Traveling With Food Over The Holidays

Blog Posts, Travel Blog | 2 comments

Traveling with food

Traveling with food

Photo by: dolgachov


Traveling with food over the holidays?  During the holidays there will be lots of food transported from place to place. There are rules which apply to make sure your dish arrives safe and presentable to eat. If you are the designated recipe maker for your family’s favorite dish, you want to make sure it is not only delicious but safe to eat.  

The holidays are here, and we have tips for making sure any exclusive family recipes and dishes you are asked to bring, will arrive safe and ready to eat. We talk about the two-minute rule, but there is also a “Two-Hour Rule” – and it applies to getting on the road with food. Traveling with all the deliciousness that will end up on the holiday table has to be done in a manner that keeps food safe for later consumption.

We assume that non-perishable foods travel best. But, we need to make sure we pack them appropriately to ensure they are not contaminated during travel and stay in a presentable manner. 

No one wants to see a crumbled cake on the table. And, if you are traveling by air, some non-perishable items may not be allowed through TSA.

Let’s talk about which items are not allowed in your carry-on through TSA.

Liquids like gravy, sauces, some jellies, and jams will be considered a no-go with TSA. Even condiments like mustard and ketchup.  

Surprisingly you need to think about any cheese you are taking when flying. Hard types like Jarlsberg, sharp cheddar and Emmental are good to go, but creamy, spreadable cheeses, like brie, and Boulogne, TSA treats as a liquid.  The TSA rule is – Any “liquids” can make it through in containers 3.4 oz in size.

If you have any questions about what can or can not go through TSA, refer to for more information or contact your airline.  

How disappointing it will be to throw your favorite gravy in the garbage. Sad! So check, check and check again.

But, let’s also cover what you can bring.

Surprisingly, meat! You can bring the whole turkey through TSA! But, you can’t carry the carving tools in your carry-on! Bring along your special mashed potatoes! They are allowed, but remember, you can not bring the gravy in your carry-on.

Dressing/Stuffing, yes, it can come on in your carry-on. So can the green bean casserole. Consider how you will transport these items to keep them presentable. Bring on your pie; it’s good to go, so is cake. But, whipped cream for your cake is a no-no in your carry-on.

And beverages are a no, no, no, so is anything liquid in a container larger than 3.4 oz; it won’t get past TSA.

Egg nog, champagne, sweet tea, lemonade, and kool-aid are all no, no’s. That’s right, TSA won’t be sweet about your mom’s favorite sweet tea. 

meal at home

Have your favorite dish ready for the family table.  Photo by:  Cathy Yeulet

Travel over two hours? Bring out the cooler. 

Pack foods on ice to ensure they do not spoil during transit.  It is a good idea to pack perishables on ice even when traveling for less than two hours. You never know if traffic will flow smoothly or there could be car trouble. Better safe than sorry. 

If you are traveling with a cooler either by air or car – it will take up space. In the car, it will need to fit in the trunk, and by air, the cooler will be one of your carry-on items and need to fit under the seat in front of you or the overhead compartment.

It’s a good idea to avoid traveling with foods prepared with eggs, milk, and turkey half cooked. Plan to make these items once you arrive.  If you must bring these items, think food safety each step in preparing and packing. The best part of the holidays is the fun and fellowship with family and friends around delicious foods. No one wants to feel ill after dinner. We are ready for family games, football, and seconds. Plan for after-dinner fun!

We found a great site with a long list of recipes to prepare and take to impress the family for dinner. is the site, check it out for holiday dishes, which travel well.

A happy holiday celebration is what it is all about. Photo by Rawpixel

A happy holiday celebration is what it is all about. Photo by Rawpixel


  1. Tonya Parker

    Great post! I had no idea about any of these. The meat and cheese info was very surprising. Though I fly often it’s amazing what I don’t really know. Thanks for sharing!

    • Annita

      Thank you for checking out the post. I am always amazed about the things you can’t bring on in your carry-on. Especially sauces. Happy Travels.


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