Tips for Traveling with Gifts

Nov 26th, 2014 Seasonal Travel

Whether you’re staying home for the holidays or celebrating abroad, you’ll most likely need to buy a few gifts. Read on for our favorite gift ideas, updates on what’s allowed through security and tips for traveling with gifts.

Traveling with Edible Gifts

Edible gifts are a great way to share your heritage or culinary talents with friends and family. When considering what to give or make, be sure to factor in the climate where you’re sending or taking the gifts so they won’t spoil or melt. If you’re flying, cushion perishable gifts with clothing to avoid a mess in your suitcase. Remember to place food in unbreakable containers that are easy for security to open. Pies and cakes are allowed onboard, but are subject to additional screening. The 3-1-1 rule applies to food that contains liquid or gel. If the items listed below exceed 3.4 oz., they’ll need to go into your checked luggage:

  • Beer, Wine & Liquor
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Creamy Dips & Spreads (Nutella, Vegemite, peanut butter)
  • Gravy
  • Honey
  • Jam & Jelly
  • Maple Syrup
  • Oil, Vinegar & Salad Dressing
  • Salsa
  • Sauces
  • Soup
  • edible gifts

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    New Lease on Liquids

    Earlier this year, security rules limiting liquids in carry-ons were relaxed slightly for passengers traveling to the U.S. This is good news if you’re transporting gifts like perfume, lotion, wine, sauces and oil that were formerly restricted to checked luggage. Before these new rules went into effect, even duty-free purchases were subject to confiscation at other checkpoints when transferring to domestic flights in the U.S. Now, you may travel with liquids over 3.4 fl. oz. (100 ml) in your carry-on if all of the following conditions are met:

  • You’re traveling internationally into the U.S. and connecting to another flight
  • The liquids are in transparent containers
  • You bought the liquids at a duty-free shop
  • The duty-free shop packed the liquids in a secure, tamper-evident bag
  • The Season of Merriment

    Wine, beer and spirits make great gifts, especially if they’re from your hometown or are only available in limited areas. If you’re traveling with liquid gifts, you’ll need to pack carefully. Padded bottle protectors are ideal for both alcohol and olive oil. You can also roll bottles in bubble wrap and place them inside durable, sealable plastic bags (make sure security agents can unwrap them) and surround them with soft clothing. Here’s what’s currently allowed in checked luggage:

  • Up to 70% alcohol content (140 proof), including 95% grain alcohol and 150-proof rum
  • Up to 5 liters with an alcohol content between 24% and 70% if packaged in a sealable bottle or flask
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    Wrap After You Arrive

    If you’re flying with gifts, keep in mind that TSA agents may need to open them. For best results, leave gifts unwrapped. You can wrap fragile items in bubble wrap and secure them with rubber bands for easy inspection. Bring along pre-cut wrapping paper, ribbon and tape so you can wrap gifts when you arrive at your destination. Some airports and airlines (like Southwest) provide free gift-wrapping services during the holidays. In the past, the following airports have offered this convenient perk:

  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW); only available for gifts purchased at DFW airport
  • Fort Wayne International Airport; Indiana (FWA)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • tips for traveling with gifts

    Great Travel Gifts Under $50

    Most people take a trip at some point in their lives, so travel gifts are great for virtually everyone on your list. We’ve got plenty of great gifts that fit nicely into your budget:

  • Apparel Care
  • Compression Socks
  • Earplugs
  • Eye Mask
  • Luggage Scale
  • Packing Organizers
  • SleepPhones
  • Slippers
  • Travel Blanket
  • Travel Towel
  • TravelSmith Clearance Items
  • Gifts for the Glamorous Globetrotter

    Everyone knows someone who loves fashion and beauty, so why not give them a gift they can enjoy on the road? Here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Beauty Bag
  • Curling Iron
  • Flat Iron
  • Jewelry Case
  • Opera Glasses
  • Steamer
  • Travel Mirror
  • Travel Pillow
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    Seeking Security

    Safety ranks high on most people’s lists when they’re traveling, which is why it’s a priority at TravelSmith. We’ve got a plethora of products to make you, your friends and your family feel more secure on the road:

  • Door Jammer
  • Emergency Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Money Belt
  • Motion Sensor Nightlight
  • Power Charger
  • Security Bags & Wallets
  • Trackable Labels & Tags
  • Travel Locks
  • travel gifts

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    The Gift of Help

    Giving back instead of giving gifts is an easy way to make the holidays feel special. Whether you want to help out the less fortunate in your hometown or across the globe, you have a world of choices:

  • Buy fair-trade gifts from third-world co-ops and nonprofit organizations.
  • Give to charitable groups that provide basic necessities, education and healthcare. Make a gift in someone’s name and put an informational card in their stocking.
  • Look for gifts at holiday fairs that help the poor, homeless, abused and elderly.
  • Volunteer to help at soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
  • Visit a senior center, group home, hospital or hospice and ask someone on staff if there are any residents who have no family or friends. Spend a couple of hours with these people, give them a special gift and find out if there’s anything they need.
  • Find great gifts for everyone on your list- check out our entire selection of gifts here. Happy holidays from all of us at TravelSmith!