Hello I have a few questions. Can hairspray be put in your checked luggage? Also I take several medications (6) pill bottles. Should I put them in 3 quart size bags or can I put them all in a larger zip bag and put them in my carry on? Thank you!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Amy! according to the TSA website http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/08/tsa-travel-tips-tuesday-aerosols.html hairspray in 3.4 ounce (100ml) or smaller containers can be packed in your carry-on luggage. If it’s bigger than that, you must pack it in your checked luggage. For your medication, if it’s all pills, not liquids, you can pack it however you want, and I *definitely* recommend packing it in your carry-on luggage in case your checked bag goes missing. If you have liquid medication, it is usually exempt from the liquids restriction, but you should still pack it in a clear bag and let TSA know you have it when you go through security. It should still be in the original container. But again, if you’re just talking about pills, there’s no issue, TSA isn’t concerned with things like that. I hope this helps, but let me know if you have any other questions!

  26. Pingback: What NOT to Pack: 21 Carry-On Travellers Share their Packing Mistakes

  27. Greg

    Can i take medicine on carry on luggage and also what is weight for check in luggage ?

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Greg! Yes, definitely pack your medicine in your carry-on bag. If you pack it in checked luggage and the airline loses your luggage, that could be really bad for you depending on what the medicine is. If your medicine is liquid, it is exempt from the liquids restriction, but make sure it’s in the original packaging. If you have time to get a note from your doctor, even better, especially if you’re flying internationally. Same if your medicine requires needles. I hope this helps!

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      The top section are rules, though the one about food depends on where you’re going. When traveling internationally, most countries do not allow you to bring in meat, fruit, vegetables, plants, etc. (Though something like a granola bar or candy should be fine.) Always check with TSA and/or the airline for more specific rules about what is and is not allowed in your carry-on or your checked luggage. The bottom section are not rules, but opinion for reasons relating to etiquette or the weight of your bag.

  28. Cathy

    I have a question about carry on personal items. My daughter wants to bring her backpack. They show a backpack for reference on the TSA sight but the dimensions they show are not eve close to a regular size backpack. More like a toddler one. But the pic shows a full size one. Hate to take it and have them not allow us on as it’s not a cheap one. We are doing a lot of walking and want to have the necessities and such. Thoughts? Flying United to DC.

    Thanks

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Cathy! Personal items are generally pretty small, but they are in addition to your carry-on. So for example, you can bring a rolling suitcase that fits within the carry-on limits, plus a purse or briefcase or something along those lines. And while TSA regulates the types of things you’re allowed to bring on the plane, they do not regulate the exact size of your carry-on luggage, the airlines do that. According to United’s site here, they allow 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches for your carry-on bag, so the suitcase or a bigger backpack, plus 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches for the personal item, so a purse or small backpack. What I imagine as a backpack you’d want for sightseeing days is usually small enough to pass as the personal item. And if that’s the only piece of luggage she’s bringing as carry-on, it can be as big as the larger dimensions listed. I hope that makes sense! If you have any other questions, let me know!

  29. VINU

    I have a question. I am having a connected flight from the same airline which start from a domestic terminal to an international terminal with in the same country. And then to an another country which will take off from the same terminal that I arrived. That is
    Trivandrum ( India)- domestic terminal 1 TO
    Mumbai (India)- international terminal 2
    Then after 4 hrs
    Mumbai ( India)- international terminal 2 TO
    Kuwait.
    My questions
    Is it required to check in the baggage again in the connected terminal or it will go directly to the final destination ?
    Where I have to clear my immigration from the first airport ( domestic) or the second (international)?
    Is it possible to transit with in the airport without getting out?
    What are the procedures to be done at the connected terminal?

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Vinu! Typically how it works is you will fly from Trivandrum to Mumbai with nothing extra to do. When you get to Mumbai, you’ll have to go through passport control to be stamped out of India. You might have to go through security again depending on how the airport is set up. Then when you arrive in Kuwait, you’ll have to go through immigration and customs to enter the country. Your luggage should get transferred from your first flight to your second flight (though I always recommend verifying this when you check in for your first flight) so you just pick it up when you arrive in Kuwait. I hope this helps!

  30. Dina

    Hi are you allowed batteries in a closed packet as hand luggage or cabin luggage please write back asap as I am flying tonight

  31. Dina

    Are you allowed nail polish as hand luggage please write back asap as I am flying tonight

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Yes, you can pack nail polish in your carry-on, but it must go in your liquids bag. My note about it in this post is to suggest that people don’t actually use the nail polish during flight because of the strong smell which would most likely irritate other passengers.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Windy! Yes you can. Just make sure you wrap the curling iron in something like a wash cloth if it’s still hot when you pack it up, that way it doesn’t burn other things in your bag.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      I think that would be fine. Many countries have restrictions about bringing in food, but it usually has to do with fruits, vegetables, meat, things like that. I think coffee beans should be fine.

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Mark! Yes, I always pack my medication in my carry-on bag. If the airline were to lose your checked luggage, it would be really bad to not have your medicine. If your medicine is liquid (or requires needles), bring a note from your doctor to get it through TSA without having to comply with the liquids restrictions.

  32. Shelia

    I had a lumpectomy done a year ago and I wear an insert in my bra to make me look more symmetrical. I think it is gel filled. Should I be able to wear that through security or should I pack that in my carry on or checked in luggage. I am flying from VT to Las Vegas on United. Then flying back on Jet Blue to JFK to Burlington VT

    1. Author
      Ali Garland

      Hi Shelia! I would hope that your insert is permitted since it’s a medical item, but you should probably check the TSA website. I did see that gel inserts for shoes are permitted, so that’s promising. At the very least, you should get a letter from your doctor and let the TSA agents know ahead of time. Your insert is almost like a prosthetic, and they wouldn’t make someone take off their prosthetic leg, so my hope is that you should be allowed through while wearing your insert. If you do take it out to get through security, definitely pack it in your carry-on. Liquids and gels that are medically necessary (like prescriptions, and TSA even considers contact solution medically necessary) are exempt from the liquids restriction, and I’d hate for it to be in your checked luggage if the airline loses your bags. I’m sorry I don’t know the answer to this one for sure, but definitely check the TSA website.

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