If you’ve ever tried to pack for a trip, you know how frustrating it can be to try and fit everything into your suitcase, or worse, arriving at your destination only to find that everything is wrinkled and a mess. Enter packing cubes – these seemingly magical little tools that help keep your belongings organized while traveling. But the big question is—are packing cubes TSA approved?
Do you risk packing them and having them confiscated at the airport, or do you leave them behind and hope for the best?
Never fear, dear traveler! We’re here to help clear things up.
In this blog post, we are going to share everything we’ve learned about TSA’s stance on packing cubes in the hopes that it will make your next packing experience a bit less stressful.
Let’s get right in!
Table of Contents
The answer is yes! The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has no specific policy on packing cubes and does not have issues with travelers using packing cubes, as long as what is packed inside them follows all rules and regulations on what is allowed in carry-on bags as well as checked bags.
That said, there are some things you need to consider when using packing cubes, such as what items are inside them, if they are packed in a way that allows X-ray machines to see what’s inside, and if they follow the rules that apply to items acceptable in luggage – nothing sharp or dangerous that could potentially injure someone, 3-1-1 rule for liquids, etc. Following these guidelines will help make your packing experience smoother and faster at the airport.
Below is a detailed explanation of what you need to know about packing cubes and TSA regulations:
If you’re skeptical of packing cubes because you think that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will have a problem with them, don’t be.
Packing cubes are not one of the items prohibited by the TSA.
Below are reasons why the TSA is okay with travelers using packing cubes.
This is probably the number one reason why packing cubes are TSA-approved.
Just because packing cubes weren’t specifically mentioned on the list of TSA-approved items doesn’t mean that they’re not allowed.
Many travelers, including some forum members on flyertalk.com, Tripadvisor, Fodors.com, and Quora have shared their experiences on how they successfully went through checkpoint security at the airport, with their packing cubes in tow.
The main complaint that travelers have concerning TSA and packing cubes is the fear that their packing cubes may be searched by security officials and not be carefully repacked.
Other than that, you can totally travel with your packing cubes.
Packing cubes are made of fabric, so they can easily go through the x-ray machine screenings that all bags must go through before boarding a plane.
Since they are not electrical or explosive, packing cubes can go through the screening process at the airport.
And if packed properly, packing cubes can speed up the screening process by preventing items from shifting during X-ray screening.
The only time you might have to take your packing cubes out is if your bag needs to be physically inspected. However, this is rare and usually only happens if the x-ray machine detects something suspicious in your bag.
TSA officers are trained to identify packed items through X-ray screening machines.
However, if an item looks like it requires a closer inspection, they may open up your packing cubes (and associated bag) to take a better look.
In fact, using transparent packing cubes is encouraged because they make it easy for TSA agents to see the content of the bag during inspections. When your belongings are neat and easy to access, it makes the job of the TSA agents much easier—and helps them get you on your way faster.
Here’s a pro tip: To avoid having your packing cubes rummaged through, place them towards the top of your carry-on bag or checked luggage so they’re one of the first things TSA officers see when they screen your belongings.
And make sure that they’re not packed too tightly—TSA agents may need to open them during the screening process to get a better look.
This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous point.
When everything in your luggage is neatly packed with packing cubes, it makes going through security screenings a breeze.
The TSA agents will be able to see exactly what’s inside each cube, which means there’s no need for them to dig through your things or open up every single one of your bags.
This is especially helpful if you’re carrying a lot of items in your luggage.
Packing cubes can help limit the amount of time it takes for a TSA agent to inspect your bag, which is always appreciated!
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why packing cubes are perfectly fine to use when traveling. So go ahead and pack those cubes into your suitcase—the TSA won’t have a problem with it!
Packing cubes can be a great way to stay organized on a trip.
However, it’s important to be aware of any potential issues they might cause when going through airport security.
As long as you’re aware of these potential issues, you’ll be able to pack your cubes safely and avoid any problems at security checkpoints.
The 3-1-1 rule is a TSA regulation that states each passenger must limit liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item and place them in one clear, quart-size plastic zip-top bag.
If your packing cubes contain any of these items, it is important to make sure they comply with this rule or they could be denied by security screening.
Another reason why TSA may have a problem with your packing cubes is if they are difficult to open.
This is especially true if you’ve packed your cubes tightly and haven’t left much room for expansion.
If TSA needs to inspect your cube and can’t easily open it, they can use any tool to force it open, which may lead to damage.
To avoid this scenario, make sure you don’t pack your cubes too tightly and leave some extra room so that they can be easily opened if necessary.
Even though packing cubes aren’t very heavy, they still add a bit of weight to your luggage, and may even encourage overpacking.
This in turn can make your carry-on or checked luggage exceed the airline’s restriction on size and weight, which could lead to additional delays at the airport.
To avoid this, make sure your luggage meets the airline requirements before heading to the airport so that you don’t incur any costly fees or extra time spent at security screenings.
Related: Ultimate Guide to Checked Luggage
Related: Ultimate Guide to Carry-on Luggage
One of the main functions of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is to screen passengers and their belongings for potential threats before they board their flights. To do this, the TSA has several regulations in place regarding what passengers can bring on planes.
So, while packing cubes are allowed, certain guidelines must be followed for them not to cause any delays at security.
Here are a few tips for packing your cubes for a seamless screening process:
TSA has a whole list of prohibited items you are not allowed to include in your packing cubes for both your carry-on or checked luggage.
This includes items like lithium batteries, flammable materials, explosives, matches, pressure containers, poisons, infectious materials, magnetic materials, radioactive materials, illegal drugs, and more.
If TSA finds any hazardous items in your packing cubes or luggage that are considered unsafe, you may face fines or arrest.
You know the 3-1-1 rule, right?
It’s the rule that states that each passenger is allowed to bring 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) containers of liquids, gels, creams, pastes, and aerosols in a single clear quart-sized bag.
Well, the same rule applies to packing cubes.
You can pack toiletries and other liquids inside packing cubes in both your carry-on and checked luggage. Just make sure that all liquids, gels, creams, pastes, etc. are stored in containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.
These items must be placed in a single, clear quart-sized bag.
Don’t overload your packing cubes!
This will only make it difficult for security to screen and could cause them to lose or damage your belongings.
It is recommended that you leave room in each cube so that it can be expanded and searched during inspection if necessary.
Otherwise, TSA may be forced to use any measure to open your packing cube(s), which can lead to damage.
Be sure to remove all electronics from your packing cubes before sending them through the X-ray machine during the security screening process.
This includes laptops, tablets, handheld game consoles, e-readers, etc.
Labeling your checked luggage with your contact information is a great idea in case they are misplaced during screening.
However, you should also label your packing cubes in case they are lost or stolen. This will help ensure that you can be reunited with your belongings as quickly as possible.
During labeling, include your name, address, and phone number.
As long as you follow these guidelines and take a few simple precautions, you should have no problem using your packing cubes.
Are packing cubes worth it?
So now that we know TSA’s stance on whether travelers can use packing cubes or not, let’s answer another question: are they worth it? The answer is a resounding yes! These nifty little things can help you maximize space, stay organized, and make packing and unpacking a total breeze. So if you’re looking for an easy way to keep your items organized, wrinkle-free, and maximize space in your suitcase, then packing cubes are worth it.
What are the benefits of using packing cubes:
Here are the benefits of using packing cubes:
1. Packing cubes can help you maximize the space in your luggage
Packing cubes can help you maximize the space in your bag, which is ideal if you’re traveling carry-on only.
By using packing cubes, you can fit more into your suitcase because they help you compress your clothes. Compressing your clothes not only saves space but also prevents them from wrinkling as much as they would if they were just tossed into your suitcase.
Related: Is a Backpack a Carry-on?
2. Packing cubes also help you stay organized while you travel
No more rummaging through your suitcase trying to find that one item at the bottom! With packing cubes, everything has its place so unpacking is quick and easy.
You can even organize your clothes by outfit or even by activity.
For instance, if you’re going on a beach vacation and want to make sure all your swimwear is in one place, just put it all in a packing cube.
This way, when you arrive at your destination, you can just grab a cube (and its corresponding outfit) and head out for the day without having to rummage through your entire suitcase.
Another perk of packing cubes is that they make it easy to unpack and repack your suitcase when you’re on a long trip.
Instead of having to unpack everything when you arrive at your destination, you can just grab the items you need out of the packing cube and leave the rest packed up.
This comes in handy when you’re traveling between multiple destinations or if you’re taking a short trip and don’t want to hassle of unpacking and repacking your entire suitcase.
4. They save time
When everything has its place, it’s easy to pack up and hit the road without spending hours trying to find everything you need.
You’ll also be able to locate items easily.
That means more time for exploring on your trip!
5. Packing cubes help keep your clothes wrinkle-free
Packing cubes are an essential tool for anyone who wants to keep their clothes wrinkle-free while traveling.
By using packing cubes and keeping your clothes compartmentalized, you can prevent your clothes from shifting and sliding around in your luggage, which leads to wrinkles.
Just make sure to choose the right packing cubes and pack them correctly to prevent clothes from shifting and getting wrinkled.
Overstuffing the cubes can also cause wrinkles, so make sure not to pack them too tightly.
What are packing cubes?
Packing cubes are small, usually square or rectangular-shaped bags that help travelers keep their belongings organized while on the go. These nifty little things allow you to divide your belongings into smaller, more manageable sections so that you can better utilize the space in your luggage. They come in a variety of sizes so you can choose the ones that will work best for you.
You can use them to pack everything from underwear to electronics, and cosmetics.
Some sets of packing cubes even come with a designated “dirty laundry” cube to separate your dirty clothes from other items.
Does TSA inspect packing cubes?
When going through security at the airport, you usually don’t need to take your packing cubes out of your luggage. However, if a TSA officer suspects that there might be something suspicious or unacceptable inside, they may decide to inspect them.
To avoid this, make sure to pack your packing cubes in a way that doesn’t obstruct the images from the X-ray machine. Also, leave out any restricted items that TSA says you are not allowed to pack in your carry-on or checked luggage.
Note: Here’s TSA’s complete list of permitted and prohibited items to be on the safe side.
Can you take liquids or toiletries inside packing cubes?
Yes, you can pack toiletries and other liquids inside packing cubes in both your carry-on and checked luggage. However, if you’re bringing them in your bag, just be sure that it meets TSA’s 3-1-1 rule.
The rule states that passengers are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in a clear plastic bag – as long as each container doesn’t exceed 3.4 ounces (100 ml).
This means liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz. are not allowed in carry-on bags.
Do packing cubes really help save space when you travel?
In short, yes! Packing cubes are great for maximizing space because they allow you to compress your clothes. This means that you can fit more clothes in your suitcase, which is ideal if you’re trying to avoid checked baggage fees or if you’re simply trying to travel light.
How to use packing cubes effectively
So, does TSA allow packing cubes?
Packing cubes are a traveler’s best friend—they help save space, keep you organized, and make packing and unpacking a breeze. And best of all, they are allowed by TSA, so you don’t have to worry about getting stopped at security!
Just remember to follow the 3-1-1 rule for liquids, take out all electronics before going through security, and pack loosely so that TSA agents can open the cubes if necessary.
Related: Ultimate Guide to Carry-on Luggage
Related: Ultimate Guide to Checked Luggage
2 thoughts on “Are Packing Cubes TSA Approved? All You Need to Know About TSA’s Stance on Packing Cubes”
Hi Wole, Just come back from Spain last week, and probably the most frustrating part was RyanAir saying that I could carry my luggage onto the plane. There was no problem getting on the plane may I add (with WizzAir). Was some big woman really wound me up as I’m sure others on the plane were getting through with just as much as my sports bag? It was only 6 euros I think but thank god I had the money in my bank as if I would not have been able to fly home after waiting at the airport all night for my plane I really would not have been very happy at all.
So yes I like the look of these packing cubes. I think what I would do is just make sure I have all liquids and electronics out in separate bags to pack inside after I’ve been through customs. I think it is usually fine when I do this.
I mean I like to travel cheaply as possible so I like to carry on my luggage with me. Maybe I just should avoid RyanAir lol or maybe I should look at one of these.
Thanks for sharing
This is such a helpful article for people who travel a lot, and for me who travels every so often.
I will print this article off and share it with my family and friends so they can be helped when they go on their travels. Everybody packs cubes of some type and it’s important that we pack the right things in the right way.
Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.
All the best,