Holiday Travel: Tips For Packing Christmas Gifts
It doesn't matter if you're flying down the freeway or flying through the air: holiday travel can be a major nuisance, especially if you're packing precious Christmas gifts. It's never fun to get hit with unexpected fees at airport check-in, or pop the trunk at the rest stop three states east to find out your professional gift wrapping job has been torn to pieces by that overenthusiastic left turn. Maybe you're going to be heading home for the holidays for the first time, or haven't had the pleasure of experiencing crowded airports during the Christmas rush. Whatever you're planning, learn how to get your gifts from point A to point B with these holiday packing tips.
It's hard enough getting through security at the airport without a handful of Christmas gift bags lining the conveyor belt. The first thing you should keep in mind is that any gifts you wrap up in advance have the potential to be unwrapped during the security inspection. It's better to wrap gifts at your destination, if possible. An easy solution is to line one of your checked bags with a gift bag set, particularly a set with different sized bags to fit the variety of presents you plan on bringing. If you're committed to bringing your gifts with you, check in advance what items you should pack in your checked luggage to avoid running into security issues with carry-ons.
When To Ship Ahead
Although it probably seems more convenient to carry all your presents through the checkpoints at the airport, having your presents on hand at the end of your journey could wind up costing a lot more than shipping the gifts ahead of time. If you calculate the cost of shipping your gifts, it might surprise you how much you could save, depending on how many bags you're allowed to check and the weight limits for the airline you're using. If you plan to ship ahead, it's important to do so in advance to avoid shipping fees. As long as you're planning ahead, it might be a good idea to shop for smaller gifts and stocking stuffers instead. You can always ship bigger gifts, but the smaller gifts you can easily pack, wrapped and ready in your checked luggage.
Keep Calm & Carry-On
Thinking small will allow you to fit most of your gifts in your ordinary luggage, but you still need to keep in mind the big difference between what you can pack in checked luggage and what the airline will allow you to carry on the plane. You might be surprised at what are considered to be prohibited carry-on items. A thorough review of the TSA list can save you some big headaches in the screening process. You'll want to carry on expensive items to keep them close to you and limit the chance that they'll be lost with your luggage, but most of the homemade food you can bring is restricted altogether, limited to small quantities or required to be put in checked bags.
Road Trip Ready
Packing your gifts in the trunk is a lot simpler than lugging everything through the airport. If it's possible to drive to your destination, make sure you pack your cargo safely and securely to help ensure everything gets there in one piece. Your gifts are likely to shift during the drive. Even the smallest shifts can tear your wrapping paper or nip at your gift bags. Separate gifts from the rest of your luggage, as well as the sharp or high friction areas around your cargo space, by storing everything in a larger box. Old moving boxes or large utility totes create a nice barrier between car and gifts, allowing you to wrap everything beforehand so you won't have to worry about it when you reach your destination. Whether you're shipping gifts ahead of you or hauling them onto a plane, transporting presents takes preparation.