The TSA state that you can bring rocks on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.

However, bringing rocks on a plane isn’t quite as straightforward as that.

It can depend on the size of the rock, its sharpness and cleanliness, as well as if you’re flying domestically or internationally.

Can You Bring Rocks on a Plane?

By Size

Regardless of the size of the rock (within reason), it should make no difference if you can bring it on a plane or not.

The only thing to be aware of is the airline you are flying with maximum weight and size dimensions.

  • Personal Items: Generally have a size restriction of 17 inches long, 10 inches wide and 9 inches high, and must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you.
  • Carry on Items: Must generally be no larger than 22 inches long, 14 inches wide and 8 inches high.
  • Checked Bags: Must generally weigh no more than 50lbs (23 kg) and be no larger than 27 inches long, 21 inches wide and 14 inches high.

By Sharpness

Even though the TSA say that rocks are allowed, they also state that “the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.”

So, if the rock you want to bring on a plane is quite sharp, you should pack it in your checked bags.

dozens of colorful rocks
These rocks aren’t sharp so will be allowed on a plane

As a reference point, the TSA allows passengers to bring pocket knives on a plane in their checked bags, but not their carry on bags.

So if your rock is of similar sharpness, pack it in your checked bag.

By Cleanliness

The cleanliness of the rock is often overlooked, but just as important, especially if you’re entering the U.S.from a foreign destination.

dirty rocks with soil on them

This is because foreign microbes or seeds contained in soil, clay or dirt are not allowed into the United States without a permit issued in advance by USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine Permit Unit

Domestic vs. International Flights

If you’re traveling domestically within the USA, you just need to pay attention to the size, weight and sharpness of the rock.

But if you’re flying from to or from the USA to/from an international destination, the cleanliness of the rock is of particular concern.

Any rock you want to bring on a plane in either your carry on or checked bags into the U.S. from a foreign destination should be very well cleaned, so there are no traces of soil, earth, or dirt.

Additionally, if flying from the U.S. to another country, you will find that they are usually just as strict.

In short, when flying internationally, make sure that any rocks you want to bring are thoroughly rinsed and cleaned.

By Airline

All airlines follow TSA regulations.

The only thing to keep in mind is the size and weight of the rocks you want to bring, and making sure that they are inline with each airline’s weight and size luggage restrictions.

How Many Rocks Can You Bring on a Plane?

There are no quantity limits to how many rocks you can bring on a plane.

Again, pay attention to each airline’s size and weight restrictions.

How to Pack Rocks for Air Travel

There are a few guidelines you should follow if you want to bring rocks on a plane:

  • Place your rocks inside a blanket or cloth inside a sealed bag for their own protection and to protect your other items.
  • If the rocks are small and/or valuable, pack them in your carry on.
  • If the rocks are large, pack them inside a box and in your checked bags.
  • Clean the rocks before you get to the airport, especially if you are flying internationally.

rocks in a backpack

Other Items You Can Bring on a Plane

  • You will be fine to bring crystals on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.
  • You can bring arrowheads on a plane, but they should be packed in your checked bags due to their sharpness. If packed in your carry on, they may be confiscated.
  • The TSA state that you pack shells in both your carry on and checked bags. Again, if flying internationally, make sure that the shells are thoroughly rinsed and cleaned.
  • The TSA state that sharpening stones are allowed to be packed in both your carry on and checked bags.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).