People often get confused over the rules for bringing liquids in checked baggage and carry on bags on a plane, which is understandable as they can be pretty complicated. Fortunately the liquid limit for checked baggage is simple.
There are actually no restrictions on the amount of liquids you can carry in your checked baggage (apart from alcohol). All of the complicated liquid restrictions apply to what liquids you can take in your carry on bags.
This means that you can take all of your favorite shampoos, body lotions, colognes, deodorants, antiperspirants and other liquids with you on your trip, no matter what size they are – provided they are in your checked baggage.
To find out the full details of carry on baggage liquid restrictions you may wish to read my article on maximum TSA Liquid rules for carry on bags which will make things clearer. Or check the TSA website.
Can you take alcohol on a plane?
Yes you can, subject to the following restrictions:
Drinks with less than 24% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 48 proof, for example beers and wine:
- In your checked bags, there is no limit. But remember, it will be heavy so watch your checked bag weight rules defined by your airline.
- In your carry-on bag you are limited to containers of 3.4oz or less that can fit comfortably in one quart-sized, clear, zip-top bag. Only one of these is allowed per passenger.
Drinks that contain between 24% – 70% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 48 – 140 proof:
- In your checked baggage you are limited to a maximum of five liters per passenger. But they must be in unopened retail packaging so no home brew!
- In your carry-on the same rules apply as in the lower ABV example above. You can only take containers which are 3.4oz or less that must be carried in your quart-sized, clear, zip-top bag .
Drinks that contain over 70% alcohol by volume (ABV) or over 140 proof are not allowed on the aircraft at all, whether in your checked baggage or your carry on bag. Leave them at home.
How to pack liquids in checked luggage
I am sure the last thing you want when you arrive in your hotel at the start of an exciting vacation is to find that one of the containers holding your shampoo, or other liquid, has smashed or split, emptying the contents all over your clothes and the other things you packed.
Imagine how inconvenient it would be if the first thing you had to do when you arrived at your hotel was to find a way of having most of your clothes cleaned.
So to try and prevent this do the following:
- place each container in a zip-lock plastic bag
- pack them in the middle of your suitcase, not by the edge
- do not put them close to each other so they cannot bang against each other
- put them in shoes, if they will fit
- wrap them in sweaters or other clothes that will protect them
- if you have some then wrap bubble wrap around them
Liquid limit for checked baggage for international flights
Most countries follow the above rules for the liquid limit for checked baggage so you should be able to travel on international flights without worrying.
However, if you are planning on taking some alcoholic liquids, a few bottles of local wine for example, remember that most countries have customs restrictions on the amount of alcohol you can bring into a country. Check the customs regulations for the country you are traveling to before you leave.
You should also be aware that some Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have a complete ban on alcohol. So if your trip includes visiting one of these countries then either:
- check with their embassy before traveling
- or, probably the best advice to be totally safe is, leave the alcohol behind.