Are Binoculars Allowed on Airplanes?

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Wondering if it’s wise to board on a plane with your expensive binoculars? If yes, you’re not alone, everyone with a high-end gadget would think the same before traveling.

So, can you take binoculars on an airplane? Yes, you can. Binoculars fall under the category of hobbies, which means you can take them wherever you go. However, leaving the binoculars in the checked luggage is a bit risky as they must be carefully packed while you travel.

Since optics are fragile and used for all kinds of missions, you can’t just throw them in any bag and get going. Instead, you should follow a few small-yet-important steps while traveling with binoculars, and you’ll be good throughout your journey.

To know how to pack your binoculars and keep them ready-to-use, continue reading.

Looking at the distant clouds from your side window is always fun and memorable. When you have your favorite binoculars in the hand carry, this hobby becomes more interesting.

However, people aren’t always certain if keeping the binos in the carry-on luggage is allowed (as it might look sneaky to some).

While speaking about the travelling rules, they don’t restrict you from keeping your binos handy. According to TSA (transportation security administration), you’re free to keep your binos in both carry-on and checked luggage.

Whether you travel with a backpack or a shoulder bag, you’re free to put your binoculars in it.

Why should you keep binos in the carry-on luggage?

binoculars in hand luggage

If you prefer keeping all heavy items in the checked luggage, you might be of the idea that binoculars should also go in that compartment. But, you should always prefer keeping them in the carry-on bags. Let me explain why:

  • Safety

Checked bags are out of your vicinity, stored somewhere in the luggage compartment. In this situation, you don’t know if your fragile gadget is safe inside that bag or not. And frankly, the cases of misplaced tools/devices are ever-increasing.

That’s why it’s advisable to play safe and keep your valuable belongings in your carry-on bag, binoculars included.

Also, there’s no pressure inside the luggage compartment of an aircraft, making glass equipment prone to multiple damages.

Let’s understand this with an example:

Let’s assume your nitrogen-purged binocular is kept in the checked luggage, stored with hundreds of other bags in the designated place.

When there’s no pressure in the luggage corner, it creates a vacuum inside your binocular’s lenses, eventually rupturing its seals.

This is a very common cause of binoculars losing their watertight seals or ending up with broken glass parts.

On the other hand, when you keep your optics in the carry-on bag, it isn’t exposed to pressure changes, which keeps their lenses well-sheltered.

Similarly, when your checked luggage is loaded, it’s often mishandled and vigorously relocated. This practice exposes fragile gadgets to cracks and scratches, eventually affecting their performance.

Binoculars are mostly a one-time investment and must be sheltered from these harms as you travel. That’s why the traveling rules encourage you to keep your expensive and fragile belongings in your carry-on luggage.

  • Availability

Would you like missing a worth watching sight just because your binoculars were in the checked luggage? I am sure you won’t, as that takes away half the fun of travelling with binos.

When you keep the binos in your handbag or backpack, they’re always handy. When you’re crossing a huge water body or another awe-inspiring sight, just take out your binos and enjoy it.

Similarly, if you’re to land amidst a jungle/desert (talking about choppers here), you won’t have to wait till the luggage unloads. Grab your carry-on bag, and start glassing right after landing.

Is it safe to pack binoculars in the checked luggage?

This depends upon how much load you carry in your handbag. If you have multiple fragile/valuable items in the carry-on luggage, adding binoculars will increase its weight. Since no one likes roaming on the airport with a hard-to-carry bag, keep all those heavy equipment in your checked luggage.

You’re allowed to keep binoculars in the checked luggage as that’s not against any traveling rules or restrictions. But do this only when your hand-carry gets heavy; as I mentioned above, it’s safe to keep glass equipment with you all the time.

What should you do to keep the binos safe as you travel?

Now, as we know that binoculars are allowed in both carry-on and checked luggage, the next step is to keep them sheltered when you relocate.

I am sure you already take care of your binoculars’ lenses as they’re prone to get damaged. But, have you ever thought about protecting the gas purged inside them? That’s what you have to do when you travel via plane. To know what else can you do in this regard, head-on:

  • Look after the lenses

If you pack your binoculars in a case, add an additional layer of cotton or any other soft material to protect the lenses from scratches. If you don’t have cotton, simply wrap the binocular case in a piece of cloth and keep amidst soft items i.e., towels.

When you pack your binoculars after using them in a dusty region, blow or brush away the dust particles. This practice will keep the binoculars’ lens coating intact so that you enjoy uninterrupted views.

If your binoculars have attached lens covers, close them as you pack your bag. This additional soft layer shelters lens coating and lens glass alike, eventually keeping your binos new-like.

  • Prevent moisture

This isn’t a big problem when you are aboard a chartered plane. But, those who reach their destinations via choppers or other domestic flights would know the way luggage is handled there.

If you have no option but to put your binoculars in a backpack that’s not with you all the time, make sure it’s safe from moisture. Apart from fogging up your lenses, this moisture can initiate rusting of your binos, which is a huge trouble. That’s why use a watertight bag or a polythene wrap to keep your binoculars dry as you travel.

Final thoughts

If you’re traveling overseas or within the country via an airplane, don’t forget to take your binoculars along. They’ll double the fun of your activities by showing some worth watching sights up close. There’s absolutely no restriction about taking the binos with you on an airplane.

However, the only thing you should be worried about is protecting the binos from external scratches, moisture, and dust as your travel because they can ruin the fun of your glassing adventures.

Store your binoculars in their case, and don’t leave it to be mishandled in the checked luggage. Make some space in your hand-carry so that your binos are always handy and safe.

Always pack light when you travel for recreational purposes, and keep your binoculars in the carry-on luggage to enjoy glassing throughout your journey.

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