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tiger cubWe’ve seen some strange things in people’s suitcases, but this just might take the cake: Last week, a Thai woman was arrested for packing a baby tiger cub in her checked luggage.

According to ABC News, the woman was attempting to smuggle the cub (which had been drugged and “hidden” among a bunch of stuffed tigers inside her suitcase) into Iran, where it could have been sold for a tidy profit on the black market. The cub has been rescued and sent to a wildlife conservation center, while the woman is looking at a hefty fine and up to four years in jail.

Although we hope that none of our readers are intentionally smuggling exotic creatures when they travel, it turns out that several of you have had some inadvertent animal encounters when packing — check out our Top 10 Packing Disaster Stories for the surprising true stories. (Wildlife involved: iguanas, kittens, ducks…)

And animals aren’t necessarily the strangest things to make it into your suitcases. Our readers regularly write in to ask whether they’re allowed to bring certain out-of-the-ordinary items onto a plane. A partial list:

– A hand-held taser (um, NO)
– A license plate
– Sea kelp
– A blender (for making margaritas in flight?)
– 10 pounds of scrapple
– A device for shaving back hair (we are not making this up!)

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever packed?

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11 Responses to “Razors, Tasers and Tigers, Oh My: Odd Things People Pack”

  1. Redshoes56 says:

    For a business trip, I was put in charge of transporting 100 magnetic dry erase boards, all of which were stuffed into a carry-on duffel. I got pulled out of the security line, not surprisingly (that’s a lot of magnetic material!). They laughed when I offered them each a free dry erase board :)

  2. Sandy says:

    On a trip to Kauai a couple of years ago we packed a full-sized juicer in a wheeled carry-on. At the time my husband was fully enmeshed into juicing anything and everything and the temptation to juice some of the wonderful fruits available in Kauai was just too great.

    We got stopped in security and they just shook their heads – not believing that someone would actually pack a juicer. Once we explained that we were on our way to Kauai, the fresh fruits there…then they understood but it sure made for an interesting vacation!

  3. Rich says:

    I had a tube of toothpaste confiscated on a flight from Oakland to Burbank (the TSA agent had to take a minute, though, to decide that it was too big, as it was written in Chinese.) On the way back, however, I was allowed to carry on a pair of hockey ice skates, fully sharpened, no questions asked.

  4. Erin says:

    I unwittingly brought a Swingline stapler in my carry-on bag 839 miles from Charlotte to Hartford one Christmas. I had brought a bag of papers to grade over Christmas vacation with my family, and I couldn’t figure out why I was getting strange looks from the TSA agents in NC- and they kept asking me if I had anything metal in my bag.

    It wasn’t until my trip back from CT that I found out what the TSA agents saw…and then proceeded to beg them to let me keep my stapler- I had just bought it for my classroom the week before and forgotten to take it out of my bag! Luckily, the TSA agents working at Bradley found it humorous and let me pass with my office equipment.

  5. Aaron Blue says:

    Rocks. I’d found a strange rock on a beach the day before my flight and forgotten to remove it from my jacket pocket. Luckily, this was pre-9/11, and the TSA laughed it off.

  6. Terry says:

    I had unknowingly carried an xacto knife that looked like a pen. It went through security at 4 airports.

  7. Jordan says:

    I once carried 5-7 live .22 ammo…made it there, but got caught coming back home…didn’t know it was in there….oops….no gun though.

  8. Nicol says:

    My husband, son, and I were on our way to Houston. We carefully checked over our luggage to make sure that everything was A-OK since the previous trip was a car trip. We thought we’d removed everything “not allowed.” Once we arrived in Houston we discovered the corkscrew multi-tool with the blade attached. And our three Ziploc bags of 3oz products ALL in one suitcase. We took no chances and left the corkscrew with relatives!

  9. Rachel says:

    Flying from Vancouver to Auckland recently, I sat next to a young man who had brought a pair of ski boots on as carry-on luggage. I can’t really talk, though, as I had dried fruit with me, my father got held up in Vancouver for bringing a full-sized tube of toothpaste (he’s flown over 100 times, SURELY he should have known better), my mother had injections with her (she has MS), and my sister got caught for a pair of safety scissors… That’s got to be our most interesting flight ever, security wise. Well, we’d flown from Philadelphia via Toronto (with an 8 1/2 hour delay) the day before and were flying on to Adelaide afterwards…

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