Flying over the holiday season often means bringing along a few extra packages. Here are some tips to make flying with gifts a little more cheerful.
Managing Airport Security
Don’t let the extra baggage slow you down during the already lengthy security process.
- Don’t wrap them. While the x-ray machines may be able to identify the gift’s contents, it’s still very possible that you will be asked to unwrap them by security, wasting both money and time. Pack some gift bags and tissue paper in your luggage for a quick wrap job when you arrive at your destination.
- Plan your gift shopping list with security in mind. Your nephew wants a Swiss Army knife? Aunt Betty wants some hand cream she can only get from Canada? While we are all used to making sure our carry-on bags meet security requirements, it is all too easy to forget these rules when it comes to the gifts we need to bring. The safest thing to do is to only buy items that will pass through security—even if you plan to put these items in your checked baggage.
- However, try not to pack gifts in your checked baggage. While the vast majority of bags make it to their destination, breakable or valuable items should not be entrusted to your checked baggage. It’s important to remember that your checked baggage is also subject to inspection. Trying to explain to officials that what they see in your baggage is actually a toy water pistol will be embarrassing, stressful, and could very well mean you miss your flight by the time you get the situation resolved. Believe it or not cases like this do happen…often.
Alternative options to bringing gifts with you
Travelling with extra packages during one of the busiest travel season can add a lot of stress and potential complications to your trip. With a little preplanning, you can avoid having to carry gifts altogether.
- Consider purchasing gifts online and having them delivered directly to your destination. Many web sites will even wrap and label them for you for a small fee.
- Depending on where you’re heading, you may be able to purchase gifts or gift cards when you arrive at your destination.
- If all else fails, remember…kids love cash.
- Don’t forget the gifts you will be bringing back with you if you’re doing a gift exchange. Speak with your hosts before you go about gifts, and possibly limiting or agreeing to not exchange presents. Perhaps an outing of some sort can be a fun and less stressful replacement.