30th November 2015

Christmas Packing: Airport Dos and Dont’s

As the annual winter exodus gets underway, airports everywhere are set to get extra busy this December. In the haste and fuss, bottles of whisky will be abandoned, perfumes will be surrendered and gift-wrapped goodies will be confiscated by security staff.  Every year it’s the same story – needlessly so. With this in mind, we’ve put together a handy list of packing do’s and don’ts to see you on your merry way through Europe’s airport security this Christmas.




Keep valuables where you can see them


Don’t pack that expensive watch, those limited edition Star Wars figures or an irreplaceable photograph of you and the love of your life in your checked-in luggage.  If these gifts are stolen, damaged or lost there won’t be much comeback.
Do  carry all valuables onto the plane in your smaller piece of hand luggage (the one that you can stash beneath the seat in front of you). Your larger carry-on isn’t a safe place, since you might be forced to check-in this piece of luggage if the overhead lockers are full. For peace of mind, the best way to ensure your precious gifts arrive securely is to carry them where you can keep an eye on them.

Absolute No-Nos


Leave anything that snaps, crackles or pops at home


Don’t bring toys that look like weapons in your hand luggage – these include toy guns, water pistols, slingshots, darts and sports bats.

Do wait until you get to your destination to buy party poppers, sparklers, fireworks or Christmas crackers.  These are considered explosive/flammable substances – and can’t be carried on board as they contain explosive/highly combustible substances which pose a risk to the health of passengers and crew and the security/safety of the aircraft property.

Wrapped Gifts


wrapping paper1

Security staff (as well as the people queuing behind) won’t thank you for this


Don’t pack wrapped gifts in your checked-in luggage. Wrapped gifts will be searched and screened by airport security staff.

Do take a gift bag that can be folded and packed flat or save your expert wrapping skills until you arrive at your destination.





Be scents-ible



Don’t pack liquids over 100ml in volume in your carry-on. Liquids include the following:

  • All drinks, including water, alcohol, soups, and syrups
  • Creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, lip gloss or lip balms, mascara etc.
  • Sprays and pressurized containers including shaving foam and spray deodorants
  • Pastes, including toothpastes
  • Gels, including hair and shower gel
  • Jams, preserves and chutneys
  • Water-filled Christmas decorations such as snow globes
  • There are two exceptions to these rules:
  • Baby food needed during the flight
  • Medicines needed during the flight


Do place liquid-based gifts (unwrapped) in your checked-in baggage. Approved liquids of any volume/amount are always allowed to be carried as checked-in luggage. Alternatively, if you’ve got the time, hold off on buying liquid gifts until you get to your destination or take advantage of the deals and offers in the Duty Free, airport shops or on board your flight. If you’re carrying liquids under 100mls,  ensure the following:

  • They’re brought to the airport contained within a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which itself must not exceed 1 litre in capacity (approximately 20cm x 20cm). The contents of the plastic bag must fit comfortably and the bag must be sealed.


Fragile Gifts


Get it there in one piece


Do wrap ceramic/fragile gifts inside bubble wrap and then inside a sweatshirt or other soft/chunky item of clothing and place it in the middle of your checked-in luggage so that it’s safely supported on all sides.

Don’t forget, Christmas is about giving AND receiving.  Pack a collapsible/fold-able shopping bag in your suitcase for stowing all those gifts you’ll take home on your return journey.


 Happy travels!


Are you planning a Christmas getaway? Got some tried and tested packing tips?  Leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

Fiona Hilliard

Fiona Hilliard

A love of new cultures is what drives Dublin travel writer Fiona Hilliard to explore the cities of Europe and beyond.


  • Sydney Thomas

    I want to take the Family Christmas Cake to France – it will be in a plastic bag inside a plastic biscuit box. Is this OK or how do you recommend it should be packed.

    9th December 2015 at 7:41 pm
    • Georgina

      I’ve just taken 9 mini Christmas cakes back to the UK from France in my hand luggage without any problems. Just keep your cake unwrapped so that it can be checked or scanned easily. Merry Christmas!

      15th December 2015 at 4:19 pm
      • Dee Murray
        Dee Murray

        Excellent tip Georgina! Let us know if you’ve any spare cakes going 😉

        15th December 2015 at 4:23 pm

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