ARE YOU GOING TO BE ONE OF THE MILLIONS THAT IS FLYING SOMEWHERE FOR CHRISTMAS?
CHECK OUT THESE 7 GREAT TIPS ON HOW TO FLY WITH CHRISTMAS PRESENTS TO LESSEN THE BURDEN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!
The great debate is here again…to ship or fly….that is the question?!?!?!! And the answer is truly up to you because it really depends on how many gifts you have, their weight and which airline you are flying with. If you are considering putting them in your suitcase please keep reading to learn how to fly with Christmas presents for a much less hectic travel experience!
1. TO WRAP OR NOT WRAP, THAT IS THE QUESTION
While wrapped gifts are allowed on both carry on and checked luggage, you are far more likely to have TSA open a wrapped gift then not. If you are like me and are super meticulous about your wrap job, I would wait until you reach your destination to avoid all your hard work being thrown down the drain. But, if you do want to wrap ahead of time they will be far less likely to be opened when in your checked luggage as opposed to your carry on. Just always remember, NEVER put anything of value or something irreplaceable in your checked luggage. If the item is stolen, damaged, or lost, you will have little recourse.
2. FLYING WITH A VALUABLE OR IRREPLACEABLE GIFT
This is simple, carry it on yourself. The only way to make sure it is not lost, stolen, or damaged is to have it with you at all times. Pack it in the smallest carry on bag that you are bringing with you that way you won’t be forced to gate check it if the overhead bins are full or God forbid ship it via a shipping service!
3. FRAGILE AND OVERSIZED GIFTS
So what if your gifts aren’t necessarily valuable, but they are fragile. Bubble wrap….lots of bubble wrap or anything that you can wrap the gift in for protection. Layering your clothes are the item etc will work and this does work, but if you are transporting wine or liquids I would suggest something a little heftier.
*Make your life easier and just don’t travel with fragile gifts….its a headache.
Talking from experience, an over weight or over sized bag can cost between $200 -$400 roundtrip so check your airline’s website for their baggage allowance before arriving at the airport to avoid being shell shocked at the ticket counter. You need to decide if you are willing to turn the $50 item into a hundreds of dollars gift or could you take a pic of it for Christmas morning and let the person have it when they get home.
4. GIFTS THAT DON’T BELONG ON A CARRY ON
Ok folks, lets use common sense here so we can avoid the embarrassment of a full body search in security. Toys that look like weapons are an obvious NO. Also, any foods that are liquid or even semi-liquid are a no no too (ex. jams). Large items such as hockey sticks, baseball bats, ski poles etc are allowed, but they seriously are not a good idea because they could be used a weapon. While it is highly unlikely, you don’t want to be the person who brought onboard the weapon that knocked out a stewardess….just saying.
And I have to mention an item that people do not think would be a problem but will be on of the highest ranked items confiscated this month – snow globes. If they contain more than 3.4 ounces of liquid TSA will take it because it technically is a liquid item and we all know that TSA shows no mercy when you tell them it is for your elderly grandmother.
5. GIFTS YOU RECEIVE THAT NEED TO GO HOME
Before you ever leave for your destination find a super sturdy duffel bag that you can use as an additional piece of luggage on your return flight if you think you will receive more gifts than what will fit in your first checked bag. Then, transfer all your clothes, shoes, and non-breakable items to the duffle and pack your gifts in your suit case since it is more protective than the duffle.
6. SHIPPING VS FLYING
Ok, the great debate! Generally speaking, though, the major domestic airlines charge about $50 roundtrip for one piece of checked luggage that weighs up to 50 pounds, about $70 roundtrip for a second piece of checked luggage that weighs up to 50 pounds, and more for bags that exceed 50 pounds or are oversized. So do the math. Say you’ve got 50 pounds’ worth of gifts. The cost to take them with you on the plane might be an extra $50 to $70. Shipping them ahead via FedEx Ground for 5-day delivery might also cost about $70 (depending on how far you’re sending them)…and could save you a sore back and hours spent waiting in an airport check-in line. In most cases it will probably be smarter to avoid checking luggage and ship gifts, as long as you can ship by December 17 and thus avoid the high cost of shipping by air. FedEx Ground includes insurance and tracking, and you can purchase extra insurance, too. Let me put it this way: In most cases you’re better off if FedEx loses something of yours than if an airline does.