Packing for a trip and not sure what to do with your bottles of lotion, shampoo, and the like? Should you load them in your checked luggage, or can you take them in your carry-on? And how much liquid can you bring on a plane? or how many ounces can you carry on the plane anyway?
You’re at the right place if you’ve got all these questions. We’re here to help you learn and understand all about packing liquids for your trip.
In general, all you need to remember is the 3-1-1 Rule, which means you can bring a maximum of 3.4 ounces in one quart-sized bag, and only one bag is allowed per person.
We break it down further in this blog post.
How Many Fluid Ounces Can You Carry On A Plane?
Who Sets The Rules For How Much Liquids To Bring On A Plane?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sets the rules for what you can and cannot bring on a plane.
They are responsible for making sure it’s safe for people to travel on commercial flights—whether they are passengers or crew members.
What Are the TSA Liquid Rules?
The TSA has set rules on how to pack and bring your liquids when traveling on a plane. It’s also called the 3-1-1 Rule.
The 3-1-1 Rule
The TSA Liquid Rule, also known as the 3-1-1 Rule, allows each passenger to carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (approximately 100 milliliters) or less.
Liquids, gels, pasts and aerosols you pack must go in one clear, plastic, quart-sized bag, which you can load in your carry-on ( limited to one quart sized bag per passenger ).
So it’s easy to take note of what 3-1-1 means remember:
- 3.4-ounce containers in
- 1 clear, plastic, quart-sized bag
- 1 bag per person
What Liquids Are Under the 3-1-1 Rule?
The following liquids are considered liquids under the TSA Rules, meaning you need to pack them according to TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Shaving cream
- Perfume and cologne
- Contact lens solution
- Liquid or gel-filled capsules (such as medicine or dietary supplements)
- Liquid or aerosol deodorant
- Beverages (water, juices, etc.)
- Liquid food like soups and sauces
- Jam and jelly
If you’re bringing any of these items, be sure to pack them according to TSA’s Liquid Rules!
Exceptions To The TSA 3-1-1 Liquid Rule
While TSA’s 3-1-1 Liquid Rule limits you to 3.4 ounces of any of the items, above, there are some exceptions to the rule, which allows you to bring them in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces, such as the following:
- Medications ( prescription, over-the-counter medications, medical devices )
- Baby formula and food (formula, breast milk, baby food)
- Duty-free items (liquids, gels, aerosols purchased in the duty-free shops after the security checkpoint)
How Are These Items Handled at Security Checkpoints?
When you go to the airport carrying items that are exceptions to the 3-1-1 Rule, you must declare them.
You may even go through an extra security checkpoint, especially if you’re bringing baby formula and food.
Tips for Packing Liquids When Flying on an Airplane
Worried about getting the 3-1-1 Rule right when packing? Here are some tips to help:
How to Pack Your Liquids According to the TSA Rules
- Use travel-sized containers. If your liquids originally belong in a large container, buy smaller, travel-sized containers that comply with TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule and transfer them there.
- Seal containers tightly. The last thing you want happening is all your liquids spilling out and creating one giant, sticky mess in your bag. Consider wrapping each item in extra plastic, ziplock, or cling wrap to protect your things better.
- Separate your liquids for inspection. If ever you may have to undergo additional checks, it will be hard to rummage around your bag to look for your pack of liquids. Keep them in an accessible part of your bag so they’re easy to remove.
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How to Minimize Bringing Liquids While Traveling
You can also try to minimize the amount of liquids you take with you by doing any of the following:
- Use solid alternatives. Consider bringing solid toiletries, like a shampoo bar or solid deodorant instead of liquid ones.
- Purchase items at your destination. You can also avoid packing liquids altogether by purchasing toiletries, like shampoo, sunscreen, and lotion, when you arrive at your destination.
What Happens If You Don’t Follow the TSA Liquid Rules?
If you don’t follow the TSA liquid rules, your items may be confiscated at the security checkpoint. You’ll likely have to dispose of your items or place them in your checked luggage. If you don’t have checked bags, you may have to throw them away.
In some cases, you may even be subject to additional screening, which is a hassle and could cause delays. You may even end up being late for your flight. Additionally, if you’re bringing prohibited items, you could face fines or even arrest, depending on the severity of your violation.
It’s best to familiarize yourself with TSA’s liquid rules before you go on your trip. Pack your liquids in compliance with those rules. If you are unsure if an item is allowed, it’s best to pack it in your checked luggage or leave it at home.
What If I Need to Bring More Than the Allowed Amount of TSA’s Liquid Rules?
If you need to bring more than the allowed amount, here are some things you can do.
- Pack them in your checked luggage. There are no restrictions on liquids in checked bags, so you can pack your liquids there if they exceed the 3-1-1 Rule. Pack them securely so they don’t spill and make a mess of your things.
- Ship them ahead of time. You can consider shipping your liquids to your destination ahead of time. It may be more expensive than checking them in your luggage, but it can be more convenient, especially if you are bringing plenty of liquids.
- Request a medical exception. If you have a medical condition that requires you to carry more than the allowed amount of liquid, you can request a medical exception. You will need to provide documentation from a medical professional to support your request.
Final Thoughts: Why We Need to Follow TSA’s Liquid Rules
TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule exists for safety reasons. It’s best to comply with them to avoid issues when you go through the security checkpoint. They aren’t hard to remember and follow. Just remember the 3-1-1 Rule!