Carrying-on Luggage: 10 Things You Should Avoid

Carrying-on Luggage: 10 Things You Should Avoid

Packing your carry-on bag properly is very essential for a comfortable and stress-free travel experience. This bag is your lifeline during a flight. It contains all the items you need to survive and thrive during your journey. Traveling for business or pleasure, a well-packed carrying-on luggage can make all the difference. 

Load your carry-on bag strategically. And be assured that you have everything you need within easy reach. It will also help you in complying with airline regulations and avoid excess baggage fees. In this blog, I’ve made a comprehensive list of 10 things you should never pack in your carry-on bag.

Moreover, packing your carry-on bag efficiently can help you save time and be more organized. It allows you to focus on enjoying your flight and arriving at your destination refreshed and ready to go.

Overview of TSA Guidelines

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) responsibly secures the safety and security of air travel in the US. This administration has established strict guidelines for what items can be carried on flights. And these rules are made to prevent the use of certain items as weapons. 

Make sure to check these guidelines before you pack for your trip. It ensures that you are complying with all regulations and avoiding any potential issues at the security checkpoint. Follow these TSA rules for carry on and you can have a hassle-free travel experience. And also promote the safety and security of air travel.

1. Liquids and Gels

There are strict rules regarding liquids and gels that you can bring in your carry-on bag when flying. If they are more than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters). Then you cannot put them in your carry-on bag. They should be packed in your checked luggage instead.

Specifically, the following items are not allowed in your carry-on bag:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Creams 
  • Toothpaste
  • Hair gel
  • Styling paste
  • Deodorant
  • Contact lens solution
  • Eye drops
  • Hairspray

There are some exceptions to these rules, nonetheless. You can bring small quantities of liquids and gels in your carry-on bag if they are in travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces or less. They should be stored in a clear, plastic, quart-sized bag. 

Additionally, you can bring medically necessary liquids and gels like prescription medications and baby formula, in larger quantities than the 3.4-ounce limit. But you will need to declare them at the security checkpoint and may be subject to additional screening.

2. Sharp Objects


These objects are prohibited in carrying-on luggage for the safety of all passengers on the flight. You cannot bring any sharp object that can be used as a weapon.

Sharp objects not allowed in carry-on bags are:

  • Knives with blades longer than 2.36 inches (6 cm)
  • Box cutters
  • Ice picks
  • Razor blades
  • Scissors with blades longer than 4 inches (10 cm)
  • Swords and sabers

If you're unsure whether an item is allowed in your carry-on bag. It's best to check with your airline or the TSA website before you pack.

3. Firearms and Weapons

Firearms and weapons are strictly barred in carry-on bags on commercial flights. 

The following firearms and weapons are not allowed in carry-on bags:

  • Firearms
  • Ammunition
  • Gun powder
  • Rifles
  • Shell casings
  • BB guns
  • Starter pistols
  • Grenades
  • Explosive military items

However, enforcement officers and military personnel who are traveling for official business must follow specific guidelines. And obtain approval from the TSA before bringing any weapons or firearms on board.

In case you attempt to bring these items in your carrying-on luggage. Then, it can result in severe legal consequences.

4. Sporting Equipment

These can be challenging to pack for your flight. Some items are restricted in carry-on bags due to safety concerns. 

Some equipment for sports that you cannot carry are:

  • Baseball bats
  • Golf clubs
  • Bows and arrows
  • Cricket bats
  • Hockey sticks
  • Pool cues
  • Ski poles

Some airlines allow small fishing rods and tackle boxes to be carried on board, as long as they meet certain size requirements. A few of them allow small, collapsible bicycles to be on board if they are properly packed.

5. Tools and Hardware

They can be essential items for you, especially if you need to work or do repairs at your destination. Certain tools and hardware items that are not allowed are:

  • Crowbars
  • Drills and drill bits
  • Hammers
  • Saws
  • Wrenches and pliers
  • Screwdrivers longer than 7 inches
  • Torch lighters 
  • Gasoline and propane torches

Tools like screwdrivers and pliers may be allowed in carry-on bags in case they are shorter than 7 inches (18 cm). Some airlines may allow certain types of tools and hardware in carry-on bags like scissors and knitting needles.

6. Hazardous Materials

These substances can pose a significant risk to passengers on the flight. The items not allowed under this category are:

  • Fireworks
  • Flares
  • Compressed gasses like propane and butane
  • Gasoline
  • Lighter fluid
  • Pool chemicals
  • Matches and lighter
  • Medical isotopes
  • Car batteries
  • Drain cleaners
  • Pepper spray

In some cases, you may need to obtain special permits or packaging to transport hazardous materials. And they may need to be checked as luggage or shipped separately to your destination.

7. Food and Drinks

They are usually allowed in carry-on bags. But you should be aware of some restrictions. The following food and drinks are not allowed in carry-on bags:

  • Soda
  • Juices
  • Soups and sauces
  • Alcoholic beverages that are more than 140 proof
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Jelly and jam
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables that are not pre-cut or pre-packaged
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood that is not canned or in a vacuum-sealed package
  • Peanut butter 
  • Hummus

You can bring small quantities of these items in your carry-on bag if they are in TSA-approved travel-sized containers.

8. Illegal Substances

These substances are strictly prohibited in carry-on bags under any circumstances.

The items you cannot carry are:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Marijuana
  • Drug paraphernalia like pipes and bongs

If you are caught with illegal substances at the security checkpoint or during your flight. Then you can face criminal charges and be subject to fines. And airlines have the right to refuse service if you violate their policies regarding illegal substances.

9. Batteries and Power Banks

These items are essential for powering your electronic devices during your flight. But there are restrictions on what types of them are allowed.

The types of batteries and power banks that you cannot carry are:

  • Spare lithium batteries that are not installed in a device 
  • Lithium-ion batteries with a watt-hour rating of more than 100 Wh
  • Power banks with more than 100 Wh watt-hour

These guidelines may vary depending on the specific airline and destination. So, it is best to check your airline in order to comply with their regulations.

10. Fragile and Valuable Items

They are often susceptible to damage or loss during your air journey. There are no specific TSA guidelines on fragile or valuable items. But for a happy trip, avoid a few of these items.

  • Fragile items like glassware, ceramics
  • Artworks
  • Jewelry
  • Huge amount of cash
  • Cameras
  • Laptops

Instead, pack these items in your checked luggage or ship them separately. When packing these items, use proper packaging material like bubble wrap. It will provide adequate cushioning and protection. You can even purchase insurance or additional protection for your valuables

It's also important to label your luggage or package clearly with your name, address, and contact information. And give any special handling instructions for fragile or valuable items.