Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling With Food
Last time I visited home, I had been away too long and missed my mother’s cooking. So she insisted on packing my bags full of home-made pork buns, sweet bread, chocolate chip cookies, and chicken noodle soup so I could bring them back east (I didn‘t have the heart to tell her that I now get my cookie fixes from Rocco’s).
Many people heading back after the holidays have to figure out how to schlep their home-made goodies and gifts all the way back while trying to deal with the complex security restrictions on food. For this reason, it’s no surprise that according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the number one question travelers have for the TSA Contact center is, “Can I take my pie with me on the plane?”
Unfortunately, anything with a gel-like texture, like Grandma’s fruit preservatives, wine, champagne, and containers of mashed potatoes, hummus, and soups, will be confiscated at the checkpoints. Baked goods such as cookies, cheesecakes, and pies will be able to make it through the checkpoints but not without extra security attention, and the TSA may crumble your cookies to make sure that they’re safe. Also, it is recommended that you put the food in a plastic one-ounce bag. Cake frosting is considered a gel, so if you are carrying cupcakes or perhaps a Buche de Noel on the plane, it will be sent through the x-ray belt and TSA employees may even slice the food for further examination.
Milk, juice, and baby formula over three ounces for traveling toddlers are allowed through security checkpoints. Mothers should notify one of the security officers at the checkpoints and be sure to present the bottle at the X-ray belt. The bottles will undergo additional inspection before clearing through the gates, but rest assured the tots will have their food.
The going rule on food at security checkpoints usually comes down to this: if your food or gift baskets have a liquid or gel texture, check it along with your luggage or have it sent to your final destination. As for my dear mother, I will have to convince her that it’s okay to send me a care package–the food will taste good even if it is cold.
Photo courtesy of Hickerphoto.com
My name: Song Yang
How I earn my keep: I work and play at Travelocity.
Travel ambitions: At the moment, I'm dreaming of whale-watching in New Zealand; hiking the mountains of the Douro Valley in Portugal and motorcycling through rice paddies in Laos.
Best meal I've ever had while traveling: An incredible discovery of pulled-pork tacos in La Paz. The surprisingly delectable treat came from a makeshift taco stand at 1 a.m. Splashing lime juice onto our greasy tacos with fresh pico de gallo, we ate amongst the locals to the sound of blaring mariachi music under Christmas lights. It was fabulous!
Great travel lesson learned: Giving money back to the community by supporting local businesses whenever possible.
Favorite place on Earth: My home: New York City. Can it be possible for another city to be as vibrant as New York? If so, email me.