How to pack a suitcase for airline travel

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers a complete guide to which items passengers can pack in carry-on and checked luggage. These guidelines offer passengers step-by-step instructions on how to pack liquids, large items, and potentially dangerous items when preparing for a domestic or international flight. To minimize delays, pack luggage per the TSA’s directions.

  • STEP 1: Roll clothes and place in rows along the length of your suitcase. TSA officials can more quickly inspect the content of your suitcase if clothes are ordered in rows. This packing technique also offers an effective way to maximize space.  And it reduces wrinkles!
  • STEP 2: Pack liquids, gels and aerosols that exceed a total volume amount of 3.4 oz. in your checked luggage. This includes bottles of lotion, perfume and tubes of toothpaste. According to the TSA, medications, as well as liquids, gels and aerosols with a total volume amount of 3.4 oz. (or less) may be stored in a quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag and carried on board a plane. All liquids must be declared and inspected.
  • STEP 3: Pack footwear on top of other contents in your luggage. TSA officials may want to check your footwear, so keep these items on top for easy inspection.
  • STEP 4: Spread heavy items such as books around in your luggage instead of in piles in one location.
  • STEP 5: Pack prohibited items including tools, sports equipment and sharp objects in your checked luggage. The Transportation Security Authority restricts box cutters, scissors, knives (excluding plastic or butter knives) and other items from carry-on baggage. This rule is true for domestic or international travel.

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