Traveling with Holiday Gifts: What to Know

Whether  bringing presents to friends or relatives or visiting Christmas Markets in Europe for holiday gifts,  it’s important to know customs and security regulations, advises the US Travel Insurance Association.  


Below are some guidelines from TRIP, UStiA’s consumer resource center.  


Domestic Travel And Departing The U.S. by Plane

  • Don’t wrap gifts, as they may be subject to inspection and unwrapping, whether in your checked luggage or your carry-on bag.  Instead, consider packing gift paper, and wrapping at your destination.
  • Items such as liquids, snow globes, and sporting equipment, are subject to TSA restrictions.  The TSA website now features an item-specific search function where travelers can find out if a specific gift is allowed in either checked or carry-on baggage.


Re-entering the U.S From Abroad

  • Baked goods, condiments, honey and coffee are generally admitted into the U.S., while meat, produce and plants are not allowed.  Also avoid bringing rice into the U.S., as it may harbor insects.  
  • Handcrafted wreaths made of straw and hay are prohibited, because they can harbor insects or diseases.  However,  according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, if the wreath is made of palm fronds it could be allowed in, following inspection for mites or other insects. 
  • Items considered archeological or an antiquity may be prohibited.  Additionally, removing them from the country of origin could be a criminal offense.  Be sure to buy from authorized sources and obtain and carry documentation such as receipts or export permits for any antiquities or art purchased abroad.  Also check export regulations at your destination.  For applicable country-specific information, consult the U.S. State Department web sit.


Lost, Stolen or Damaged Items


Travel insurance can help reimburse for items in your baggage or on your person that are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip.  Some credit cards may also offer protection, providing your purchase was charged to the particular card.


 About UStiA

UStiA promotes fairness, integrity, and a commitment to excellence in the travel insurance industry. With a mission to educate the public on travel insurance while maintaining high industry standards, UStiA is a non-profit association of insurance carriers and allied businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and assistance.


For more information, consumer advice on how to shop for travel insurance, and a listing of UStiA member companies, visit the UStiA website,


UStiA also sponsors (Travel Responsibly, Informed, and Protected), a consumer advocacy web site with helpful information including timely tips on travel, health, safety, and security.

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