Travel Tips

5 min read

Can You Bring Crystals on a Plane? (How To Get Through Security)

Traveling with crystals? Learn how to navigate TSA security with ease. Find out what's allowed in carry-ons and checked luggage for smooth flying.

Tobi Miles
July 1, 2022
Can You Bring Crystals on a Plane? (How To Get Through Security)

Whether you are new to spirituality or a longtime observer of spiritual practices, chances are you have encountered crystals. But what about bringing those precious crystals on a plane?

According to the TSA, you can bring rocks and minerals on a plane. Crystals can be packed in carry-on luggage or placed in checked bags. Depending on size, shape, and weight of the object, you may want to decide between carrying-on your crystals vs. placing them in a checked bag.

No matter the reason for owning crystals, a common experience shared by many crystal owners is transporting them. Many crystals can be valuable and as a result, a person may not want to have them confiscated.

Since crystals can be delicate or very large, they require a degree of care when being moved around. When bringing crystals on an airplane, this also means observing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines for safe transport.

Does The TSA Have Specific Rules for Crystals?

TSA doesn’t explicitly mention crystals on its website, so there can be confusion around whether crystals are allowed on planes. For that reason, we did a deep dive to see about the rules. Below, we’ve answered the most common questions regarding air travel with crystals.

First Up: Are Crystals Allowed on Planes?

Credit: Shutterstock

The short answer is yes. It is relatively easy to bring crystals along while traveling. That said, there are a several considerations and exceptions. TSA agents have the discretion to not allow an item to pass through security if it triggers an alarm during the screening process or poses additional security concerns. Objects that can be classified as “dual use” with potential to be used as weapons are generally not acceptable in carry-ons.

Does it Matter if it is an International vs. Domestic Flight?

Yes, to an extent. Fortunately, many countries do allow transport of rocks and minerals. Whether you are flying domestically or internationally, many destinations do not strictly prohibit travel with crystals or rocks.

  • USA – crystals can be place in carry-on or checked luggage
  • UK – No restrictions for crystals in carry-on or checked bags
  • Canada – Also does not have restrictions for carry-on or checked bags
  • EU – No issues when entering EU or Europe
  • Australia – Also does not have any restriction

That said, it is always a smart move to review the specific requirements and allowances of every airport. It helps to consider the process of going through customs when arriving in a respective country.

As a traveler, it is your duty to report or “declare” anything that you did not have when you left the country. This means if you purchased crystals while you were abroad, you will have to declare this. If traveling through international customs, you should potentially be prepared to talk about and estimate the fair market price of the item.

How Does TSA Decide Whether a Crystal can Pass Through?

One consideration for whether a crystal can be allowed on a plane is the size and shape. Large, heavy crystals that have “dual use,” or could be used as a weapon, are better suited for a checked bag. Smaller crystals that could not be perceived as weapons are fine in both carry-on or checked luggage.

In other words, packing a crystal into your carry-on baggage should be just fine. That is, as long as it isn’t so big or sharp that it could be used as a weapon.

Related Read: Can You Bring Portable Chargers On A Plane?

Requirements for Carry-Ons

It is understandable if you prefer to bring your crystals in your carry-on bag. It may give you ease of mind of to have them on your person. If they are highly valuable or fragile, carrying them on ensures you have control and can prevent damage.

When bringing crystals on a plane in a carry-on, TSA may be pickier about what they allow. When screening carry-ons, they are looking for any objects that may be hazardous or used as a weapon. If the crystal(s) you are traveling with are extra-large or sharp, they may not pass through. Smaller crystals that are more compact and lightweight are often fine.

Related Read: Can You Bring A Water Bottle On A Plane?

Requirements for Checked Bags

As far as bringing crystals on a checked bag, you can do so freely. If your crystals are sharp or fist-sized, it would be best to place them in a checked bag to avoid a potential security risk. That way, you can keep and travel with your crystals without fear of them being confiscated. When you do so, just be sure to wrap them in layers and cushion them well to prevent damage.

If you are unsure whether your crystal can be placed in a carry-on, consider opting for your checked bag. Alternatively, you can consult the @AskTSA feature described below.

Considerations to Ensure Your Crystals Can Travel with You

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Given there are a wide variety of crystals, it may not be intuitive to determine whether yours is best suited for a carry on or checked bag. Here are some things you may want to consider as you make your choice.

How Large is your Crystal?

If it has potential to be used as a weapon, it should be placed in a checked bag. While there are no laws against bringing crystals with you, the security checkpoint has the final say. Keep this in mind as you decide whether to check or carry-on.

Another consideration might be the weight of the crystal. If the object is very heavy, it should be placed in a checked bag. Just be mindful that there are often weight limits on luggage before packing away an especially hefty one! If you are traveling with a large quantity of crystals, you may want to review your airline’s luggage weight allowance.

Is the Crystal Sharp?

Similar to large weight and sizes, the shape of the crystal can be a factor. If it has a sharp edge or point, security may not allow you to board with it. Crystals with conchoidal fracturing can create extremely sharp edges and pose a risk.

To that end, if what you are trying to transport is an artifact (e.g. arrowheads, flint daggers), these are highly likely to be considered weapons. Though it is an older form of weapon, it could still be deemed unsafe.

Related Read: Can You Bring Nail Clippers on a Plane?

Does it Look Suspicious?

Ensuring your sample or crystals are properly packed may help assuage any concerns that security staff have. Having it placed in a sample box and well-wrapped makes it clear that there is no intent to use the object as a weapon.

On a similar note, being prepared to calmly inform staff what your object is and why you are traveling with it can help. When traveling with somewhat ‘unconventional’ items, it is expected that you may be questioned about it. Responding kindly and patiently as they assess the safety of the item is the ideal approach.

How to Pack your Crystals

Though packaging may vary by the type of crystal, here are several rules to consider for safe transport of your crystals:

  • Make sure they are clean and free of any detritus or potentially hazardous pathogens
  • If the crystals are especially fragile, consider bubble wrapping them. Or, positioning them between clothing to protect them from wear and tear or scratching any other belongings. Reducing the amount they are moved around can prevent unintended damage from luggage handlers.

What to do if TSA Stops You

Credit: Shutterstock

In the event you are pulled aside for additional screening and your bag is searched, you can calmly notify the agent what they will find inside. You might even ask that they be gentle as they handle your property to prevent damaging the crystals.

If you have any paperwork about the item(s), this could prove useful in the event you are questioned about the item. This provides verification that you are transporting it due to its material and/or sentimental value, and not just smuggling them haplessly.

Related Read: What Does 100 ml Look Like?

Still Not Sure? Ask TSA

If this guide did not address your question or you want to know about a specific crystal, you can consult TSA. On Twitter, you can mention @AskTSA and ask about your item. They will likely get a timely response back to you on how you should pack your item.

Likewise, you can search “@AskTSA crystals” on Twitter to see crystals that others have asked about. From there, you can compare their response to the crystal(s) you plan to travel with. They are generally very responsive and will advise you accordingly, especially if you include a photo for them to reference!

In Conclusion

The verdict? It is generally allowed to bring crystals on flights with most airlines, domestic and international.

Overall, whether your crystals are OK for travel is subject to the judgment of the TSA as you pass through. Fortunately, there are general guidelines you can follow for an uncomplicated process.

Deciding whether to carry it on or place in a checked bag is most important. Being mindful of the size, shape, and weight of the crystal can help with your decision.

Packing crystals in carry-on bags is completely fine, provided they don’t pose a danger to passengers. As for checked luggage, you can pretty freely pack crystals of all sizes and shapes.

Finally, be prepared to be questioned and calmly inform the security agents about your items.

It is their job to keep passengers safe, so being cooperative is in your best interest. Following these steps can ensure that you and your crystals pass through safely and seamlessly.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
Find me on Twitter

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