Traveling as a Cigar Enthusiast

TSA (Transportation Security Administration)

I was getting ready to fly down to California for a cruise with my family. As I was packing, I thought to myself what I believe you may have, or will ask yourself in the future. “What’s the policy when traveling with cigars, a lighter, and a cutter?” The TSA allows for travel with cigars in carry-on or checked bags. The possible issues come from the cutter and lighter. These items can be determined by the TSA officer as a security risk. Torch lighters cannot be brought on in checked or carry-on bags and I learned that the hard way. I was under the impression that as long as I purged it of fluid, I could bring it, but it was confiscated at the checkpoint. I learned that you could bring an empty Zippo lighter. My plan for the next trip is to bring an empty  Zippo, a cheap cutter, and my Pelican case with cigars.

The Short:

Bring your case with cigars, an empty Zippo lighter, and a cheap cutter.

Cruise Lines

We went with Royal Caribbean from Long Beach, California to Mexico. As we arrived, I had my bags ready to board. The porters who bring your bag to the cruise ship are very pushy for tips. I felt a bit harassed by them, to be honest. It took late into the day to get the bags delivered to my room. I would rather just take my carry-on bag and backpack up instead of having them do it for me in the future. I had zero problems getting through security with my bags containing my cigars. They had a smoking area designated on the fourth and twelfth deck for smokers. These areas were a nice getaway to enjoy a stick. They had comfortable chairs with an ashtray for your enjoyment. Unfortunately, the holes were small and made for cigarettes, which wasn’t a big deal. Depending on what cruise ship you are on, some have cigar bars to enjoy a smoke and self-care. Check with your ship and cruise line for details.

The Short:

It was an easy process to get through security onto the cruise with my cigars, cutter, and lighter. They had designated areas for smokers.

Smoking Cigars/ Pipe

Here’s an issue I ran into while smoking at casinos on the cruise ship and around California. There are smoking areas in the casinos, but they don’t allow cigars or pipes. They only allow cigarettes. I found this to be a frustrating and ridiculous policy. I had no clue of this policy. I lit up my well-aged Amazon Basin and was enjoying it. As I hit all the wilds on the slot, I was excited. I was enjoying the win, smoking my cigar, and sipping on some rum. An attendant came to inform me that I could not smoke cigars on the casino floor. I could only smoke them on the designated smoking decks. I then lit up a Davidoff cigarillo. I mean, it looks close enough to a cigarette. They later had a problem with it when I did it again the following night. What’s the deal with the premium tobacco hate at casinos?

The Short:

Casinos now only allow for smoking cigarettes in designated areas and not pipe or cigar products.

Mexico and Cigars:

Depending on what port you go to, you may find a different experience. We docked at Ensenada and took the bus from the port to downtown. According to Mexico’s new smoking laws passed in 2021, you are not technically allowed to smoke on the streets or businesses. I did see a few people smoking cigars on the streets and it wasn’t a problem. I feel Mexico has bigger issues to address in the country than smoking tobacco.

One thing I did notice was  fake Cubans cigars everywhere. The first thing to remember is that if it’s a great deal for a Cuban, it’s probably fake. If it’s in a glass top case, also fake. If it’s in a bag, fake. I will say they did have some humidors in shops that had decent looking knock-offs. They are also fake, but look more legit than the easy to spot fakes. My recommendation is to stay away from Cuban claimed cigars in Mexico unless you go to La Casa del Habano, the legit one. They have some cigar shops called La Casa del Habano which are also fake. We need to remember the poverty and hardships of the people who live in these countries. They will try to make money to feed their families and can you blame them? They will also try to sell you fake silver. Just do your research, and be careful not to get scammed while on vacation.

The Short:

Buy Cuban cigars only from trusted retailers. The truth is that the cost of Cubans has become outrageous. There are better cigars at a better price. Put the ego away, and buy good stuff that supports communities that are treated better. The people of Cuba are under oppression and hardship to make money for the government. They barely can afford to feed themselves or their families, but that’s my opinion.