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You've picked a proposal location—now how do you get the ring there without ruining the surprise? 

April 19, 2016

There are all kinds of reasons to propose while you're on a trip—perhaps it’s a place that has sentimental meaning for you and your significant other, or it’s when he or she will least expect it. Or maybe you just want a spectacular backdrop for the big moment. Regardless, additional complications come up when you’re surreptitiously traveling with a ring—what happens if TSA rifles through your baggage? Or if you set off a metal detector? Where in the hotel room do you hide an engagement ring? We lay out the logistics of traveling with a ring—so you can focus on the rest of the proposal.

How do I pack my ring?

Keep it in the box for maximum cushioning. If you’re still worried about it banging around, tuck the box inside a sock and stuff it in a dress shoe—just don’t forget which sock it’s in!

As with all valuables, do not put the ring in a checked bag. Instead, opt for a carry-on, ideally a smaller one such as a backpack that won't be at risk for being checked at the gate.

How do I get my ring through airport security?

Keep it in your carry-on, especially as you go through security, since you’re more likely to set off the metal detector if the ring is in your pocket. Follow every other TSA rule to a tee (liquids and laptop out of your bag, no forgotten fruits or water bottles in your carry-on) to avoid additional complications. 

What if I get randomly picked and TSA still wants to go through my luggage?

Some crafty travelers suggest putting a note around the box that states there is an engagement ring inside, so that the agent will be more discreet while searching your bags. And rest assured—according to a TSA spokesperson, they have never had to confiscate a ring. 

Do I need to declare the ring at customs?

If you purchased the ring in the U.S. and plan on bringing it abroad and back with modifications, there is no need to declare the ring as it is considered a personal good. However, if you are worried about being questioned, it may be a good idea to register the ring before you go abroad. Customs and Border Protection also suggests taking a photo of yourself with the ring before you travel, to prove it was not acquired abroad.

Where should I store the ring?

This is the one time when we don’t recommend storing the ring in the hotel room safe, if only because your significant other might look at you weirdly when you won’t share the code. Instead, sneak downstairs and ask the concierge if there’s a separate safe they can keep it in. When you need to retrieve the ring, pretend you’re planning ahead and getting directions for the day.

How do I make sure I don’t lose the ring during my travels?

If a ring box is too bulky while you’re on the road, there are quite a few ways to secure it safely on your body—wear it on a chain around your neck, safety pin it to the inside of your pants pocket, or keep it in a small case, such as a sunglasses case. Better yet, plan to propose soon after you arrive, such as dinner on the first night. It’ll alleviate the stress of carrying the ring around, and is sure to set a great tone for the rest of the trip.

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