Pack a stamped mailing envelope in your carry-on bag to “save” TSA no-nos

Amazon: 100 - 10x13 White Poly Mailers Bags Things I've lost while going through airport security with my carry-on luggage:

  • The keychain-sized Swiss Army knife my grandfather gave me
  • A new (and expensive) bottle of facial moisturizer
  • My kids' toothpaste
  • My sunscreen (on a flight heading from Portland, Oregon — pasty skin capital of the world — to Florida, the "Sunshine State.")
  • My yarn scissors (putting a wrinkle in my onboard crochet plans)

Most of these items could be replaced at our destination…at higher cost, and with annoying inconvenience. But the pocket knife and the yarn scissors were special, and I was truly pained to watch them go into the garbage bin (we were late enough that I had no time to go through the overpriced process of buying a mailer from the security personnel).

Answer: keep a self-addressed mailing envelope, with enough postage to mail a pound or two, in your carry-on luggage. So the next time you accidentally go through security with a harmless-but-prohibited item, you can (hopefully) mail it home. You might even throw in a Ziploc or two to keep things spillproof, or use a waterproof, tearproof poly mailer.

Keep in mind that mailing items home will be at the discretion of airport security personnel, and you may have to go through the security line again. But it may just save you your favorite pocket knife. *sniff*

RelatedPreparing your kids for a TSA airline security patdown


  1. A says

    You can sometimes re-check the lost and found on your return flight and find your items….i have been told by a frequent business traveler.

  2. says

    So another possible hack would be to stash a sheet of mailing labels in your bag, ask security folks to “tag” offending items and throw them in lost-and-found instead of the trash.

  3. says

    Instead of an envelope with a random amount of postage, you might be better off (if you want to go that route) using a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope (with Ziploc bags for stuff going in it). That way the postage is enough no matter how much it weighs…

  4. says

    Thanks Shervin, that was very helpful. I will make sure to take along all of those Quote: Originally Posted by shervin143 1) Valid Passport with the visa stamp (H1B / L1). 2) Valid approval notice. 3) Latest pay slips (If you are a returning H1B / L1 worker).