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Traveling with Cremains

There are laws and policies for transporting cremains in ways other than in your own vehicle. Often, people will travel to other areas to spread the ashes, bury the cremains in a cemetery in another state, or send them to a family member for remembrance or safe keeping. It isn’t as easy as putting the container on a plane or shipping them a box. You will find guidance here for traveling with cremains and some helpful links for further research.

Airline travel with cremains.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) passes all crematory containers through an x-ray machine. If the screener cannot clearly see what is inside the container, then it will not be allowed on the plane. It is against TSA policy to open the container, so the agency advises using a container for transport that is “security friendly” such as wood or plastic. Read more on TSA cremains airline transport policy here.

Shipping cremated remains.

The U.S. Postal Service provides guidelines for both domestic and international shipping of cremains. Since this is the only shipper that allows cremains for shipping, it is important to understand their policies. All cremains shipped to a domestic address must be shipped using Priority Mail Express service. They also have guidance for shipping to an international address. You can read more on the USPS cremains shipping policy here.

Scattering cremated remains.

When it comes to scattering ashes, you will need to do a little research. You will have to check local, state, and federal laws in your intended area. Some cemeteries have a scattering garden, or you may want to scatter them on private land. You can check the National Park Service for information on scattering ashes in a National Park. The Environmental Protection Agency also provides guidance on spreading ashes at sea. If you want to scatter cremains in any other area, check the laws first to make sure you are complying.

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