UStiA Offers Advice On Holiday Travel and Gifts

airport securityWhat gifts can your clients bring when traveling for the holidays by plane, and what are they allowed to carry back into the U.S. from abroad? Some guidelines to share with clients from TRIP, the consumer resource center sponsored by the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) include:   

 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 site. 

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.

UStiA is a non-profit association of insurance carriers and allied businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and assistance.   

UStiA notes that most travel insurance sales are commissionable to travel agents. 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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