AskTSA: Your Holiday Travel Questions Answered

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Holiday items

Stepping onto the plane, you’re greeted by smiling flight attendants wearing Santa hats. You slide into your seat, excitedly snap your seatbelt and exhale deeply, thankful that you made it through the security checkpoint with ease. It’s a Christmas wish come true!

Earlier today, we announced that we are projecting a record number of flyers this holiday travel period starting Dec. 19 and continuing through Jan. 5. That’s a 6 percent increase from 2017, with 41 million passengers traveling through security screening checkpoints nationwide.

All of us at TSA want you to have a safe and happy holiday season, no matter where your travels may take you. So once you’ve made your list and TSA Prechecked it twice, take a peek at our list of holiday travel tips, based on some of the most frequently asked questions sent to AskTSA.

Man holding gifts

Hold the gift wrap.

It’s best to hold off wrapping your sack of presents until you reach your destination. Certain holiday gifts, including larger electronics, may require additional inspection. You can also place items into a gift bag to facilitate any additional screening that may be required.

Woman opening gift

Wear your golden rings.

You’re allowed to wear jewelry through the security checkpoint, but you can also place it in your carry-on and checked baggage. If you plan to stuff a special stocking with something shiny, such as an engagement ring, you can ask for a private screening if an additional inspection is necessary. Learn more in our blog post on traveling with jewelry.


Bring on those holiday leftovers.

Your favorite holiday treats can travel with you! Solid foods, such as baked goods, meats, and fresh fruits and vegetables, are good to go in your carry-on bag. Liquid, creamy and spreadable foods, like your delicious spinach dip, must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Planning to travel with an entire feast? Larger amounts can be packed in your checked bags.

Pug wearing Santa hat

Ask your airline about flying animals.

We’ve been told some folks simply can’t fly without their reindeer. But ask your airline if you plan to travel with an animal, magical or not, as restrictions may apply. You can also learn more about traveling with animals in our recent travel tips listicle.

Christmas ornaments

Deck the halls with holiday cheer.

Make your season merry and bright with festive decor. Strings of holiday lights, wreaths, mistletoe, and even small trees are allowed in carry-on and checked bags. However, we recommend contacting your airline about traveling with trees as they may have size restrictions. Fragile ornaments and other holiday keepsakes travel better in your carry-on luggage.


If you’re still unsure about how to pack that gift, send us a message (or even a picture) on Twitter at @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger. We’re available to answer your questions weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. And yes, that includes Christmas and New Year’s Day!

Happy holidays from TSA!

Karen and Jon
AskTSA Team

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