First off, in order to understand this, you will need to be sure you understand the luggage allowances for your trip. If you’re traveling with me, you’re allowed ONE checked bag and ONE carry-on item, as well as a small personal item to carry-on. If you aren’t sure what all that means, PLEASE first read these other two posts:
Travel Luggage Allowances
This post specifically refers to what you carry onto the plane, or more aptly through security, whether a carry-on suitcase or a personal item bag, you need to be very aware of international laws concerning liquids. These laws are known as the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule.
Let’s “unpack” this rule (get it? ha ha!).
3=3 ounces or smaller.
Any liquids you bring on board need to be in containers that hold 3.4 ounces (100mL) or less. That’s right, we round to 3, but really the limit is 100mL, since the EU got on board.
This means that a ny larger-sized container is NOT allowed to be brought through security. Almost every time I’ve flown I’ve seen someone ahead of me who was NOT quite ready for this rule. And airports have lovely collections of liquids that have been abandoned at the security area. This is one of the reasons why there are lovely travel-sized bottles. Use them.
What if you REALLY need a full-sized shampoo? Do you really? How long is this trip? Do you go through a whole bottle that often at home? Well, if you do, you’ll have to check it.
But…I want to bring my water bottle! The great news is, YOU CAN!! You just can’t bring water in that bottle. The 3-1-1 rule is for liquids, not containers. You can bring 100 gallon jugs…as long as they’re empty.
So, just what is a liquid, anyhow?
That sounds like a dumb question. But some things you would want to bring may surprise you how they “count” according to the TSA. It isn’t always intuitive. Some common items are listed below. Others can be found on the TSA website.
Liquids: (restricted by 3-1-1 to 100mL containers):
- liquid makeup (concealer, foundation, eyeliner, mascara)
- hair products (shampoo, conditioner, mousse, gel, pomade)
- contact lens solution (NOTE: contact lenses w/ tiny bits of solution in lens holder don’t count)
- liquid or aerosol deodorant (NOTE: solid deodorant doesn’t count!)
- creamy foods (cream cheese, yogurt, hummus)
Not liquids: (not restricted in quantity or part of the 3-1-1):
- Wet wipes/baby wipes
- Medicines (such as insulin or epi pens) – must be declared but do not need to meet 3-1-1 rules
- Sandwiches, even tuna salad! (But don’t bring tuna onto a plane. Too stinky.)
- Contact lenses
- Solid deodorant
- Solid makeup (lipstick, lip balm, pressed powder, “solid” cream makeup)
1-1 = 1 quart bag, 1 bag/traveler
Each traveler may bring ONE, and only one, quart-sized bag with the aforementioned liquids in it. The easiest way to do this is get quart-sized zip-top bags from the grocery store and use one of those. They are inexpensive–you don’t need a special TSA bag. The only downside to the Ziplock style bag is that they’re flimsy, so you’d be smart to bring an extra or two with you.
That’s right, ALL your liquids have to fit into ONE quart bag if you’re going to carry it through security. This bag will need to be removed from your carry-on or purse, and set in a bin on the conveyor for x-ray inspection (along with the shoes you are wearing, jacket, and laptop computer).