The TSA gets asked about these 5 items the most

If you travel by plane then you know that the TSA has a whole list of dos and don'ts, of what to pack and what to leave at home. The rules can be confusing. I try to travel light and keep my packing list simple, but I still get tripped up by all the different rules.

In fact, the five items that travelers seem to ask the TSA over and over again are razors, batteries, makeup, shampoo, and deodorant.

Here is a summary of the rules governing how to transport those categories of items and links to more details.


"There's a lot of confusion out there as to what types of razors are OK to pack in your carry-on baggage," the TSA said in a blog post. "So people ask us about this one all the time."

This is the breakdown.

A safety razor is only OK in your carry-on bag as long as you pack the razor in your checked luggage.

A straight razor is a definite no-no in your carry-on so make sure to check it instead.

Disposable razors and disposable razor handles with cartridges are safe to put in your carryon.

And an electric razor is allowed in both checked and carry-on bags.


Electronic gadgets rule our lives, so this crucial category is a doozy because of all the different types. I tend to travel with batteries and power banks for my iPhone, camera, camera light, voice recorder, wireless headphones, GPS watch, and laptop, so I paid close attention to this section.

Dry cell alkaline and dry cell rechargeable NiMH or NiCad batteries, consumer-sized lithium batteries, larger lithium batteries (up to two), phone chargers, and power banks/chargers are all allowed in your carry-on.

However, loose lithium batteries of any size are not allowed in checked luggage and only smaller lithium cells installed in an electronic device can be packed in checked luggage.

Spillable wet batteries, such as a car battery (seriously?), are not allowed in either carry-on or checked bags. The exception to this is a battery powering either a wheelchair or a mobility scooter.


"For many, traveling with makeup is just as important as traveling with batteries," the TSA said. "You've just gotta have it." (The agency's words—not mine.)

Solid or powder makeup is allowed in your carry-on and checked bags in any size and quantity (that includes lipstick).

Liquid makeup—such as mascara, nail polish, concealer, foundation, lotion—must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less for your carry-on. You can pack larger sizes in checked bags.


"You've got to smell nice and keep your hair shiny, so it's not surprise that many people ask about shampoo and deodorant," the TSA cheerfully said.

OK, you get the picture: the TSA doesn't like liquids so the hair products you bring in your carry-on must be in containers that are no larger than 3.4 ounces. That applies to shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, hairspray, and hair texturizer. (I'm bald, so I don't have to worry about any of this.)


You can bring solid and powder deodorants in any size in carry-on bags. Liquid and aerosol deodorant (say it with me now) must be in 3.4-ounce containers (or smaller) for carry-ons.

"You can take as many travel-sized liquids as you can comfortably fit into one quart-sized, zip-top bag," the TSA said. "One liquids bag is allowed per passenger in carry-on bags."


To check the rules for other items, you can search the database here or look at the A–Z list here.

You can also tweet the TSA a picture of an item. Don't be shy—these are some of the things folks ask about.

And some of the stuff people pack in their checked luggage is absurd. (And yeah, apparently you can bring cobras and scorpions on a plane—as long as they are dead, preserved in rice wine, and packed in checked luggage).

I wish you safe and stress-reduced travels!


Arun Kristian Das is a digital content producer for