Advice Travel Planning What to Pack

7 Things You Must Not Bring in Your Carry On to Have a Hassle-Free Travel

Airport security can be pretty strict about their set of rules and regulations. For safety and security of all travelers, these rules are intentionally made for passengers to follow. They important reminders to make all plane travel safer. So, if you don’t want to be the talk of the town for making a scene at the airport or inside the plane… just remember these seven items that you should not bring in your carry on baggage!

Liquids Over 3.4 ounces or 100ml

Travelers are permitted to bring one quart sized bag filled with liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in their carry ons…  it’s a universal rule that everyone is pretty much aware of. Any liquid that is more than 3.4 ounces or 100ml is not allowed in a carry on – only with a checked bag. Airports are straightforward about bringing liquids on the plane.

So if you’re a really heavy water drinker, you may just bring your container following the required size. If it’s still not enough yet, you can always purchase a bottle of water on the plane.

As for your toiletries like shampoo and conditioner, opt for the travel-sized bottle. Or you can just ditch them altogether since most hotels would probably provide you with these essential.

Sporting Equipment

If you really must bring your sporting equipment, check your items, put them inside your checked-in baggage or be sure they fit in a bin during security check. However, balls and smaller equipment are allowed (given that they fit inside a carry on-sized bag).

Self-Defense Items

If you feel the need to bring your self-defense items (like pepper spray) for your own peace of mind, it’s important to note that they are not allowed in your carry on luggage. ​​​​​​​Most major airlines will allow you to pack up to 4 oz of pepper spray in a checked bag only.

Offensive Shirts

Remember that you are visiting a foreign land. You should be respectful of other people’s feelings… especially if it is offensive. Your shirts are no exception! Shirts printed with offensive statements is highly discouraged. In fact, flight attendants have the right to ask you to change into something more appropriate according to your destination.

Flammable Items

This is a no brainer! Anything that can cause alarm inside the plane is strictly prohibited. Some examples are fireworks, bleach, paint thinner or anything that can cause a fire inside the plane.

Heating Pads

Heating pads can be helpful when enduring long-haul flights. But then again, heating pads have a gel inside which is technically liquid. So it’s not allowed inside the plane no matter how tempting it is to be cozied up with the warmth of this pad during your flight.


Even if this is your favorite thing to eat before boarding a flight, just don’t bring it inside the plane! You can always just eat it while waiting for your boarding time. 

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  • Brit November 22, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Hi, not to be *that* person, but this article had a lot of factual errors you may want to look at changing.

    You ARE allowed liquids and gels over 100ml on board. You just can’t bring them through security. You can buy all the water and soup you like once you clear security and yes, you can always bring it on the plane.

    As far as sports equipment goes, which sport are you talking about? Because there are NUMEROUS items allowed through security. It just must fit in a bin and through the x-ray machine.

    And as far as explosives being used as a self defense object? No, you absolutely cannot put explosives in your checked luggage. Ever. But you sure can bring a lighter in your pocket.

    A bit of fact checking before publishing would have been useful here. Going through airport security can be an anxious experience for even a seasoned traveler. As a go to source for travellers, you need to obviously be careful not to spread misinformation.

    Signed, an airport employee

    • Nastasia November 23, 2019 at 10:57 am

      Brit – THANK YOU for sending us this information. We’ve corrected the errors you’ve mentioned, and changed the title to “7 Things You Must Not Bring In Your Carry On…” to clarify some of the points Geraldine was making. As an airport employee, we could really benefit from your expertise in these sort of posts! Would you be interested in sharing your first hand knowledge/ biggest tips as an airport employee for the Dame Traveler community? I think all of us could really benefit from your knowledge!

  • Kristen November 24, 2019 at 9:14 am

    These are great reminders! It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of packing of packing for a new adventure and forget little things like these.

    May I add that it’s important to check for restricted items for the country you’re visiting? When I went to Europe 2 years ago, I went solo and wanted to protect myself, having never been there before and not n owing what to expect. I’d planned on taking a small can of pepper spray, but read somewhere (I believe it was a website linked from the US government website) that pepper spray/self defense sprays were banned in Ireland and England, with punishment being imprisonment and/or fines. Granted this was 2 years ago and the laws may have changed, but it could be important to know!

    For thirsty and thrifty travellers, I recommend bringing an empty water bottle to the airport. If they’re empty, they’re allowed through security checks, regardless of the size and you can refill them once you’re through security. You stay hydrated AND you don’t have to pay $5 for a bottle of water. I have seen collapsible ones if you’re needing to save space, but you could probably even use the wine bladders from boxed wines just as easily.

    Also, to build on Brit’s tips above, certain liquids for medical use are permitted in quantities larger than 100ml. I flew Air Canada for my flights to Europe and they allow large bottles of contact solution to be carried in a carry-on. They wanted to take it since it’s a large liquid, but I explained to them that it’s medically necessary for my contacts. My bottle had the plastic seal but wasn’t in the box, so all they did was swab the top of the bottle and run the swab through their scanner and they let me through. I don’t think this policy is the same for all airlines, so flyers will need to check with their airlines, but that little tip in the flight restrictions and allowances saved me the hastle of trying to find the specific brand I needed when I landed.

    • Nastasia November 24, 2019 at 10:45 am

      Great reminders! Thanks Kristen!

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