May 26, 2022

Can You Bring Rocks on a Plane? (You Can, But..)

by Jullie

When you want to know can you bring rocks on a plane, you need to consider many factors. 

You can take rocks and minerals on the plane as long as they meet some security parameters because it is allowed by the Trasport Security Administration. If you have checked luggage, you can put your rocks inside or even carry them with you. To avoid the appearance of a security risk, it is best to put sharp and fist-sized rocks in a checked bag.

We will discuss most of these parameters in detail to help you increase your rock collection.


Table of Contents

How to Distinguish Ancient Artifacts and Rocks?

There are chances of trouble if you travel on a domestic flight with an ancient artifact because they will check your luggage for the artifacts. Most countries do not allow their ancient artifacts to leave the country.

You may accidentally pick an artifact instead of the rock. Unknowing that it can lead to legal issues. There are some ways you can avoid this situation. You can collect information about the site from where you picked the rock.

If it is a protected or holy area, there are higher chances that your rock is an artifact. Some countries do not allow you to take rocks from ancient places. You need to care about the instructions also.

The rock’s shape can also help you identify the status as ancient artifacts has a specific structure not found in nature.

You can travel with the artifact-based rocks if you bought them from a business and have a receipt. The receipt will protect you from legal issues.

Can You Bring Rocks on a Plane
Can You Bring Rocks on a Plane?

Related Article: How to Identify Your Rocks?

How Large Is Your Rock?

You cannot carry the rock that can fit into your fist as people can use it as a weapon. For other sizes, most countries allow you to bring minerals and rocks on the plane as there are no specific rules about the rock size.

The person ensuring the passenger’s security ensures that no one carries an item that can work as a weapon. It is better to send the larger rocks into your checked luggage bag.

The security personnel will let you send it in the checked luggage bag as there is no risk. If it has a size of one or two inches, they will let you carry it with you on the plane because you cannot use it to threaten anyone.

You may have to spend more time at the security checking if you are traveling with an opaque rock of bigger size.

They will check it for explosives by x-ray scanning. They may also bring sniffing dogs if they have some suspicion.

Related Article: Beautiful Minerals and Cool Rocks to Collect

Is Your Rock Sharp?

If the rock is sharp, the security personnel will not allow you to board with it as they may ask you to send it in checked luggage or confiscate the rock.

The level of sharpness will decide the response of the security. They will confiscate the knives like rocks immediately. You need to be careful if you are carrying obsidian.

These rocks have the sharpest edges. Airport security will not allow you to carry it on the plane. You need to think like the security staff to find out about their response.

No one will let you take the arrowheads or ancient knives made of rocks on the planes. Old knives and arrowheads can become a threat to other passengers if someone wants to use them as a weapon.

Related Article: Is Ice a Rock?

Can the Rocks Pose a Health Risk to You and Your Friends?

There are many ways a rock can pose a health risk to you and your friends. No one can find out about the condition of the minerals when you get them. You have to take it for lab tests to confirm its safety.

Bacteria, viruses, and toxins can attach to the rocks and live for many years. If your rock has one of these, it can make you sick. Some of these diseases are contagious. It can transfer to your family and friends.

You can avoid this situation with disinfectants because you can take some hand sanitization gel with more than 90 percent alcohol and rub the stone. It will kill all the bacteria and viruses.

If you wash the stone after that, toxins will also come off. You cannot be sure about the radioactivity of the rock. If it is radioactive, you can face radiation poisoning.

It is hard to identify radiation toxicity as it does not occur frequently. You can take help from someone with a radiation detector. You can carry it to your home if you have checked for both aspects.

Are You Able To Bring Rocks On An Airplane
Are You Able to Bring Rocks on an Airplane?

Related Article: Is It Illegal to Take Rocks from Nature?

Why Are You Bringing the Rock Back Home?

There are many reasons to bring back rocks with you to your home. If you are a rock collector, you will take them home to increase your collection.

Some plant lovers also collect rocks to improve the aesthetics of the plant bases. You have to go through many struggles when you bring rocks back as the airport staff may not allow you to take them back.

In some cases, they may suspect you of some illegal activity because people hide drugs in the rocks for smuggling. You should look for a rock that does not appear threatening to the airport security.

If you plan to take the rock back, you need to pick a specific rock with a round shape. The size should be smaller than three inches.

If you follow these guidelines, you will not get into trouble when bringing your favorite stone back.

Related Article: Where to Find and Collect Rocks?

How Fragile Is Your Specimen?

Some rock and mineral specimens are fragile and require care to prevent breakage as the luggage handlers toss the bags during transportation. There are many ways to protect the fragile specimen.

You can wrap a soft covering around it. A newspaper will do the job by making some cushioning around it. You need to stop the specimen movements also to prevent breakage.

Wrapping in paper and putting it in a tight box will do the job. Most industry experts recommend bubble wrap to protect the samples.

If you do not have protection supplies, wrap them in a t-shirt and put them in shoes as they will do the job. You can also prevent breakage by putting your specimen in the carrying luggage.

Checked luggage is not the perfect place to transport the minerals. Keeping them in the hand carry will give you more control of the specimen.

It is only possible when the airport security allows you to carry it on board because they may reject your request. After all, most stones can act as weapons.

Related Article: What Rocks and Minerals are Worth? A Helpful Guide

How to Pass Security with Your Rocks?

Passing airport security is the biggest hurdle for rock lovers when they want to take the stocks back to their homes.

When you go to the airport, security staff will check the bag after finding a rock in your bag using the x-ray scanner. There are many ways you can make a situation that supports your stance to take it with you on board.

You need to have a receipt to show the use of the rock. You need to prove that the rock does not pose any threat to other passengers.

If the receipt shows that the rock is a mineral sample, you have a high chance of taking it with you on board. It is better to get paperwork that shows the intended use and composition of the rock.

You can also pack the rock in a loving box to show that it is not a weapon. Instead of hiding the rock, you should inform the person checking your bag of what they will find in it.

When you inform them that there is a mineral sample and that they should care about the breakage, security staff will understand the purpose of the rock.

You need to prepare for passing the security from the time you collect or buy the rock. Collecting or buying a rock with sharp edges will not help you pass the security.

If the rock has the shape of a knife or arrowhead, the security staff will confiscate it.

What to Do If You Have to Check Your Rocks?

If your specimen has sharp edges or looks like a weapon, you should keep it in the checked luggage. It will prevent a lot of questions and arguments.

You need to ensure that the specimen is secure when you are not carrying it in your had-carry luggage. One way to ensure that is by putting a fragile sticker on your bag.

Sometimes, the transportation staff does not care about these stickers. You can also place the specimen in the middle of the bag to prevent breakage from the tossing force.

You can get the latest bags with the hard outer covering. These bags consist of rigid plastic that protects the luggage from breakage.

Related Article: Best Gifts, Rock Collectors Will Love

Are There Any Other Shipping Options for Your Rocks?

You can use courier shipping services if your specimen is not suitable for the airport. You can get help from the shop where you purchased the rock.

You can also go to the courier service provider and send the specimen before going to your flight. It is better to buy insurance if it is expensive.

Buying insurance will ensure that you get your money back if the specimen breaks during transportation.

And if you would like to read more guides on how rock climbers find rocks, crystals, and minerals, search through our entire category for rock climbers collecting rocks, crystals, and minerals.

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About the author 

Jullie

Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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