What can I take on the plane in checked baggage? Do's and don'ts

Whether you're taking a much-needed vacation to France to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower or heading to Italy to sample an authentic pizza, no trip is complete without bringing home souvenirs!

But before you pack a loaf of Camembert from France or the finest prosciutto from Italy, consider that many European cheeses and charcuterie (as well as foods from other countries) are banned in the US -- even if they're in your checked baggage.

So what are you allowed to take on the plane in checked baggage?

We explain the rules for food, liquids and other travel items allowed by the TSA. You'll also learn what to consider when packing souvenirs in your checked baggage and common questions about prohibited items when flying.

Along with our expert guide to packing do's and don'ts, we present our favorite suitcases for your next adventure!

What can I pack in my checked baggage
From liquids and medicines to groceries and souvenirs, knowing what you can and can't pack in your checked baggage can help you avoid a time-consuming and costly dispute with a Transport Security Administration (TSA) official.

We've compiled a list of things that the TSA allows you to take with you in the United States, with notable exceptions.

1. Food
Fly to or within the United States The TSA allows a lot more groceries than you might think!

From rich chocolate truffles and live seafood to spicy cheeses and a variety of spices, here's a list of foods you can pack in your checked baggage and aren't allowed to take with you.

Pack it up:

shelled nuts
Dips, spreads and soups
Vacuum sealed meat
Canned Food
baby food
Just wrap it up (with exceptions):

Dried spices other than those from the citrus family
Cheese, with the exception of FDA-banned cheese
Store frozen meat and seafood, with ice or ice packs, in a clear, leak-proof plastic container
Eat it or leave it:

Vegetables and fruits growing from seeds
Smelly cheeses, such as mimolette, Camembert de Normandie, and Brie de Meaux
2. Liquids
Airports around the world have tightened regulations on liquids over the past two decades.

From bottled water to (surprisingly) alcohol, here are the liquids that can and cannot get through security.

Pack it up:

Bottled water
baby food
breast milk
Wrap it up (with exceptions):

Alcoholic beverages with more than 24% alcohol - but less than 70% - are limited to five liters per passenger.
Let it:

Alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcohol
Flammable liquids such as lighter fluid and liquid bleach
Pro tip: Pack your shampoo, conditioner, and other liquids in your checked baggage if they weigh more than 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces).

3. Electronic Devices
Packing electronics can be tricky as there are many restrictions on what you can and cannot take with you.

From curling irons to lithium batteries, here's a list of things you can and should pack to avoid fires on the plane.

Just wrap it up:

Electric shaver
extension cable
hair dryer
Navigation GPS
Laptop - put it in a separate compartment for X-ray control
Just wrap it up (with exceptions):

Hair straighteners, hair straighteners and curling irons with cord
Drone without batteries
Mobile phone battery charging box
Lithium batteries of 100 watt hours or less
Leave it:

Lithium batteries greater than 100 watt hours
Pro tip: Leave batteries larger than 100 watt hours at home and see the full list of prohibited electronic devices on the TSA's website.

4. Medical Aids and Medicines
Whether you are carrying medical supplies for a loved one or require medication during your trip, here is a list of medical supplies and medications that you can and cannot pack in your checked baggage.

Just wrap them up:

Blood Glucose Test Kit
sticks and crutches
contact lenses
solution for contact lenses
eye drop
Just wrap it up (with exceptions):

Medicines in pill, capsule or tablet form (maximum 90 pieces)
Liquid form drugs subject to additional security screening - a TSA officer will ask you to open the container
Pro tip: To ensure a smooth security check of your medication:

Bring a valid medical certificate or prescription written in English.
Pack your medication in its original packaging with the doctor's instructions printed on the bottle.
If you don't have the original container, ask your doctor to write a prescription or letter detailing your condition and why you're taking the medication.

What can I take on the plane in checked baggage Factors to consider
Before you stock up on a bunch of souvenirs and stuff your bag for the trip home, there are a few more factors to consider when packing.

1. Weight
Most major domestic airlines such as Delta, American Airlines, JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines have a 50 pound checked bag weight limit.

However, with airlines such as Allegiant Air and Frontier, the maximum weight limit for checked baggage is 40 pounds.

Pro tip: Use a travel scale to weigh your checked bags before heading to the airport to avoid excess baggage fees!

2. Goods Taxed
Before checking too much baggage, remember that certain goods require you to declare and pay duties (if applicable).

How to avoid surprises at customs control:

Declare your items with US Customs to prove ownership of certain items before leaving the US.
Take home duty-free souvenirs worth up to $800 without paying duties—that can include 100 cigars, 200 cigarettes, and a liter of alcohol.
Pro Tip: Bring home Caribbean or Canadian souvenirs. Check with US Customs to see if your items qualify for a reduced or duty-free rate.

3. Valuable Items
Believe it or not, the TSA received 30,621 lost-of-valuables claims from 2010 to 2014 -- for a total loss of $2.5 million.

To prevent your checked valuables from being stolen, you should keep your valuable items (such as your laptop or camera) in your carry-on so you can keep a close eye on them.

Pro tip: lock your checked bags with a TSA-approved lock for added security.


What happens if the TSA finds a prohibited item in my checked baggage
One of the most frequently asked questions on the TSA website is what happens if a prohibited item is found in your checked baggage.

From flight delays to hefty fines and, in some cases, encountering law enforcement, here is a list of possible scenarios when you bring a prohibited item to the airport:

Flammable liquids such as paint thinner and gasoline: $360 to $2,090 fine
Self-defense spray or tear gas: $360 to $2,090 fine
Unloaded firearms: $1,500 to $2,475 fine and referral
Replica explosives: $690 to $3,460 fine and citation
In addition to fines, your item will not be returned.

Rollink luggage you'll love for your checked items
From bumpy conveyor belt rides to rough baggage handling, our Rollink luggage is built to withstand the rigors of travel while ensuring your belongings are safe and secure.

Meet the Flex Vega - the Flex Vega is water, scratch and impact resistant, making it the perfect travel companion for any vacation!

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