Traveling with Toys

 By Mistress Ren
Copyright 2002
 

Traveling has become more complicated since September 11 and the start of Iraqi Freedom.  Airlines, especially, have clamped down on what is and isn’t allowed on flights, and many of the toys we use in our sceneing are now prohibited in carry on luggage.

The following is information collected to cover traveling with toys via airline, train, and car.  The majority of this information pertains to those kinksters living in Maine and New England, so be sure to check with your local jurisdictions before you travel with your prized (and pricey!) toybag.
 

Traveling by Car

 Understandably, I couldn’t research all 50 states – it just takes too long!  However, here is some basic info:

 Some states allow toys that other states do not, and when traveling by car, it’s important to keep in mind that any toys you transport could be confiscated if you get stopped and the local or state police classify them as ‘weapons.’

Every jurisdiction has a different definition of ‘weapon’ – most problems occur with knives…always best to call the local police and find out if your knife ‘collection’ can be brought into the state – some states may require you to possess a permit of some type.

-Some states have laws again ‘indecent or obscene materials and objects’ – some states, like Mass, where vibrators are technically illegal, don’t enforce the law…but some states do!

When traveling by car, put all BDSM toys in one bag – alone.  Pack separately from clothes.  This way, if you are stopped by the police, and they ask to search your bags, they don’t tear apart all your luggage.

If you are stopped by the police – remain calm.  Most stops are due to traffic violations – speeding, broken taillight, etc.  Treat every stop as a routine traffic stop unless or until the officer mentions otherwise. You can minimize the likelihood of being stopped by the police at all by taking some basic precautions.  Give your car a walk-around check before you leave, including registration and inspection stickers.

If you are asked if you car can be searched – you have two choices – allowing or not allowing.

Not allowing – you are within your rights to NOT allow your car to be searched, however, it puts you under suspicion.  If you are refusing a search due to embarrassment, be aware – embarrassment lasts a few minutes, refusal MAY get you arrested, and at the very least, will delay you until they can bring a drug-sniffing dog.  Keep in mind – most people who refuse do so because they are either transporting drugs or weapons – if you refuse a search, the police will assume the worst and you will soon be surrounded by a LOT of police officers!

 Allow – if you allow a search, you are seen as cooperative with nothing to hide.  Let the officer know that one of your bags contains items that are risqué and used for sexual play.  Letting him know ahead of time will prevent problems during the search.

 Attitudes:

Be polite – copping an attitude my get you into deeper water.  Be polite, answer questions, and follow the orders of the police officer.

Be helpful – explain what the toys are used for – usually, if the other person understands how they are used, it helps you in the long run.

If something you possess is considered illegal – find out what your options are….will the item be confiscated?  If so, would you be able to pick it up upon your return out of the state?  If the answer is no, you can either argue (which may do you no good) or just let the item go.  Items can be replaced at a lesser cost than bail in most instances.

 

Traveling By Train

Thanks to the Amtrak Nor’easter, more people are traveling by train back and forth between Maine and Massachusetts.  Train travel is up 300%!

In my research, I discovered no huge concerns as far as traveling by train:  a check of the Amtrak website showed no specifics on items prohibited other than:

Prohibited Items: Dangerous, fragile, and valuable items, as well as animals, household goods, and overweight and oversize items, are prohibited in checked baggage service.

To avoid problems and bag searches:

Carry-on items:  There is a limit of two (2) carry-on bags per passenger, not including items such as purses or laptops.

In no case will carry-on luggage of any type be permitted on-board that obviously exceeds 50 lbs. in weight 

Each piece must be visibly tagged with the name and address of the passenger.

Baggage Tags Required: Passengers are permitted to use their own personal identification tags, or obtain pre-printed Amtrak baggage identification tags available at station ticket offices, or on-board trains from a member of the train crew. The name and address need not openly be displayed, but must be available for inspection by authorized personnel when requested.

Checked items - Bags larger than 50 lbs, additional bags, or unusually shaped packages/bags must be tagged as well, and must be checked.  As long as you have a baggage tag on each item you are carrying or checking, you should NOT have any problems.
 

If You Have A Problem:

Be polite and explain the purpose of the items in your bag.  If you are courteous- and have a sense of humor, you should not have a problem.


Traveling on Planes

With increased security since Sept 11, airlines in particular have tightened security measures.  The amount of goods once allowed in carry on bags has changed drastically….

I checked the Transportation Security Administration Website (www.tsa.gov), which gave some basic information:

Carry-on luggage -  Prohibited Items – According to Website

Billy clubs                                                  Bullwhips

Cattle prods                                               Hunting knives

Knives (any length)                                     Martial arts devices

Metal scissors with pointed tips                   Razor blades (not in a cartridge)

Religious knives                                          Replica weapons

SCUBA knives                                           Sabers

Straight razors                                            Stun guns/shocking devices

Swords                                                      Toy weapons

Screwdrivers                                              Hammers


Since this wasn’t all the info I was seeking - I contacted the TSA office located at the Portland Jetport (Portland, Maine) and spoke to the head of security services:  So when it comes to our toys specifically…..


No items that may be used as a weapon or striking implements:  Includes:

Floggers                             Wooden paddles

Leather paddles                   Riding crops

 
No restraints of any kind:

Leather cuffs                        Handcuffs (metal or plastic)

Rope (any length)                Chain (any length)

Arm binders                        Straightjackets


No 'sharp' items (or items that can be converted to 'sharp' items):

Scissors of any type, including EMT scissors                        No knives, decorative or otherwise

Marlinspikes (to loosen knots)                                             Needles

Sabers or swords                                                                CBT toys with spikes   

Whartenburg wheels                                                           Collars with spikes

Finger knives or sharpened metal nails                                  Fur toys with hidden ‘nails’

‘Tweezers’ type nipple clamps (rubber ends can be removed)


No electrical 'stunning' devices: Includes:

 Violet wands                     Electric flyswatters

Cattle prods                        Tasers

***** Passengers should be aware that there are no provisions for returning banned items to them when they are left at the security checkpoint. In addition, those who attempt to bring banned items through the checkpoints are subject to civil penalties of up to $1,100 per violation in addition to criminal penalties.
 

So….what CAN you bring in your carry on luggage??


ALLOWED in carry –on luggage:

Vibrators                                                                 Dildos

Cock rings                                                               Leather clothing including harnesses

Cock and ball toys (non-spiked)                              Collars (non-spiked)

Body paints                                                            

Nipple clamps (clamp type only - not 'tweezers' types)

Fur toys (except for fur and leather slappers or fur and wooden  paddles)

Needles  IF you have a prescription for them
 

According to TSA, security checkers have seen their share of sexual objects, and are not shocked or surprised by what they see.

If an item is unfamiliar to the guard, the item may be scrutinized at the security check in…so be prepared to answer questions.

According to TSA at Portland, the staff does their best NOT to remove items from bags that may be deemed embarrassing…..it is not their intent to embarrass customers.

To assist security personnel, put all sex toys into the original boxes and bags that clearly identify what they are…this will help to avoid questions.

If you do not have the original packaging, place the items into Ziploc bags with labels on them…this will also speed up the process.

KEEP IN MIND -  it is normal procedure for random passengers to have their carry on luggage thoroughly searched.  During slow times, this may be done away from the gate, in a private area, however, during busy times, it is usually done on a table near the gate, in full view of other passengers….…so if you are worried about being embarrassed, DON’T bring BDSM toys in carry-on luggage!
 

Attitudes

Don’t panic If your bag gets tagged for a random check, OR if something unusual is spotted inside your bag. Bags get inspected for a number of reasons – usually because something on x-ray was not distinguishable.

Beat them to the punch – If you suspect a certain item in your bag is the cause of the problem, discreetly mention the object to security as you pass the security area – then security personnel can make an informed decision.  Chances are they will still look in your bag, but they will be able to identify the item quicker.

Be polite and courteous.  Chances are the guard will only question the item and it’s function then, if it is deemed safe, send you on your way.

Be honest when answering questions.  Don’t try to make up stories or excuses.  It is better to say something is a ‘sexual toy’ than refuse to answer questions and get in more trouble.  Security check in sees this stuff every day – it is no big deal to them.  You are one person in thousands of strangers…you, and your sex toys, will be forgotten in a matter of minutes.

Answer questions with a hint of humor – quietly let them know you are going to visit a girl or boyfriend you haven’t seen in a while – they’ll figure out what the ‘stuff’ is for!  :)

But don’t overdo the ‘humor’ - when the x-ray machine beeps, don’t loudly declare “OOOPS!!  Looks like all my whips and chains set off the machine!”  You will quickly find yourself surrounded by armed guards escorting you off to a private area.  Be discreet.

Don’t cop an attitude if security asks you about something…they are doing their job to keep YOU and everyone on the plane safe.  If you feel they have unjustly harassed you regarding an object, quietly move aside, ask to speak to a supervisor, and voice your complaint politely.

If you feel you have been harassed or unfairly treated – if you have some spare time before your flight, or upon your arrival at your destination, call the airport and ask to speak to the Transportation Security Administration office (each airport has one) – they can assist you with your grievance.

If something is considered questionable to security, be prepared to kiss it goodbye.  Airports do not ‘save’ items for later pick-up.  Confiscated items are destroyed.

Don’t Go Looking For Trouble - don’t purposely attempt to carry on items that you KNOW will be confiscated.  And don’t make a scene if you get tagged for doing so – you end up looking like an ass, it reflects badly on the entire BDSM community – and, worst of all, you will most likely be stuck on a plane with the pissed off people that you held up at the security gate!
 

One last word on bringing toys on to a plane:

Airline travel is stressful to say the least….make the flight easier for you – and nicer for the folks you are flying with - by NOT incorporating play into your travel routine!

Many Dominants like to outfit their subs with metal cock rings, harnesses, etc., under clothing in order to set off metal detectors and ‘humiliate’ the sub.  This may be great for you and your partner…but to the weary business traveler or the harried parents with three whiny children, this is NOT appreciated.

Games at the metal detector not only slow down other travelers, it causes unnecessary work for airport security.  It also makes them non consensual ‘partners’ in your games.

So do everyone a favor…play before you leave, and play when you get to your destination. Sitting on a plane with 75 people that YOU held up at the security gate is NOT FUN!

 
Checked Luggage – Items Allowed

Toys CAN be packed in checked in luggage – all in belly of plane – no access, no worries.

Pack your toys in with your clothes – this will protect them during flight

Place toys where they can easily be identified…this will speed up the x-ray process and prevent you bag from being pulled and hand searched.

Remove batteries from toys – it doesn’t take jostling of a bag to start a vibrator…and a buzzing bag will draw a lot of attention!

IF you are not overly concerned with airline officials knowing you are kinky, be sure to put your name, address, etc inside the bag in case the luggage tags get lost - this way your bag - and your expensive toys - can be returned. 

Bags will be x-rayed, and may be opened if something looks out of the ‘ordinary.’ but security at checked baggage area expect to see items like knives, sporting equipment, and other unusual items.

Bags usually opened only if checkers suspects a possible bomb of some type Or if something within the bag is unidentifiable.

BUT…..checked bags are also subject to random searches, so check in toys (and bags) with the understanding that, no matter what, they may be opened and searched.  Unless you have undeclared guns or hazardous materials in your bag, it will be passed on to the airplane.

When checking bags, let the check-in personnel know you if have knives or other ‘weapons’ in your bag – then they can ‘tag’ your bag for the x-ray personnel and they won’t be surprised and feel the need to open and visually inspect your luggage.  For further information on procedures for transporting knives, call the airport or the airline you are traveling with.

 

If You are STILL Worried About Traveling with Your Toys – the Best Solution: 

If you have doubts, pack all items, and have them shipped overnight or next day delivery to your destination hotel. 

All hotels will receive packages for people who are registered to stay at that hotel - simply call the hotel ahead of time to let them know you are forwarding 'supplies' that you don't want to haul to the airport.

Upon check-in at the hotel, simply have your box delivered to your room. 

On the return trip, arrange to have the box sent to your home - your hotel staff can assist you with this.


Oh Canada!!

Prohibited at boarder crossings:

Child Porn or other printed materials deemed to be ‘obscene’ – you may want to leave books at home, especially if they have graphic photos.

Anything that can be used as a ‘weapon’- whips, floggers, billy clubs, wooden paddles, knives of any kind other than folding pocketknives, tasers.

 Technicalities:

Rope, chain, leather restraints – these are allowed or prohibited based on the searching officer’s discretion.  An explanation of how the objects are to be used will be helpful in many cases, but not all.

Needles – may be brought in if you have a MD’s note describing your medical need for them….BUT…..needles for other purposes may POSSIBLY be brought into the country if you obtain a permit for needles and medical devices from the Health Canada Agency – In Ottowa (613) 957-2991 – you must apply and explain the purpose of said needles.

No problem – Fetish clothing - including costumes, personal sex toys and ‘marital sex aids’ – but be prepared to explain what they are to guard.

Like driving state to state: follow those general guidelines – pack toys separately, offer to show your toys, and if asked, explain their functions.


Attitudes:

Don’t panic If your bags or car are subject to search – boarder patrols also do random checks.

Beat them to the punch – Let the boarder patrol personnel know you have a bag of personal sex toys with you. 

Be polite and courteous.  Chances are the guard will only question the item and it’s function then, if it is deemed safe, send you on your way.

Be honest when answering questions.  Don’t make up fancy names, or try to pass the objects off as something other than what they really are.  Honesty goes far.

Answer questions with a hint of humor – quietly let them know you are going to visit a girl or boyfriend you haven’t seen in a while – they’ll figure out what the ‘stuff’ is for!  :)

Don’t cop an attitude if boarder patrol personnel asks you about something…they are just doing their job  If you feel they have unjustly harassed you regarding an object, quietly move aside, ask to speak to a supervisor, and voice your complaint politely.

If you feel you have been harassed or unfairly treated – when you reach your destination, call the Canadian Customs Office in New Brunswick at (506) 636-5064 – they can assist you with your grievance or direct you to a higher office that will assist you.

If something is considered questionable and confiscated – try to find out what your options are for saving the object.  Will they hold on to it for when you return to the boarder?  Some officers will do this, some will not.  If the item is confiscated, it is sometimes best to just quietly let it go rather than cause a disturbance and risk being arrested or fined.

Don’t Go Looking For Trouble – When you are crossing into Canada, you are dealing with Canadian guards and officials who take their jobs seriously – don’t irritate them!  Be a good American.   :)


 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 More on Traveling with toys:

 http://personals.nerve.com/personals/emlo/02_21_02/ 

 

  Page Updated 08/27/05

 

 E-Mail CUFSmaine! 

Home                          Website Index