14 Things You Should Never Pack In Your Checked Bag

What you can and cannot bring in your carry-on bag when flying is plastered all around you in the airport and on the internet. But what about your checked bag? Can't you just put anything in there that you can't carry on with you? The answer is no. 

While certain things like hand grenades and dynamite may seem pretty obvious, there are plenty of not-so-obvious items that may lead to a travel disaster if packed in your checked bag, and no one wants that. Finding the best deal, taking your passport photo and getting to the airport are all stressful enough –  if you want to relax and just enjoy the ride once your vacation starts, never pack any of these items in your checked bag.


Once you hand your bag over to security, there is no telling what will happen to it. The bags get tossed around, and your jewelry may end up broken,  and tangled;  or worse yet, someone may open your luggage and steal it. Always put your jewelry in your carry-on bag, or just look super super-fly by wearing it all on travel day. Just kidding  — that would make the walk through security pretty complicated. But it's fun to think about.

Important documents

How do you expect to get through airport security and board your plane without your boarding pass and personal identification? Keep everything you may possibly need with you as you're traveling. If you must put documents in your checked bag, make sure they are copies, not originals.

Flammable Items

If you're traveling cross-country to show your family who's grill boss, you're going to have to pick up your gasoline, lighter fluid and cooking fuel at your destination. Flammable items are not only banned from carry-ons, but also a checked bag.

Cash and cards

In the event that your bag ends up lost or stolen, you don't want a complete stranger walking away with your hard-earned cash or popping into Louis Vuitton with your credit card. It's best to keep anything money money-related with you — just don't spend it all at the food court on things you should never eat on a plane


If there is a chance you may need it, don't pack it. What happens if your flight gets delayed and you need to take your medication, or give it to your child? There is no way for you to get it once you've passed through airport security. Bring a doctor's note or medical ID card to carry any oversized medications through security

Food and drink

Of course you want to take a little piece of Napa (or 10) home with you, but there is a chance that red wine is going to break and ruin everything in your bag. While you are allowed to pack alcohol with a few restrictions, that doesn't mean it's worth having to replace all of your clothes.

Irreplaceable items

If it's irreplaceable, do not check it. Baggage handlers have to move thousands of bags a day, and things can break. Just keep the Precious Moments figurine you got as a gift from the grandkids with you on your way back home. 


You went through all that effort to take cool film photos of Route 66, so why ruin them by running the film through an X-ray scan? While it's a little more complicated, you can carry your film with you through TSA and ask for a hand check at security. You'll be thankful when your film photos are the envy of all cellphone photo takers.

All of your clothes

This would be a pretty rookie mistake, but many times when travelers are in a rush they forget to leave some clothes in a carry carry-on in case of an unexpectedly  surprise long layover or a case of lost luggage. Or you also could do that weekend in Vegas with just the clothes on your back — not like it hasn't been done before.

House keys

Well that would just really stink if your keys were put in your checked bag and fell out somewhere high over Ohio, wouldn't it? You also don't want to risk your luggage (with your keys) being lost on your return. when youIt would be a shame to make it through the entire family trip just to have it all go to shambles it in the home stretch

Your only charger

While it's great that you remembered to pack your phone charger, it wouldn't be great if your phone died just as you went to bring up your boarding pass. Even if you're a get-to-the-airport-last-minute type of flier, the unexpected can always happen with flights. Just keep your charger with you, ; you'll be especially mad when you need to pay airport pricing for a 20-minute charge to capture your beautiful beach right off the plane.

Prohibited items

While hand grenades and fireworks may seem obvious to you as something banned by TSA in your checked bag, you may be surprised by things like certain curling irons and alcohols. Put the bear spray down and see the full list of items at TSA.gov.

Electronic cigarettes and vaping devices

While they may not have been included on banned lists of yesteryear, it's important to note that the FAA, much like Disney Parks, prohibits e-cigs and vaping devices in checked bags. Things like vaporizers and electronic nicotine systems need to be kept in carry-on baggage or on your person. 

Laptops, cameras and electronics

Much like some of your favorite jewelry, laptops, cameras, iPads and other electronics are incredibly valuable belongings. You don't want to risk them being broken or stolen, so just carry them with you – — or opt for an unplugged vacation and some extra "me time."