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TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Back to School Packing

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Photo Courtesy of Siberian Tiger

Labor Day is quickly approaching, and that means many students will soon be on their way to college! When returning to school, people have a tendency to cram as much “stuff” as they can into their bags. It’s understandable and absolutely fine to jam pack your bags with all the things you need while you’re away. However, be careful not to pack any prohibited items!

Double Check: If you’re grabbing a bag, suitcase, briefcase, jacket and other items you haven’t used in a while, be sure to give them the onceover so you don’t accidentally take something prohibited through the checkpoint. Many people who have brought guns, ammunition, knives, and other prohibited item say that they did so unknowingly.

Blades: Anything with blades should be placed in your checked baggage. This includes knives of all sizes, and blender and food processor blades. Nail clippers and corkscrews are not prohibited, but some have knife blades attached. This makes them prohibited.

Sporting Goods: Golf clubs, baseball bats (including the mini slugger bats), cricket bats, bows and arrows, hockey sticks, scuba knives, spear guns, etc., are all prohibited from being carried onto the plane. However, you can place them in your checked baggage.

Shaving Razors: You can get more info from our blog post on this subject where the pictures will answer your questions.

Deodorant: Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz or less, but gel or spray deodorant is.

Makeup: Any liquid makeup cosmetics such as eyeliner, nail polish, liquid foundation, etc., should be placed in the 3-1-1 bag. That goes for perfume as well. Powder makeup is fine.

Beverages: Wine, liquor, beer, and all of your favorite beverages are permitted in your checked baggage. You can also bring beverages packaged in 3.4 oz or less bottles in your carry-on bags in the baggie.

Foods: Cakes, pies, bread, donuts, turkeys, etc., are all permitted. Here is a list of items that should be placed in your checked bags or shipped: cranberry sauce, creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.), gift baskets with liquid or gel food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings), gravy, jams, jellies, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer.

The MyTSA App: Do you want TSA information anywhere, anytime? Use the MyTSA app. Among the great features, there’s a “Can I Bring My…” tool. Want to know if you can pack a certain item? This is the tool for you. Type in the name of the item you’re curious about and it tells you if the item is permitted or not, along with packing tips... A wait time feature is also available. It relies on crowd sourcing, which means the more people who use it, the better.

Come back next Tuesday for more TSA travel tips!

For even more tips, search our blog, or visit the Traveler Information Section on our web page. Come back next Tuesday for more TSA travel tips!

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.


Submitted by Rich Pasco on

It may be worth noting that the point at which beverages are limited to 3.4 oz is at the security checkpoint. As far as I know, there is no problem with carrying on larger size beverages purchased in the airport secure area (beyond the checkpoint). It also seems to be OK to take empty beverage bottles of any size through the checkpoint and then fill them in the secure area (e.g. at a drinking fountain).

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can you explain why a pie is allowed but other items with far less liquid or gel content are prohibited?

Also, why is one 500 mL bottle of water prohibited, but five 100 mL bottles of water allowed? The volume of liquid is the same. I can put the 500 mL bottle of water into a plastic baggie if that makes you feel safer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Gee, Curtis, I thought you were changing the policy on knives. Has there been a change in your plans? Can you do a blog post about it?

Submitted by Anonymous on

The number of comments from the American public that you are censoring is increasing.

Still haven't seen a blog post about the GAO report on TSA employee misconduct. Not even the expected propaganda.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So I asked this before, but was not answered: Why is stick deodorant not limited in size, but gel or cream is? Your argument for the illogical liquid rules is that you don´t know if the liquids are explosives. But how do you know the stick deodorant isn´t an explosive? Explosives can easily be solidified too (think TNT).

Limiting a whole state of matter makes no sense.

Submitted by RB on

"A Lexington Blue Grass Airport TSA manager charged with sexually abusing a female employee has resigned.

According to court documents, the victim told police Shane A. Hinkle, 38, touched her breasts and put his hand down her pants twice on two separate occasions, the first on July 31 and the second time on Aug. 4. The citation indicates the incidents both happened at the airport, and the acts on Aug. 4 were recorded on video."

So another TSA TSM goes down. How many before TSA realizes there is a serious unaddressed problem at TSA?

Also, how come it's a crime for this TSA employee to stick his hands in a TSA employees pants but when done to a passenger it's ok?

TSA can sexually assault passengers but not themselves.

And regardless of what TSA claims, the action of a single employee does impact all other TSA employees.

TSA is not trusted.

TSA is abusive.

TSA screening is excessive.


Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA San Jose should get some training from PDX! Since when are First Class ticket holders given additional privileges over others by TSA?

Submitted by Lauren Smith on

It is a a must consider list while packing. Apart from deodorant, one need to take care of cosmetics and medicines while packing. I personally had some bad experience with these items