Tips for traveling with gifts

Getting your gifts through airport security

Flying this week?

Stay safe, stay sane, and pay attention to the gifts you put in your carry-on bags.

TSA officers may ask you to unwrap a package if they need to get a look at what’s inside. That can be slow you down, of course, but it could also spoil a holiday surprise if the gift you’ve carefully wrapped is for one of your traveling companions.

One suggestion – offered in the TSA Travel Talk below – is to pack presents in gift bags so that checkpoint staff can look at the contents without ruining a great wrapping job.

But Alton DuLaney, who happens to be both a world-famous gift wrap artist and Houston Airports’ public art curator, isn’t a fan of gift bags.

“I feel like gift bags are a little lazy when you’ve gone to all the trouble to find the perfect gift for someone,” he told us in a pre-holiday interview. He offered a few more creative, TSA-friendly, wrapping alternatives.

One idea is to use a box with a lid and wrap the bottom of the box and the lid of the box separately.

“That way you can open the box to show TSA what’s inside. And when you get to where you going just tie on a ribbon and you’re ready to give the gift,” said DuLaney.

Another option is to put gifts in decorated tins or containers that can be easily opened and reclosed at the security checkpoint.

“You can also wrap gifts in clear colored or printed cellophane. And that way TSA can still see what’s inside as well.”

On Monday, December 20 from 9 am to 3 pm, both Hobby Airport (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston will be hosting free gift-wrapping stations. DuLaney will be at Hobby Airport but says he’s carefully trained the teams that will be staffing the tables at both airports.

Many other airports around the country will be offering free gift wrap stations during this busy travel week as well. Some will be collecting donations for local charities, so tip generously and take the opportunity to do some last-minute shopping at your airport. Those stores could really use your business this year.

Thanks for visiting Stuck at the Airport. Subscribe to get daily travel tidbits. And follow me on Twitter at @hbaskas and Instagram.

 

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