Rock collecting is a popular hobby for many people. From geologists to young children, gathering interesting rocks can be an engaging pastime. However, those who enjoy collecting rocks often want to travel with their prized specimens. This leads to the question – can you bring rocks on a plane?

The short answer is yes, you can bring rocks onto an airplane as long as they meet the airport security requirements. Rocks are not prohibited items according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). However, there are some regulations regarding size and weight that collectors should be aware of before packing their geologic treasures.

First, any rock samples you bring on a plane must be able to fit inside your carry-on or checked baggage. Large specimens that do not fit in a bag or suitcase will not be allowed. Make sure the rocks do not stick out of your luggage or make it too heavy. Airlines have set weight limits for carry-on and checked bags that must be followed.

Second, rocks cannot count as your one liquid quart bag at airport security. They do not qualify as a liquid, gel or aerosol. You will still need a separate quart-sized bag for those types of items if needed. Your rocks will be in addition to that liquid bag.

Third, if any rocks could be considered dangerous, they will not be allowed. Do not try to bring rocks that have sharp edges or points that could be used as blunt weapons. Also, certain minerals in their unrefined form, like dynamite, will never make it past security. Use your best judgment and leave potentially hazardous rocks at home.

The TSA does reserve the right to thoroughly inspect any unknown items in bags, including rocks. Be prepared to explain what your rocks are if questioned by security. It may help to have them labeled or identified in case TSA needs to test them. Any bag checks will delay your checkpoint time so keep that in mind when traveling with rocks.

While rocks are allowed on airplanes, always follow the flight carrier’s baggage policies too. Some airlines restrict quantity of items or have their own weight limits. Call ahead if you will be transporting numerous or unusually large rock samples.

With security restrictions in mind, collecting rocks while on vacation can make for great carry-on souvenirs. From beach stones to carved minerals, rocks can remind you of the places you visited long after the trip is over. Just be sure to cushion them well so they don’t get broken in transit. Happy rock hounding in your travels!