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Take the Stress Out of Flying with Gifts

HOW TO TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF FLYING WITH GIFTS AND PACKAGES

The holidays are a magical time of year. As work and school responsibilities subside, we get to gather with loved ones and watch their faces light up with joy as they unwrap the perfect gift. But for those flying during the holidays, it can be incredibly stressful to navigate crowded airports with treasured gifts in tow. But flying with gifts during the holiday season doesn’t have to be stressful, according to the travel experts at AAA.

Whether you’re planning to ship items in advance, check a bag, or stow gifts in your carry-on, add these tips to your packing checklist to ensure both you and your treasures arrive safely, on time, and ready to celebrate the season with the people you cherish most.
 
In the airport during Christmas
 
TIP 1: WEIGH THE PROS AND CONS BEFORE PURCHASING DIFFICULT-TO-TRANSPORT GIFTS
Some gifts are too perfect to pass up, like the antique ship-in-a-bottle Dad’s been eyeing for years that just popped up on your eBay. As you’re perusing your holiday shopping list, try to imagine lugging each item through a hectic airport terminal or cramming it into the trunk of an Uber. Then decide if it’s a must-have or something that can wait for later.

TIP 2: SHIP WHAT YOU CAN—AND DO SO IN ADVANCE
In this logistics-driven age, it’s never been easier to transport goods around the world, often in a matter of days or even hours. But the holiday season brings myriad shipping challenges for even the most reliable carriers. If possible, schedule your gift deliveries well in advance of the Black Friday holiday shopping craze.

Mailing Gifts during the Holidays

TIP 3: DECIDE IF YOU WILL CHECK BAGGAGE FOR YOUR HOLIDAY FLIGHT
Whether you’re worried about entrusting certain gifts to the powers that be, or you’re concerned about toting your own haul back home, you always have the option of checking a bag. But keep in mind this option usually incurs a checked bag fee—$30-35 each way for most major U.S. airlines—as well as extra time in your itinerary to stop at baggage claim.

TIP 4: DOUBLE CHECK TSA RESTRICTIONS FOR BOTH CARRY-ON AND CHECKED BAGS
If you fly often, it’s easy to ignore the ubiquitous warnings about lithium batteries and other regulated items you don’t normally pack. But these same rules apply for gifts, so make sure any toys or electronics you’re bringing comply with TSA guidelines for checked and carry-on luggage.
 
Traveling in car with gift
 
TIP 5: LEAVE GIFTS UNWRAPPED OR CONSIDER PUTTING THEM IN GIFT BAGS TO EASE SECURITY WOES
Have you ever stood patiently while TSA agents rifle through your unmentionables for all to see? The same can happen when you bring wrapped gifts on a plane. If possible, save the wrapping until you arrive—and if you have special paper or ribbon in mind, be sure to bring those as well.

TIP 6: GIVE FRAGILE, BREAKABLE, OR SPILLABLE GIFTS SOME EXTRA LOVE FOR THE ROAD
As a general rule of thumb, hard-sided suitcases are the way to go, regardless of whether you’re checking bags or using carry-ons. Holiday airports and baggage handling areas are notoriously chaotic, so it also never hurts to protect extra-fragile items with a layer or two of bubble wrap.

TIP 7: KEEP YOUR MOST PRECIOUS AND VALUABLE GIFTS CLOSE AT HAND
You invested time, care, and—not least of all, money—choosing the perfect gifts for your loved ones. The last thing you want is to lose or damage them in transit. These space-saving travel gadgets will make room in your carry-on or personal item for what matters most.