Bringing Dirt On A Plane – What to Know Before You Fly

Last Updated on June 16th, 2023

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If you’ve never heard of bringing dirt on a plane before, you’ll probably be surprised to hear that it’s not the only odd thing people like to bring on the plane with them. That’s right, many individuals bring other crazy things onto the plane with them, mostly from their vacations.

Sand, rock, minerals, sea shells, crystals, driftwood, and even shark teeth. While we are just scratching the surface with that, we are here to talk about dirt. Is it legal to bring dirt on an aircraft? How should you pack it? 

Can you bring dirt onto a plane from another country? Let’s talk about everything you need to know when preparing dirt for your next flight.

Inside an Airplane ready to depart - Bringing Dirt On A Plane

Is It Legal To Bring Dirt on a Plane?

It is legal to bring soil on a plane in the United States. However, this won’t stop you from running into other obstacles surrounding luggage restrictions and the transportation security administration (TSA). 

Even if the soil inside your luggage is sealed correctly and follows all of the rules and regulations, it all comes down to the TSA officer and their decision on letting you fly with the packages. 


Can You Bring Dirt in a Carry-On Bag Inside of a Plane?

If you are not traveling internationally, then yes. You can absolutely bring dirt in both checked carry-ons and other luggage as long as it fits into the size and weight guidelines and restrictions of the flight. 

However, if you are traveling internationally, you can just forget about it – because bringing products of agriculture into the United States is not allowed. See more on that below. 


What is the Maximum Amount of Dirt You Can Bring on a Plane?

The maximum amount of dirt you can bring onto a plane is based on your airline’s baggage guidelines and restrictions. Whichever airline you are flying through, look into their suitcase size and weight restrictions to determine the maximum amount of dirt you will fit into them. 

You’ll likely run into problems and extra handling fees if your bags are too heavy or too large based on what luggage you had declared when you booked the flight.


How Should You Pack Dirt For a Plane Ride?

There are two factors to take into consideration when packing your soil for a flight. First, if you’ve had a flight before, you know you aren’t allowed to carry a huge amount of liquids in your luggage. 

Whether it is products or even medications in a liquid form, too much of it will not make it through security. The same goes for your soil. If the soil contains too much water or liquid, it will be prohibited from flying. 

The package will be lighter if there are no liquids or water mixed within the soil, which will increase your chances of hitting the right weight for your luggage. 

Second, you have to make sure the soil is packed properly. You can’t just throw some shovel scoops of dirt inside the suitcase, zip it up, and call it good. Packing the dirt into a sealed container before placing it into the suitcase is more acceptable and less messy.


Can you bring dirt from another country?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soil from all other countries, including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and all United States territories, is prohibited from entering the United States without a permit and/or USDA-approved soil treatment. 

The biggest question you might have right now is why? It is just dirt. After all, why wouldn’t it be okay to bring it over from another country? The answer is more simple than you might have anticipated. 

Agricultural products like soil and plants can contain pests (ex., Roundworms/nematodes) that will harm the environment and American agriculture.  


Final Thoughts on Bringing Dirt Onto A Plane

In the United States, it is legal to bring dirt on a plane if packed correctly. However, you cannot bring dirt to the United States anywhere else outside of the states. 

You can pack the soil into your carry-on or other baggage if it’s sealed properly in some sort of container, avoiding the mess. 

When packing soil for a plane ride, make sure the amount of water or other liquids within the soil is low to none. We all know how the TSA feels about liquids. 


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