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Can You Bring Sand on a Plane?

Determining what you can and can’t pack for travel on a plane can be tricky. Especially when you want to travel with something unique like sand.

According to the TSA website, you can bring sand on a plane in both carry-on and checked bags.  

There is no limit to the amount of sand you can bring on a plane, but amounts over 12 ounces, or 350 milliliters, may require further inspection at the security checkpoint. 

This rule stems from sand being considered a powder, and the TSA imposes a 12 ounce limit on powdered items. The security agents will have to look at your sand and ensure it doesn’t impose a security threat. 

There is a chance that they will not allow you to take more than 12 ounces of sand onto the plane. 

If you put your sand in your checked bag, you will not have to worry about spending any additional time having your bag and sand checked.

This article will explain more about packing sand for travel and whether TSA allows dirt and seashells on planes.

How to Pack Sand for Plane Travel

You need to be careful when you pack sand for plane travel. If any of the sand spills, whether in your bag or out of it, it will be a mess to clean up, and you likely won’t be able to salvage it all.

Use a plastic ziplock bag to keep your sand sealed and secure in your luggage. Make sure the bags are fully zipped, so they don’t leak during the trip. 

You can even double bag your sand in case one breaks open. The last thing you want is to open your bag when you get home and find sand everywhere.

If you have a lot of sand to pack, you should use multiple bags instead of overpacking one. If you stuff a lot of sand into one bag, it could explode and make a mess.

Furthermore, remember that sand can be heavy if you have a lot of it. If you are packing it in your checked bag, you need to keep your total baggage weight under the airlines’ limits. 

If you are packing sand in your carry-on bag, there are no weight restrictions, but it needs to fit into a bag small enough to pass the airline’s carry-on size restrictions. 

And, you will be carrying your bag through the airport and lifting it into the plane’s overhead bin. So, make sure you can carry and lift it easily enough for your entire trip.

Another common item that people struggle to pack for air travel is glass. Learn more about how to pack and bring glass on a plane.

Does TSA Allow Sand or Dirt?

Yes, you can bring sand and dirt on planes in both carry-on and checked baggage. 

You can also bring plants on a plane if they are with your sand or dirt. If you are bringing sand, dirt, or plants, make sure you have a plan to pack them.

If you are bringing them on the plane with you, they need to fit in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you, just like anything else you carry on. 

Make sure they are secure in whatever packaging or baggage you have them in since they will move around during the flight no matter where you put them.

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Is it Illegal to Take Sand from Some Beaches?

Yes, while it may be a surprise, it is illegal to take sand from some beaches. 

Beaches all over the world have rules that prevent people from taking sand from them. And, if you are caught taking sand from them, you can face high penalties or even jail time.

For example, Hawaii is one of the most popular beach destinations globally, and it is illegal to take sand from its beaches. Here is the Hawaiian government’s official law:

The mining or taking of sand, dead coral or coral rubble, rocks, soil, or other beach or marine deposits from the shoreline area is prohibited.

So why is it illegal to take sand from these beaches?

We are running out of sand on Earth. Twice as much sand is used every year as is produced, and sand is our most used natural resource.

You can read more about the sand shortage from Business Insider.

Are Seashells allowed on a Plane?

Yes, seashells are allowed on planes. According to the TSA website, you can bring seashells in both carry-on and checked bags.

Make sure you pack them well since they are breakable. You should wrap the shells in something soft like clothes, towels, or even bubble wrap to protect them.  

You may find that packing items like sand and seashells in a cardboard box is easier than packing them in traditional luggage. It is easier to wrap them in layers of bubble wrap, just as if you were shipping them, and easier to stay under the airline’s baggage weight limits. 

Make sure to read about bringing cardboard boxes as luggage here, as some airlines have restrictions or do not allow cardboard boxes.

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Hayden Wall

Hayden is the founder of Travel Gear Discounts and tries to vacation as much as possible. He loves finding the latest travel accessories that will make getting out easier and planning the perfect weekend getaway.