The Definitive Guide to Traveling With Presents
Credit: Roland Weihrauch/AFP/Getty Images

Flying home for the holidays already presents its own difficulties: navigating long TSA lines, avoiding traffic at the airport, and making sure you have some great noise-canceling headphones.

This year, however, arriving to your destination with crumpled packages and squashed gift wrap need not be one of those concerns. Here are the best ways to keep your presents looking just as beautiful as when they were first wrapped.

1. Know the TSA rules on wrapped presents.

While the TSA does not prohibit passengers from carrying on wrapped presents, if a gift triggers an alarm, an agent will have to unwrap the gift to open it.

"We don't enjoy unwrapping presents that aren't for us, but if an anomaly is detected inside, we'll have to unwrap it in order to determine what it is so we can clear it for travel," wrote the TSA on their blog.

2. Know which presents won't fly.

Certain gifts should just be put on your no-fly list. While wine, scotch, or liqueur make lovely gifts for friends and family members, they are banned from carry-ons—and extremely difficult to put in a checked bag without risking ruining all of your winter whites with a deep burgundy.

Also beware of taking any meat, cheese, or fresh produce with you if you are traveling outside of the country, as these items are often heavily regulated or banned altogether.

Game consoles and other large electronics are permitted, as long as they are put in their own separate bin, according to TSA. Toy weapons must be put in checked baggage, however.

3. Pack your gift wrap.

For gift-givers who already have their favorite wrapping paper picked out, the easiest way to transport it is still sealed in a checked bag so it won't get crumpled. To prevent tissue paper from crinkling, carry it in a hard-shell box.

Better yet? Buy wrapping supplies upon arrival. At a local drugstore or Target, you can find all they need to wrap their gifts for under $10.

4. Or send gifts ahead of time.

Planners can avoid the whole gift-traveling headache by shipping their gifts ahead of time. Make sure to leave extra time for delivery given the busy season.

Many online retailers, including Amazon, offer gift-wrapping services for a small fee. So check the box for gift-wrapping, and check your worries at the gate.