Can I transport my grandmother’s urn?

There are no special legal requirements for traveling with cremated remains but there are some practical considerations. Make certain that the urn has identification and contact numbers securely attached. Standard procedure is to place the contents of the urn inside a plastic bag prior to putting them in the urn. This is done to prevent a catastrophe if the urn should be broken. That said, depending on the travel involved, it is preferable to select an urn that will withstand some jostling. If you are traveling by car always verify that the urn is present before leaving after a stop. If the urn is left unattended make sure that it is secured, preferably in the trunk.


If your travel plans are by air, you will need to select a container that can be screened by the airport security equipment. Select an urn that when x-rayed will allow the security people to see the contents. Do not glue or permanently close your urn or you may have to destroy it if security asks to examine the contents. I always recommend that you take copies of the cremation documentation from your funeral director prior to air travel. Those papers may help avoid any confusion at security. It is always advisable to allow for extra time at security when traveling with an urn. Do not put the urn in your suitcase it must be carried on the trip.


The best way to transport cremated remains a great distance is to have them sent by mail. The U.S. Post office is the only courier that will accept these shipments. They have some special requirements for this service. The urn must be placed in a new cardboard container. This container must be sealed securely with a paper (no plastic) tape. I recommend that you take your urn to a package store and have them pack it for you. They will be familiar with the regulations and have the required materials. The post office requires that the urn be sent by certified mail and will be closely monitored as it travels. It is always a good idea to notify the recipient that the urn is coming and the date is was mailed. This is particularly important if the destination is a cemetery.


If you are traveling to an international destination you must check the regulations prior to travel. Each country establishes its own criteria and those details can vary quite a bit. Your funeral director will help with these details and can contact the appropriate consulate if necessary.

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