Heating Pads (And Other Unexpected Items) That Can't Go In Your Carry-On

Going through airport security, especially in the U.S., can be a bit chaotic. Does TSA keep travelers safe? Yes. Does this fact make it any less annoying for travelers? Absolutely not. Having to take off shoes, jackets, and belts and unpacking your perfectly organized bag just to pull out your e-reader is pretty annoying and can even be stressful for first-time travelers. In fact, people dislike going through security so much that over 15 million travelers have enrolled in TSA Precheck to avoid the unsavory process.

Furthermore, with the nebulous rules around what's allowed in your carry-on and what's not, it feels like there's always a chance that you've brought a prohibited item with you. And sometimes you learn this the hard way, like when your jars of crunchy peanut butter you're bringing back home to Europe are confiscated because you didn't realize they qualified as a liquid. And while we're definitely not speaking from experience with that very specific example ... there are actually lots of other unexpected items that can't go in your carry-on. Want to know more? We have all the details below to keep your favorite condiments and personal items safe from the dreaded TSA disposal bin.

General items you can't take on the plane

Most of the time, we can count on our common sense to prevent us from making travel snafus like bringing prohibited items in our carry-ons. But sometimes, common sense isn't so common, though, not necessarily on the traveler's end but on airport security's.

First off, heating pads. If it's purely an electric heating pad, you're probably okay to bring it with you. However, if you bring a heating pad with gel inside, you may face some issues with airport security. That's because, while it's not explicitly a liquid, gel is still considered close enough to count. This means that along with gel heating pads, gel insoles are also prohibited.

If you need to bring tools with you — like a wrench or a drill — you can. However, you cannot bring a hammer. While this makes sense in some ways, the logic that a hammer can be used as a weapon and a wrench can't doesn't really track. As for things that just look like weapons but aren't actually weapons, airports also don't allow toy foam swords. Apparently, it looks too close to the real thing, so kiddos and adults alike are not permitted to bring them along.

Finally, while regular pots and pans are allowed, leave your cast iron at home or in your checked bags. This is because cast iron is a more robust metal compared to stainless steel or aluminum pans and could be used as a weapon.

Unexpectedly prohibited foods and liquids

Now we all know that liquids in large quantities are not permitted to bring through security, and you must follow the 3-1-1 rule. This is why you see those poor souls chugging their water just minutes before going through security or sadly handing over their expensive shampoo.

But it's not just liquidy liquidds, it's semi-liquids, too. What do we mean? Basically, you're not allowed to bring through semi-solid items like peanut butter, mayonnaise, jams, or jellies, at least not in large quantities. Your snack-sized peanut butter cups are safe. In the same vein, you also can't bring more than 3.4 ounces of creamy cheese or salsa with you. More and more, it's sounding like TSA just has a grudge against charcuterie!

Next, we all know not to bring our full-size fancy bottles of wine with us through security unless you want to make a really nice gift for a TSA agent's family member or friend. However, you should also be aware that you can't bring alcohol higher than 140 proof either on board or in your checked luggage.