Travelling with a Cremation Urn
by Alex Johnson September 25, 2018 3 min read
These days, more and more people are opting for cremation as a way to care for their loved ones after their passing, and statistics have shown that upwards of 50% of Americans choose cremation either for themselves or their deceased family members. Because of this, the dilemma of traveling with a deceased loved one's ashes is becoming more frequent, which in turn raises a few questions about safety and regulations.
Why Travel With a Cremation Urn?
There are many reasons for travelling with a cremation urn, but the most common are: scattering of the ashes at the loved one's favorite spot, transportation to an out of state final resting place, and when the next of kin charged with caring for the urn lives in another town. Regardless of the reasons why travelling with a cremation urn may be necessary, certain factors must be considered.
Options for Travelling With a Cremation Urn
When travelling with a cremation urn, the two most common ways to do so are ground transportation and airways. Ground transportation does not necessarily mean travelling by road and includes train and bus services. When choosing which option is best always consider the distance, costs, and travel times.
For longer distances, the convenience of flights might override a costly trip that would take days instead of hours. The final decision is yours and taking a final, nostalgic, trip back home with your loved one's ashes could give you more time to remember and celebrate your loved one.
Keeping Cremation Urns Safe During
Regardless of whether you have chosen to drive or take a bus or train to transport your loved one's ashes to their final resting place, certain precautions must be taken in order to guarantee their safe arrival.
- Choose an urn that will not break: Wood, plastic, cardboard, and cloth are lightweight materials that will not break during transportation. Once you have arrived at your destination, you can request they be transferred to another, more permanent urn.
- Size is important: When travelling on land, the size of the container that holds your loved one's remains is of utmost importance. A container that is too big might not fit in your vehicle and will be difficult to maneuver into a car. On the other hand, when choosing a bus or train, restrictions on size might be imposed, so always go with one that is within the sizing requirements and easy to handle.
- Packaging: Even though you might choose to carry a cremation urn in your lap, you must always make sure it has been placed in a larger container, with adequate padding in the remaining space, to ensure a buffer is in place in case of any bumps or other unexpected incidents.
Travelling by Air With Cremation Urns
The TSA has established certain requirements for travelling by air with cremated remains. First of all, you have two options: carry-on, where you carry the urn on the plane with you, or as checked baggage, where the urn is placed in the luggage compartment of the plane.
In both cases, the cremation urn will have to pass security clearance, so make sure it is made out of materials that won't show up as a blur on X-ray screens at the airport. It should also be sealed properly to avoid any unwanted accidents. Consider informing your airline's representative of your cargo, so your luggage is handled with a higher degree of care and respect.
Travelling with a cremation urn is usually easy and safe as long as you follow the rules and fulfill all requirements. Always consult with the funeral director about any local laws that may be in place.
Certain urns may be TSA-approved and others are not. Approved urns may include: plastic urns, "wrap" urns (which consist of embroidered fabric that wraps over an interior container), wooden urns, temporary polypropylene urns, and biodegradable urns.
In any case, it is always a good idea to call your airline to inquire about their specific requirements prior to booking a flight, in order to make the transportation of your loved one's remains as seamless as possible.
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