Rock and mineral collecting remains popular worldwide, with nearly endless samples for people to collect. However, while rocks might be the perfect addition to your collection, many collectors have wondered whether they’re legally allowed to bring rocks on a plane.
According to TSA guidelines, rocks, stones, and crystals can be brought onto airplanes in checked suitcases or carry-on bags. Rocks should be cleaned before they are packed into bags. Rocks larger than your first or those with sharp edges should be packed into checked bags.
Are Rocks Allowed On Airplanes?
According to TSA (Transportation Security Administration) guidelines, airplane passengers are allowed to bring rocks and minerals onto planes. However, while rocks are permitted in both carry-on and checked bags, the final decision comes down to the TSA officer on duty at the airport.
For instance, rocks with sharp edges that look like a security risk will be confiscated by a TSA officer at checkpoints. If you’re unsure whether your rock is allowed on the plane, snap a photo of it and send it to the official AskTSA account on Twitter or Facebook Messenger.
Although you’re allowed to take rocks on an airplane, you’ll need to use your discretion in choosing which rocks are suitable to be taken. You’ll also need to decide whether to pack the rocks in your checked luggage or carry-on bag.
Are Crystals And Stones Allowed On Airplanes?
As explained above, TSA guidelines allow you to bring rocks and minerals onto planes. If you’re wondering whether crystals and stones are also allowed under these guidelines, you’ll be relieved to know you can pack your stones and crystals into your carry-on or checked luggage with your rocks.
Like rocks, stones and crystals are allowed on domestic and international flights. The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, EU, and Australia have no restrictions that prevent people from taking rocks, stones, and crystals on airplanes in their luggage.
Due to their smaller size, stones and crystals will be easier to pack into your carry-on and checked luggage than rocks. Furthermore, crystals and stones are less likely to interfere with the weight and size restrictions of checked and carry-on bags.
Can You Take Rocks On A Plane In Checked Luggage?
While people are allowed to take rocks on airplanes, passengers must use their discretion when choosing to take rocks in their checked luggage or carry-on bag. Before packing rocks into your bags, you should closely assess the shape and size of the rock, stone, or crystal.
First, let’s discuss the shape of the rocks, stones, and crystals you pack. Any rocks with sharp edges should be packed into your checked luggage. At airport checkpoints, TSA officials may confiscate rocks, stones, and crystals with sharp edges to the potential security threat they pose.
However, the size of the rocks, stones, and crystals you take is also important. If the rock you want to fly with is larger than your fist, you should pack it into your checked luggage. By packing any larger rocks and minerals into your checked suitcase, you can avoid confiscation.
Can You Take Rocks On A Plane In Carry-On Luggage?
According to TSA guidelines, rocks and minerals are allowed in your carry-on luggage when flying. Only rocks smaller than your first and those without sharp edges should be packed into carry-on bags. Ultimately, this will ensure your rocks are not flagged at checkpoints and do not interfere with weight restrictions.
While all your bags will eventually be checked at customs when you land, TSA officers will check your carry-on luggage at official checkpoints. Your rocks should be easily accessible so that they may be inspected at this checkpoint.
Will Rocks Make My Checked Or Carry-On Luggage Too Heavy?
Regardless of whether you’re flying domestically or internationally, airlines have strict regulations regarding the weight and dimensions of carry-on bags and checked luggage. When packing rocks into your carry-on or checked bags, you need to ensure you adhere to these regulations.
Generally, checked luggage may not exceed 50 pounds. Checked luggage may not be larger than 27” L x 21” W x 14” H. Your rock will need to fit into these dimensions. Generally, carry-on bags may not be larger than 22” L x 14 “ W x 8” H.
Unfortunately, larger rocks will be heavier and could interfere with weight allowances for different airlines. To avoid fees for overweight baggage, you should ensure your checked luggage meets your airline’s regulations regarding weight and size.
Must I Clean My Rocks Before Packing Them Into My Bags?
While the shape and size of rocks are crucial factors when bringing rocks on planes, the cleanliness of your rocks is just as important. This is a particularly important factor to consider if you’re traveling back into the United States from a foreign country.
When flying with rocks and minerals, you should clean them thoroughly before packing them into your bags. This is especially important for rocks collected by yourself. If you purchased a rock from a gift shop, chances are it was cleaned before you bought it.
By cleaning the rock beforehand, you can ensure any foreign microbes or seeds the rock is carrying are removed. This is important since many foreign microbes and seeds that are contained in soil, dirt, and clay are not legally allowed in the US without a specialized permit.
How To Pack Rocks, Stones, And Crystals Into Your Luggage?
While TSA guidelines permit passengers to bring rocks in their checked and carry-on luggage, there are two important considerations to remember when packing rocks, stones, and crystals into your luggage. These factors are the secure packing and accessibility of the rocks you pack into your bags.
When improperly packed into checked or carry-on luggage, rocks can damage other items packed into your bags. For instance, your checked luggage has a higher risk of being mishandled, which could result in the sharp edges of rocks, stones, or crystals scratching or damaging your belongings.
In addition to ensuring rocks are securely packed in your checked or carry-on bags, you need to ensure your rocks are easily accessible. You’ll also need to remember where you packed the rocks! Ultimately, any rocks packed into your bags need to be accessible for TSA checkpoints and customs.
Can You Bring Rocks Through Customs?
While there are no laws that prevent you from taking rocks on airplanes, you will need to declare rocks at customs upon landing. At customs, sharp rocks that appear dangerous may be confiscated. Uncleaned rocks with soil on them may also be confiscated due to microbes and seeds therein.
If you purchased the rock from a gift store, you should present the receipt for your rock at customs. This receipt or paperwork will contain helpful information regarding the composition of the rock and where it is from.
However, if you collected the rock by yourself, you should be prepared to answer some questions about your rock at customs. Ultimately, customs officers will ask you where you collected the rock to ensure you are allowed to bring the rock back into the country.