Traveling With Picture Frames

Written by Mark Rogers

Taking a trip often means taking a lot of pictures — and sometimes buying photos or local art at your destination. If you plan to pick up some local art, a framed picture, or even some loose prints while on your latest, greatest adventure, make sure that you pack and tag it the right way, so it doesn’t get damaged or left behind at the gate.

Before you leave, you may want to pack a few corner protectors or GalleryPouch™ bubble bags to protect your art on the way back. Photo storage bags are also a great way to protect photos until you get home and find that perfect frame.

Frames in the Car

When you’re traveling with your own car, small and large frames can be packed similarly to how you would when shipping picture frames, using cling film to protect the glazing, corner protectors to guard against nicks and dents, and a GalleryPouch™ bubble bag for overall protection.

When traveling with a picture frame, ensure that it’s secured inside the car so that it will not shift or bounce around. Anything that is not tied down can become a dangerous projectile in even a small fender bender.

Frames on a Train

Train travel may seem outdated, but it’s still a popular way to travel, especially in Europe and other countries outside the US. If you’re traveling by train, be aware that picture frames, no matter the size, may not be allowed. Amtrak, for example, prohibits artwork in both checked and carry-on baggage on their trains. Note that the list is fairly vague, so it’s best to call the rail line on which you’re traveling to ensure you can take your frame with you.

Rules on commuter rails vary from city to city, but small, wrapped picture frames should not pose a problem. Large picture frames may be allowed — always check the rail service ahead of time.

Frames on a Plane

Air travel is far more restrictive than other types of travel. However, in terms of picture frames, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which sets the rules on what can and cannot go on a plane, is far more lenient. The TSA states that glass picture frames are allowed in both carry-on baggage and in checked baggage, but notes that “the final decision rests with the TSA officer.”

Remember that even if the TSA gives the OK, you still have to satisfy the carrier’s regulations. Some airlines have strict cabin baggage requirements, especially in regard to size and weight. American Airlines, for example, only allows carry-on luggage that is 22 x 14 x 9 inches or less; anything larger than that may need to be checked. Even checked baggage has a limit, though: some airlines will not take any baggage, in the cabin or in cargo, if it weighs more than 100 lbs.

To give yourself the best chance of getting your framed print or painting on the plane, make sure that you properly wrap and protect the item before measuring it, as any wrapping will add bulk and weight. If it doesn’t satisfy size restrictions for carry-on baggage, you may be forced to check the item. If it’s improperly packed (especially without a “Fragile” sticker) and you end up needing to check the item, it could break — some airlines may load checked baggage haphazardly, putting your frame in danger.

With the right supplies and knowledge, you will have the ability to ensure your art, framed prints, or paintings securely make it home from your time away and you protect the memories of your last vacation or latest creative adventure.

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2 thoughts on “Traveling With Picture Frames”

  • Stan

    You can also mail picture frames and pick them up when you get home. That could be your next Guide.

  • Rose

    Traveling to Mexico next month for a wedding on Vivabus, am I allowed to bring 4x6 picture frames(5) in my carry on bag and 5 packs of 4 ea. 2”x2” glass candle holders? Fragile items so prefer in carry on bag if I am allowed. Please let me know. Thank you in advance.

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