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Traveling with an American Flag

Traveling with an American Flag

Are you someone who likes to travel the world and experience new cultures? Do you find yourself eager to jet off to different countries and continents, adding stamps to your passport and experiences to your life? If so, you’re probably an expert when it comes to packing! Packing is the first and most important skill when it comes to traveling—especially when it concerns sensitive cargo. It actually begs an important question: what’s the appropriate way to travel with an American flag?

Unlike your clothing or toiletries, you can’t just cram the American flag in your suitcase and pack it down until everything zippers shut! You need to treat the flag with immense care and respect, which means treating it appropriately while in transit.

Here’s a closer look at the standards and practices for traveling with an American flag, and how to make sure you’re treating yours with the dignity it deserves.

Rules, Restrictions and Regulations

When it comes to the flag, there are a lot of rules regarding the proper handling and etiquette to avoid disrespecting it, and that’s especially true for traveling. Here are some of the basic rules, restrictions and regulations to keep in mind when transporting the flag around the world safely:

  • For starters, make sure when transporting the American flag, you fold it in the thirteen folds recommended for proper folding.
  • When traveling with an American flag, you should take care to make sure it's placed in a secure display case in your suitcase.
  • At the very least it should be folded and wrapped in material, even if just a towel, to keep anything from getting on it during travel.
  • You can also place the flag in a cardboard box before placing it in your suitcase or bag.

There’s some debate about where to store the flag when traveling. Some say it's disrespectful to store it in your checked luggage when flying and believe you should always keep the flag with you on your person, in your carry-on bag. That said, there are no rules one way or the other. It depends entirely on what works for the traveler when flying with the American flag. The important thing is to make sure the flag is handled with respect throughout the entire travel process.

Handling Your American Flag With Care

No matter where you’re going or how you get there, traveling with an American flag is akin to traveling with a VIP. Just like you’d treat your VIP with respect and dignity throughout every phase of the journey, you need to offer the same level of diligence to the flag.

The main thing is to make sure the flag is handled with care when you travel with it out of respect. As long as you follow basic etiquette, such as not letting the flag touch the ground or crumpling it up to shove in your bag without care, you’re good to go on your trip with the flag in tow.

Special Considerations for Travel

Many times, you might find yourself traveling with a flag that has important significance. For example, if the flag belonged to a veteran or has historical significance, you need to be aware of this and make sure it’s treated with even more attention to detail and care.

If you’re going through airport TSA and have the flag in your carry on, let one of the inspectors know that you have a flag and that it’s of sentimental significance. This ensures that it’s handled with extreme care in the event they need to inspect your luggage further. Often, ex-military service members are present at airports and train stations, and they’ll stand ready to hold the flag while you go through checkpoints.

Treat the Flag with Respect While in Transit

Just like you treat the flag with care and respect when it’s hanging outside of your home, it’s your duty as a citizen to keep it safe while traveling. Whether you’re flying abroad to another country or taking the train to another state, always be mindful of the flag you carry with you, and make sure it always gets the respect it deserves.

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