Christmas Packing Dos and Don'ts

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 dos and don’ts to see you on your merry way through Europe’s airport security this Christmas.


Be careful when carrying valuables


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). 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

Christmas Crackers

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

Security staff won't thank you for this

Don’t spend hours intricately wrapping gifts to carry in your hand luggage. Wrapped gifts may be opened, 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!