Last Updated on September 25, 2021
Beach sand can make a great vacation souvenir. You can use it as part of a nice ornamental display to remember your trip.
But can you bring sand on a plane? Are there rules about flying with sand? And if so, where and how should it be packed?
Let’s take a look.
TSA Sand Rules
The Transportation Security Administration is the team that runs security screening at the airport.
Here’s what they say about sand on their website:
According to the TSA, you can pack sand in either carry-on bags or checked bags.
Sand is also classified as a powder. This means that if you bring over 12 oz of sand in hand luggage it might need to be screened separately. You should remove large containers of sand from your luggage and place them in a separate tray at airport security.
The TSA officer at security always takes the final decision about what is allowed through the checkpoint.
You Can Bring Sand On The Plane, But Is It Legal To Take It From The Beach?
The TSA is only responsible for screening what can and can’t be brought on to planes.
They don’t decide where and when you can remove souvenir sand from beaches.
And they also only operate at airports in the USA.
It might not have occurred to you, but “sand theft” is a thing.
In some places taking sand from the beach is strictly forbidden and could get you into trouble with the law.
If every visitor to the beach takes home sand, soon the beach might start to disappear.
So in some places bringing sand home has been made illegal, and some travelers have been caught with stolen sand when traveling and fined.
So make sure you know the rules before you take sand from a beach. And if you’ve taken it illegally then I don’t advise trying to take it on the plane.
Still Unsure? You Can Ask The TSA On Twitter
Lots of people want to bring a little bit of their vacation home with them. You’re not the only traveler than wants to bring a little part of the world back to your part of the world.
Suzanne asked the TSA about bringing seashells, sea glass, and sand in her carry-on bag.
And the TSA replied that she was “good to go”.
Maggie asked if she could bring a plastic bottle that she had filled with sand.
This time the TSA mentioned that the powders rule would apply.
If your container of sand is larger than 12 ounces then you should remove it from your bag at airport security so it can undergo separate x-ray screening.
If you are bringing checked baggage and want to avoid that inconvenience then it might be better to pack your sand in checked luggage.
Cristina asked about bringing this manky jar of sand back to NY with her.
The TSA said that it would be fine to pack the sand in her carry-on bags.
That water bottle reminds me, your sand will need to be reasonably dry. Wet sand could run into problems with the TSA liquids rule and not be permitted in carry-on luggage.
Megan had asked the TSA about bringing a terrarium on the plane.
The terrarium had sand in it but that didn’t stop Megan from being able to bring it in her hand baggage.
Adam brought home these root beer bottles filled with sand from the beach.
Those sand-filled bottles will make a great memento, and there will be no problem taking them through the security checkpoint.
Courtney created this glass memory bottle filled with sand, shells, and dirt.
It’s a romantic gesture, and thankfully you can fly with sand, soil, dirt, or any inert solid substance.
It’s mostly liquids and weapons that are prohibited from planes. Check this post if you want to get a better understanding of what can’t be brought with you when you fly.
Sand is not considered a dangerous item by the TSA. That means you can bring sand on a plane in either a carry-on bag or a checked suitcase.
If you have a container of sand that is larger than 12 oz packing it in a checked bag will mean you can avoid additional screening.
If you are bringing sand in carry-on luggage, keeping the container size under 12 oz means you can keep the sand in your luggage when going through security.
But do double-check before you remove sand from a beach! Your desire to make your own souvenirs might have inadvertently led you to become a sand thief.
And if you think you’ve stolen sand by mistake, then I don’t recommend traveling with it at all. Traveling with any stolen goods is never a good idea.