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Traveling with Food or Gifts

How to Pack Food and Gift Items

Food

When it comes to bringing items through checkpoints, we've seen just about everything. Traveling with food or gifts is an even bigger challenge. Everyone has favorite foods from home that they want to bring to holiday dinners, or items from their destination that they want to bring back home.

Not sure about what you can and can't bring through the checkpoint? Here's a list of liquid, aerosol and gel items that you should put in your checked bag, ship ahead, or leave at home if they are above the permitted 3.4 oz.

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Cologne
  • Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings)
  • Gravy
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Lotions
  • Maple syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Perfume
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa
  • Sauces
  • Snow Globes
  • Soups
  • Wine, liquor and beer

You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but they are subject to additional screening.

While you can bring wrapped gifts through the checkpoint, TSA officers may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside. We recommend that you wrap gifts after your flight or ship them ahead of time. This way you will avoid having to open them during the screening process.

Items you purchase after the security checkpoint have already been screened. You can bring these on the plane without further screening.

Recent inbound international changes

You may now carry liquids more than 100 mL in your carry-on bag if:

  • You are traveling internationally into the United States with a connecting flight,
  • they are in transparent containers,
  • you bought them at a duty-free shop, and
  • the store packed them in a secure, tamper-evident bag.

If your liquids are not in a secure, tamper-evident bag, you must pack them in your checked bag. 

If the liquids alarm during screening, we will need to screen them further.

Latest revision: 19 June 2014