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Taking Flight and Wrapping Up: 5 Tips for Packing Your Holiday Gifts For Air Travel

This blog post was updated on October 25, 2018.

Last week I was faced with a dilemma that many travelers must figure out this time of year. On top of just packing yourself for holiday travel, we must also figure out how to fit those gifts in our bags without any sort of incident. While shopping for gifts can seem like the ultimate challenge, getting those selected items for friends and family by plane is not always the easiest of tasks. If you are heading out to visit family or friends for the holidays, here are a few tips to put in place when packing those gifts for grandma.

Tissue Paper Is Your Friend: You might beautifully wrap up your gift for Uncle Eddie, only to have a TSA agent say they need to see what’s inside the box. That beautiful wrap job will be in vain. Rather than hauling a giant tube of wrapping paper with you, tissue paper can be a much easier and space-saving solution for wrapping gifts for the traveler. Packets of tissue paper lay flat in a bag so they won’t get crinkled and damaged in transit. Along with a simple roll of tape, you can easily wrap up your gifts when you get to your destination.

Never Place Gifts At the Top of a Suitcase: There are many reasons to not pack your gifts directly at the top of your suitcase. While this might seem like a nice way to stay organized by keeping your items at the bottom of the bag and your gifts on top, you run the risk of your gifts getting damaged, lost or stolen. I have picked up many suitcases of mine at baggage claim either with items spilling out from zippers that have been opened, drenched in rain water or severely worse for the wear that I know the contents have not had a pleasant flight. The best thing you can do to ensure your gifts are protected is to bury them in the center of your bag, surrounded by clothes and other items that provide additional padding.

Know Liquids and Gels Restrictions on Carry-On Bags Apply to Gifts Too: You might have purchased some fancy French jam for your cousin Sue, only to have it confiscated at a TSA checkpoint because you didn’t consider it was a gel. If you are going to give liquid or gel gifts for the holidays, it might be best to place them in your checked luggage. Carry-on restrictions only allow 3.4oz or less of containers of liquids or gels.

Clear Bubble Wrap Fragile Gifts: Rather than just tossing those fragile items in your checked luggage, you can keep them with you in your carry-on with a little help from clear bubble wrap. If you get pulled over at security and are asked to show said gift, it can clearly be seen through the bubble wrap. If the security agent wants to see the item more clearly, you can easily wrap your fragile gift back up without breaking it at security.

Consider Online Ordering and Shipping Gifts Directly: If you want to save space in your suitcase and also get your gifts to their intended parties, an easy solution is to purchase your gifts online and send them directly to the intended recipient. This cuts out the middleman of shipping gifts that you purchase online to your address and then ultimately having to pack those gifts in your carry-on bag.


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