There is no doubt during the holiday season we will be packing and loading gifts to travel along with us. The excitement of the holidays is not only in giving gifts; it’s also fun to receive an item from your wish list. Make sure gifts arrive at their destination in one piece with no chips, cracks or crush parts.
We have a few tips to help with your packing and traveling with holiday gifts.
General Packing tips
- You can save yourself some baggage on the way home by packing clothes and other items that can be crushed in a duffle bag, then on the way home, you can pack your everything in your hard shell suitcase, including the duffel bag. Fold it and place it in the suitcase as well.
- If you are traveling by plane, automobile, bus or train, you will want to use a hard-shell suitcase to reduce the possibility of things getting damaged. Hard-shell suitcases offer an added layer of protection and security not only for items inside the case, but the bag itself is less likely to become ripped and torn.
- There is almost always at least one gift that must be wrapped, packed and mailed. Wrap the package as if you were going to send it through the mail (cushioned with packing peanuts inside a fitted box); surround the package with soft clothing and nothing on top if you can help it; be willing to re-wrap upon arrival
- Traveling with wrapping paper could be risky, so either plan to buy the wrapping paper at your destination or pack gift bags and tissue paper instead
- Ask the Label your bags as fragile; it is also helpful to explain why it is fragile – such as “glass” or “liquid” and the baggage handlers can decide the safest way to store it
- Try to keep the original packaging of the gift and reuse it when transporting it
- Don’t forget to pad the bottom of the gift’s container in addition to protecting it from all sides
- Fill the inside of your items if they are hollow (such as a vase)
- If your object can be disassembled, pack the parts separately
Traveling by air
- If you’re carrying your items on, keep in mind you can only bring one piece of luggage and one personal item.
- Wrap the gift loosely in clear bubble wrap (the larger the bubbles, the better, so the item can be viewed through the wrap)
- Fasten the bubble wrap with rubber bands, so it’s easy to unwrap if needed
- It might cost less or about the same price to just mail the gifts to your destination and it could save you some stress
Traveling by car
- If you are driving to your destination, check your vehicle’s maximum weight limit; especially if you are traveling by a car full of people, their luggage AND whatever gifts they might want to bring along
- Put the heaviest items (like televisions) near the center of your vehicle. When a vehicle’s center of gravity is thrown off, the risk of an accident is greater.
- Pack as tightly as possible, fill in gaps with blankets or towels to prevent items from jostling around during the drive; you may also want to invest in a cargo organizer
- If you are worried about the vehicle weight limit or the available space, consider renting a small cargo trailer or even a moving van
Gifts for the kids
- You can also plan to celebrate early or later, making it work around your trip
- If you and your kids are celebrating the holidays somewhere else, and you want to bring their gifts with you, consider leaving the larger items at home for them to open/discover when they come back. You will save the stress and money of transporting larger presents, and it might be more challenging to keep them as a surprise. Another idea may be to print pictures of the larger gifts and show your kids what will be waiting for them when they get home. Create a little excitement for the return trip home.
- You cannot bring toys that look like weapons, baseball bats, hockey sticks, etc. through carry-on.
- Before you bring cakes, pies and small snowglobes remember they run the risk of being jostled or damaged en route so consider making those kinds of purchases at your destination
What about TSA Security Checks
- TSA allows wrapped gifts, but if the package raises the alarm, they will have to unwrap it
- Meat, cheese, and fresh produce can be met with regulations and bans if you are traveling internationally