How to Safely Transport All Your Freaky Comic Gear

Comic-Con in San Diego is approaching. And if you are flying to this place or planning a trip to another exciting event, you probably already know what you should and should not try to pack in your luggage . (It’s not in your best interest to surprise the TSA with a thermal detonator, Gom Jabbar, or a copy of The Legislator when you put your hands up like you just don’t care about a body scanner.)

While lightsabers are good for travel – and Styrofoam swords aren’t (at least not as carry on luggage) – what about anything else you’re going to bring back from the convention? Expensive autographed comics? Priceless collectibles? Costume accessories?

On the TSA blog , the agency has some helpful suggestions on how you can handle the items you bring to and from Comic-Con this year. These rules apply to any unusual convention you attend and should be set aside the next time you dress up as 81310 stormtrooper.

If you do not want TSA to break the seal on the product, please send it to

Getting your belongings home from a conference (or vacation) can be a challenge. It costs money, there is no guarantee that the carrier of your choice will not damage your precious item (unless you protect it with all the bubble wrap) and someone could steal it from your doorstep even if it made it safely to your house or apartment. … However, if you don’t want TSA to discover something of value, don’t put it in your luggage. As noted on the TSA blog:

“There is always the possibility that the packaged goods will have to be searched and opened, which will lead to the violation of the original seal. If you are a collector, the last thing you need is a broken seal. “

Do not pack things that can cause insane panic at the airport.

You will be surprised – but probably not so surprised – by what TSA finds in the bags. (His Instagram account is a goldmine.)

I’ll quote TSA on this because it’s important (and some people still think you can just take whatever you want with you on the plane):

“If you are not checking the bag, but you have a realistic replica of a weapon or a real weapon, you will want to ship this item. If you are checking the bag, replica weapons and real weapons can be packed in your registered bag. Replicas of firearms can be placed in your checked baggage without a declaration or packing instructions, but the actual firearm must comply with packing instructions and be declared. Anything that looks like an explosive (real or fake) is strictly forbidden to be transported by air. “

Comics are okay, but …

TSA have no problem flying your stacks of comics – except for the aforementioned part that they can crack the seal on your untouched collectibles if they need to search your gear for whatever reason. However, the agency recommends carrying the comics with you rather than packing them in a check-in bag to avoid problems:

“Packing these items in checked bags can trigger an alarm leading to the screening of baggage, which can significantly slow down the screening process, leading to delays and possible late baggage for the flight.”

What about costumes?

If you’ve been working on your gorgeous Warhammer Space Marine outfit replica for the past 11 months – first of all, I’d love to see it because it’s awesome. Second, you can take a little extra care when traveling with parts and pieces of it. (And consider creating items that can be disassembled and reassembled that could make your travels a lot easier .)

If you’ve shipped most of your gear and are carrying some of your more important items with you, consider leaving TSA with a little love letter when checking your luggage. Maybe you come across a film actor who is also a sympathetic science fiction fan:

You should also consider adding some reference photos or anything else that can help prove that your outfit is for an authentic costume that you will be wearing somewhere, not … well, whatever it is, TSA opinion.

You can also try bribery (or have your equipment inspected in person ):

Also, don’t forget to bring a basic (or emergency) repair kit with you in case your TSA screening doesn’t like your gear:

If a wig is an essential part of your costume, Travel on the Brain’s Annemarie has some helpful ideas on how to get it safely to its destination:

“Turn your wig inside out (unless it’s heavily styled or spiked like in cosplay wigs), gently curl the long curls and gently place them inside the top of the wig. Then wrap it with a hairnet to keep everything in shape.

Now store it in a zippered plastic bag to keep it dry, or at least wear a (silky) scarf for protection. If your wig is very dear to you, pack it in your hand luggage. Alternatively, you can also wear it on your head. Other wig packaging ideas include custom styling boxes, a case for hair extensions, a travel wig case, or wig packaging bags. ”


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