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6 TSA-Banned Items You're Forgetting to Take Out of Your Bag

Don't accidentally let these prohibited things stay in your luggage.

Preparing for any trip can be stressful. But once you finally get your bags packed and you're at the airport, when it seems like the only thing standing between you and your destination is a plane ride, you still have to face the security line. Did you remember to take your shoes off? Did you make sure to put your laptop in a separate tray? What seems to slow down travelers most, however, are the TSA-banned items they forget to take out of their bags.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a long list of things you can't take with you through the security checkpoint, and these prohibited items trigger alarms that may require additional screening. When that happens, you're not only putting yourself and other travelers at risk of missing flights, but you could also be fined or even arrested for leaving certain things in your luggage.

To prevent any potential problems, we talked to travel experts to find out what people frequently end up getting stopped for at security. Read on to discover six TSA-banned items you're forgetting are in your bag.

RELATED: TSA Issues New Reminder About What You Can't Take Through Airport Security.


Close up of the removal of a cork from a wine bottle. The opener is the type which lifts the cork in two stages.

Whether you're planning on popping open a bottle of wine in your hotel room or you're bringing home a gift you bought for a loved one while on vacation, make sure you're not trying to bring a corkscrew on the plane.

"Don't pack a corkscrew in your carry-on luggage," Cheryl Nelson, a travel preparedness expert and founder of Prepare with Cher, warns.

Many corkscrews come with a small blade, which make them prohibited by TSA, according to Nelson. They can only be transported through your checked luggage, and they still need to "be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors," the agency confirms on its website. (Corkscrews without a blade are permitted in both your checked and carry-on luggage, however.)

Vanessa Gordon, CEO of the travel and food-based digital publication East End Taste Magazine, tells Best Life that she has often forgotten to take this banned item out of her bag.

"I have been stopped at TSA at least three times in the past two years with a corkscrew," she admits. "I find that when I am traveling anywhere in the world, I always like to enjoy a bottle of local wine in each region or destination that I am in. Oftentimes, I am either given a corkscrew when I purchase a bottle of wine or there is one in my hotel room when I am given a bottle of wine as a welcome gift."

RELATED: TSA Announces It Will Flag Certain Passengers for Extra Screening.

Pepper spray

Pepper spray

Many people also get tripped up by pepper spray at the airport, because they keep it on their keychain.

"It's so easy to forget to remove it prior to leaving the house," Nelson says. "But pepper spray is not allowed in carry-on luggage and will be confiscated."

There are even restrictions when it comes to taking it in your non-carry-on luggage, according to the TSA website. You are allowed to have one 4 fl. oz. container of mace or pepper spray in your checked bag, provided it's "equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge," the agency states. "Self-defense sprays containing more than 2 percent by mass of tear gas (CS or CN) are prohibited in checked baggage."

RELATED: 7 Tips From TSA to Make the Security Line Smooth and Easy.

Hiking poles

Nordic Walking in Autumn mountains

If you're taking an adventure-based trip or just planning to get some exercise while on vacation, pay attention to what you're packing. People often forget that they're prohibited from bringing things like hiking poles through airport security, Marcus Clarke, a travel expert working with Actual Travel Guide, says.

"These can be seen as potential weapons and therefore are not allowed in carry-on bags," he explains. "Always check them with your luggage if you're planning a hike at your destination."

Snow globes

glass ball, snow globe with reindeer, Christmas decoration, warm Christmas mood

Snow globes can make for the perfect holiday souvenir. But you better make sure you have room in your checked suitcase to take yours home, because travelers are banned from bringing most snow globes in their carry-on.

"They often contain more liquid than allowed, and the materials inside can obstruct clear images on the x-ray machine," Jens Johansson, a travel expert with over 10 years in the industry and founder of Airport Information, notes.

If your snow globe appears to contain less than 3.4 ounces of liquid, you're only allowed to pack it in your carry-on bag if the entire thing—including the base—can fit inside your allotted liquids bag, according to the TSA website.

"Each passenger can only bring one quart-sized bag with 3.4 oz or smaller containers," the agency reminds travelers. "Larger snow globes must be packed in checked baggage."

RELATED: 10 Airport Security Secrets TSA Doesn't Want You to Know.


Female model is holding scissors during photo shoot in photo studio.

Scissors stay inside many travelers' bags—especially parents who use them for "grooming or taking care of their children," according to James Brockbank, a travel expert and founder of The Family Vacation Guide.

But unless it's under a specific size, this type of sharp object is also "considered dangerous and banned to maintain aboard security," Brockbank warns.

Smaller scissors may be permitted through security, according to the TSA website. "If packed in carry-on, they must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point," the agency states.

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Bottled water

Several drinking water bottles on white background. Eco concept. Copy space for your text.

At this point, almost all travelers know that they're banned from bringing bottled water through the TSA line. Despite this, it's one of the things people commonly get caught with at security, according to Nelson.

"Plain and simple, it's easy to forget this one," she says. "But TSA always catches the water bottles."

As Nelson explains, water bottles are bound by the 3-1-1 rule just like any other liquid. But you can take them in your bag if there's no liquid left inside, according to the TSA website.

"Many airports now have bins where you can empty liquids at TSA, so this is a good reminder," Nelson notes.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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