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What Can I Take On A Plane In Checked Luggage? Do’s And Don’ts

What Can I Take On A Plane In Checked Luggage? Do’s And Don’ts

Whether you’re spending a much-needed vacation in France to get a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, or you’re headed to Italy to taste some authentic pizza, no trip is complete without bringing home souvenirs! 

But before you pack a wheel of funky camembert from France or the finest prosciutto from Italy, keep in mind that many types of cheese and meats from Europe (and food from other countries, for that matter) are banned from the United States — even if they’re packed in your checked luggage. 

So, what can you take on a plane in checked luggage? 

We’ll break down the rules regarding what food, liquids, and other travel items you’re allowed to bring through TSA, along with factors to consider when packing souvenirs in your checked bag and frequently asked questions about prohibited items when flying. 

Along with our expert guide on packing do’s and don’ts, we’ll share our favorite checked suitcases to take on your next adventure! 

What Can I Pack In My Checked Luggage? 

From liquids and medicine to food and souvenirs, knowing what you can and can’t pack in your checked luggage can help you avoid a time-consuming and costly run in with a Transport Security Administration (TSA) agent. 

We’ve compiled a list of what you’re allowed to bring through TSA in the United States, with noteworthy exceptions. 

1. Food

Flying to or within the United States? TSA allows a lot more food than you might think! 

From rich chocolate truffles and live seafood to pungent cheeses and a host of spices, here’s a list of food you can and can’t pack in your checked bag. 

Go ahead and pack it: 

  • Bread 
  • Chocolate 
  • Nuts without the shells 
  • Dips, spreads and soups 
  • Yogurt 
  • Vacuum-sealed meats 
  • Canned foods 
  • Candy 
  • Baby food 

Go ahead and pack it (with exceptions): 

  • Dried spices, except for those in the citrus family 
  • Cheese, except for FDA-banned cheese 
  • Frozen meat and seafood, with ice or ice packs, stored in a clear and spill-proof plastic container 

Eat it or leave it: 

  • Vegetables and fruits that grow from seeds 
  • Stinky cheese, such as MimoletteCamembert de Normandie and Brie de Meaux 

2. Liquids

Airports around the world have buckled down on liquid regulations over the past two decades

From bottled water to (surprisingly) alcohol, here are the liquids that can and can’t pass through security checks. 

Go ahead and pack it: 

  • Bottled water 
  • Baby formula 
  • Breast milk 
  • Toothpaste 
  • Shampoo 
  • Conditioner 
  • Mouthwash 
  • Lotion 

Go ahead and pack it (with exceptions): 

  • Alcoholic beverages with more than 24% alcohol — but less than 70% — are limited to five liters per passenger 

Leave it: 

  • Alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcohol 
  • Gasoline 
  • Flammable liquids such as lighter fluid and liquid bleach 

Pro tip: Pack your shampoo, conditioner and other liquids in your checked luggage if it’s more than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters). 

3. Electronic Devices

Packing electronics can be tricky, especially since there are a lot of restrictions on what you can and can’t travel with. 

From curling irons to lithium batteries, here’s a list of what you can and can’t pack  to avoid sparking plane fires. 

Go ahead and pack it: 

  • Electric razor 
  • Extension cord 
  • Hair dryer 
  • Navigation GPS 
  • Projector 
  • Laptop – place it in a separate bin for x-ray screening 

Go ahead and pack it (with exceptions): 

  • Flat iron, straightener and curling iron with cord 
  • Drone without batteries 
  • Mobile phone battery charging case 
  • Lithium batteries with 100-watt hours or less 

Leave it: 

  • Lithium batteries with more than 100-watt hours 

Pro tip: Leave batteries over 100 watts at home and check the full list of prohibited electronic devices on TSA’s website

4. Medical Aid And Medicine

Whether you’re carrying medical supplies for a loved one or need medication during your trip, here’s a list of medical supplies and medicine you can and can’t pack in your checked bag. 

Go ahead and pack it:  

  • Blood sugar test kit  
  • Canes and crutches 
  • Contact lenses  
  • Contact lens solution  
  • Inhaler 
  • Eye drops  

Go ahead and pack it (with exceptions): 
 

  • Medicine in pill, capsule or tablet forms (maximum of 90 pcs.) 
  • Medicine in liquid form, subject to additional security screening — you will be asked by a TSA officer to open the container 

Pro tip: To ensure a seamless security check regarding your medication: 

  • Bring a valid doctor’s note or prescription written in English 
  • Pack your medicine in its original container, with doctor’s instructions printed on the bottle 
  • Ask your doctor to write a prescription or letter stating your condition and why you need the medication, if you don’t have the original container 
Be sure to pack souvenirs that are TSA-friendly
Be sure to pack souvenirs that are TSA-friendly

What Can I Take On A Plane In Checked Luggage? Factors To Consider 

Before you purchase a bunch of souvenirs and fill your bag for the trip home, there are a few more factors to consider when it’s time to pack. 

1. Weight

For most major domestic airlines such as Delta, American Airlines, JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines, the weight restriction for a checked bag is 50 pounds. 

However, airlines such as Allegiant Air and Frontier have a maximum checked luggage weight of 40 pounds. 

Pro tip: Use a travel scale to weigh your checked bag before heading for the airport, to prevent excess baggage charges! 

2. Taxed Goods

Before you go overboard, remember that for certain items, you’ll need to declare what you’re bringing and pay duties (if applicable). 

To prevent surprises when you reach customs: 

  • Register your items with U.S. customs to prove that you owned specific items before leaving the U.S. 
  • Bring home up to $800 worth of souvenirs from duty free shops without paying duties — this can include 100 cigars, 200 cigarettes and one liter of alcohol 

Pro tip: Bringing home souvenirs from the Caribbean or Canada? Check with U.S. customs to find out if your items will be charged at a reduced or duty-free rate. 

3. Valuable Items

Believe it or not, TSA received 30,621 claims of missing belongings from 2010 to 2014 — reaching a total property loss of $2.5 million. 

To prevent your checked valuables from being stolen, store your valuable items (such as your laptop or camera) in your carry-on, so you can watch them closely. 

Pro tip: For extra security, lock your checked bag with a TSA-approved lock. 

Use a travel scale to make sure your checked luggage is under the weight limit
Use a travel scale to make sure your checked luggage is under the weight limit

What Happens If The TSA Finds A Prohibited Item In My Checked Bag? 

One of the most commonly asked questions on TSA’s website is what happens if a prohibited item is found in your checked luggage. 

From flight delays to hefty fines and in some cases, a run in with law enforcement, here is a list of possible scenarios when bringing a prohibited item to the airport: 

  • Flammable liquids such as paint thinners and gasoline: A $360 to $2,090 fine 
  • Self-defense spray or tear gas: A $360 to $2,090 fine 
  • Unloaded firearms: A $1,500 to $2,475 fine and criminal referral 
  • Replicas of explosives: A $690 to $3,460 fine and criminal referral 

In addition to the fines, your item will not be returned. 

Rollink Luggage You’ll Love For Your Checked Items 

From bumpy rides in conveyor belts to rough luggage handling, our Rollink luggage is designed to survive the wear and tear of travelling while ensuring your belongings are safe and secure. 

Meet the Flex Vega —made to last and designed for busy travelers, Flex Vega is water-, scratch- and impact-resistant, making it the perfect travel companion to bring on any holiday!