Top Ten Things Not To Bring On A Plane In Your Carry On Luggage

Top Ten Things Not To Bring On A Plane In Carry On Luggage

“Don’t let your luggage define your travels, each life unravels differently.” unknown

1. box cutters – ok I get this one.

2. Snow globes larger than a tennis ball. I think that they mean the large intricate ones that you buy in Christmas markets in Austria, Germany or Eastern Europe. I’m guessing it has more than 3 and half ounces of liquid. How do the TSA agents  feel taking Santa on a sleigh in the snow away from a kid in the airport at Christmas? I love snow globes.

3. Anything that looks like or can be used as a weapon – toy guns, baseball bats, hockey and lacrosse sticks ski poles, sabers, swords, knives of any kind and scissors that are not for nails.

4. Liquids over 3.4 oz. This limits my food shopping when I travel and my impulse food buys in the airport gift shops. This includes interesting sauces, weird nut butters, dips and spreads, jams, jellies, preserves, wine, liquors, salad dressings, olive oils, vinegars – things I am not comfortable with in my checked luggage. The TSA rule of thumb to remember is “If you can spill it, spread it, smear it, squeeze it, spray it, pump it, or pour it,” then travelers should check it. Why does the TSA being cute annoy me?

5.Guns, gun powder, bullets, explosive devices, spare parts of guns and fire arms, grenades, flares, gunlighters and ammunition. So where can you actually have this stuff? I would like to avoid those areas.

6.Tools over seven inches. This includes hatchets, axes and saws. I like this one. I often see people on planes who look crazy.

7.Anything flammable. I’m good with that. I have bad fire karma. My house burned down twice as a kid. The second time it was hit by lightning. This is probably not a good time to tell that story.

8.Illegal controlled substances. Does that mean drugs? Watch a few episodes of Locked Up Abroad (they are almost always picked up in the airport)  and you probably won’t want to be carrying that with you. These are not Martha Stewart prisons.

9.Disabling chemicals – bleach, fire extinguishers, chlorine, spray paint, tear gas, recreational oxygen (what is fun oxygen?) How did they make up this list? Did someone think of things that could be dangerous? Was it a committee? Are these things that were confiscated? I have to say I would also be suspicious of someone with a fire extinguisher, spray paint and tear gas in their carry on.

10. Anything they feel like taking. I’ve lost many lip glosses, lipsticks, tweezers, batteries and sewing kits. Sometimes I feel protected and other times I feel they are saving the world one confiscated item at a time.

Fly safe,


Locked Up Abroad

Locked Up Abroad

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”3RRKN5MDAMWC

Rita Mae Brown

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching “Locked up Abroad.”  It airs on the National Geographic channel –a channel that usually has shows that promote travel, not paranoia. There are always  marathons or at least back to back episodes.   They are true stories of people who have been put into a prison in a foreign country.  Most of the time they are smuggling drugs.  You can smuggle drugs from many different countries.

The stories are narrated by the actual people. It is followed by a reenactment of their story  played by actors.  Once in a while they play themselves. Sometimes they  are real actors, who have made bad life choices.

There is always that moment  in the show when they are walking through the airport with pounds of cocaine strapped to their waist or hidden in their suitcase. Sometimes they make that one wrong phone call. I get a pit in my stomach and start saying “No, don’t do it, don’t do it. “  But they always do.

We go with them to prison and we get to see what life is like in the different prisons of the world. We  experience the legal system in third world countries. I always feel sorry for  them –  even though what they did was wrong.

The worst stories are when it isn’t drugs. I can deal with the smugglers but  it is hard watching the hostages and kidnapped victims.  If you have the travel bug, these episodes can knock it out of you – immediately.    The UN Peacekeepers come under fire in Sierra Leone from the brutal rebels.(that was a really difficult one to watch) .  An Australian girl is in the wrong place at the wrong time. She   is wrongfully accused of something and ends up in prison where no one speaks English for twenty years. Backpackers are hiking through the Darien rainforest between Panama and Colombia and get caught by guerillas.

There is the Hasidic King of Coke who ends up in a Brazilian prison, (you can’t make this stuff up), the smuggler who gets mistaken for a terrorist in El Salvador and the American girl in prison in Bangladesh  for drug smuggling with no hope of parole. Life in a Nepalese prison is detailed by a professional magician who got caught trying to smuggle hashish out of the country. There are people  smuggling heroin in Russia, who end up in in a Gulag in the seventies. A woman is set up by the drug cartels and goes to prison in Columbia. The life inside Venezuela’s notorious Los Teques Prison is told by an Irish man who was arrested at the Caracas airport for trying to smuggle cocaine back to Dublin.

I have learned many important  facts about traveling from this show. . Never buy illegal drugs in Mexico using fake money.  Don’t smuggle alcohol into Saudi Arabia. Don’t talk to any missionaries on the plane to Manila.  If someone asks you to bring gold into Argentina, they really mean cocaine.  Don’t travel to Pakistan and the Silk Road with your estranged father if he happens to be a drug smuggler. If your friend surprises you with an all expense paid vacation to Peru and has an extra suitcase when you get to the airport, run away.  It seems that there are women who are  willing to take incredible risks for a free vacation.

Fly Safe,