How Much Lotion Can You Bring on A Plane? The solution is here.

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When you are planning to travel by plane, you sometimes wonder How Much Lotion Can You Bring on A Plane? Packing toiletries does not have to be confusing. We are here to break down how much lotion you can bring in addition to other best travel tips.

TSA Rules

Traveling can often feel stressful whether you are traveling for business or pleasure. In particular, with so many rules lately about flying and what you can bring in your luggage, you may be confused. One daily item that we use every day that has flying restrictions, is lotion. The lotion is an essential item in your toiletry kit. When we fly our bodies get dehydrated due to the cabin pressure of the plane. Additionally, filtered air can have side effects. One of the main organs that are affected is the skin. The skin may often feel dry when we travel. For this reason, it is important to know how much lotion you can bring in your baggage. 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that is in charge of regulating what travelers bring abroad. In addition to their responsibilities for publishing guidance on items brought on planes, they are also in charge of screening travelers and luggage prior to board. The TSA has a simple rule to remember when packing toiletry items known as the 3-1-1 rule. The 3-1-1 rule restricts passengers to bringing one quart-size bag with lotions, creams, and gels. None of the aforementioned items can exceed 3.4 oz. 

How Much Lotion Can You Bring on A Plane
Photo from TSA

A Warning Note…

Essentially, the 3-1-1 rule is the rule you need to follow for your toiletry bag if you plan to have it with your checked luggage. One thing to note is the amount you have compared to what is visible seems. If you have a lotion or cream in your checked luggage that you estimate has less than 3.4 ounces, TSA will go by what is listed on the container. For example, if you have a lotion and the container reads it carries 6 oz, but you have half left, TSA will ask you to toss the item. Why? For security reasons. Although, you may think that is clearly visible that you have less than 3.4 oz left, TSA does not want to make assumptions. 

Is Lotion a Liquid?

As confusing as it may seem, the TSA considers lotion a liquid. This means that if you plan to travel with lotions or any cream, you are restricted to 3.4 oz in the container. So in short, you can bring lotion on a plane but it is restricted to 3.4 oz. This limit only applies to the luggage that you are bringing on board. If you plan to bring a carry-on bag then the 3-1-1 limit applies to it.

Other Items

If you are traveling with cosmetics such as liquid foundation or primer or any other cosmetic cream, these are also considered liquid. You may need to combine your cosmetic creams in your 3-1-1 bag and then check your other lotions. 

Spray lotion, body butter, and sun tan lotion are all also considered liquids. If you plan to bring these on your trip, they also have to follow the 3-1-1 rule. No matter what the consistency of your creams and lotions is, remember that the TSA considers all of these items part of the 3-1-1 rule. We have read many comments on Twitter and other social media outlets in which customers had to toss brand-new products because they did not think they should be considered liquid. At the end of the day, it is better to follow TSA guidelines than to argue with the screening agents or have to toss expensive creams and lotions. If you are unsure about what an item should be classified as you can always contact the TSA to get clarification. You can always play it safe and just pack whatever toiletry items following the 3-1-1 rule.

How Much Lotion Can You Bring on A Plane
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Carry-On Luggage

Bringing lotion on a plane, in your carry-on luggage, should not be an issue as long as you follow TSA rules. Remember the following points to ensure you have a seamless trip:

  • Pack your toiletry items in a clear quartz-size bag. If you don’t have any clear bags make sure that your purchase a bag that is TSA-allowed.
  • Do not pack containers halfway filler or if you believe they have less than 3.4 oz. Pack your lotion in containers that correctly depict what you are carrying.
  • Take your toiletry bag out! Make sure that if you do not have TSA pre-check or any other enrollment in a pre-clearing program, you take your clear bag out of your carry one. The last thing you want to do is get to the airport and get flagged for not taking your toiletries out.
  • If you are traveling in a group or with minors, TSA restricts the 3-1-1 rule to one bag per traveler. Do not mix your toiletries with those of another group.
  • If you have any questions, don’t be shy to ask. TSA is there to help. It is much better to ask before you check your luggage or have to toss products.
  • Other items such as purses or diaper bags, also need to follow the 3-1-1. Purses and other bags are considered personal items. 

Other Options

If you don’t want to be restricted to the 3-1-1 rule, you can purchase lotion once you get past the security point. You can purchase lotion at one of the stores in the terminals, you have no restrictions. However, it may be difficult to find a larger container of lotion. Typically, airports sell travel-sized items. However, larger airports such as Atlanta Hartford, or Dallas Fort Worth may have stores. Some of the stores in which you can purchase a decent size lotion container may be MAC or another brand-name store that is present at the airport. 

If you forgot to bring lotion in your carry-on luggage or have to toss yours, and you don’t want to spend money, you can always visit your local USO. The United Service Organization is a non-profit organization that provides support to U.S. Armed Forces members and their families. Many times USOs receive donations and care packages and they have a plethora of toiletry items for distribution.

Checked Baggage

When it comes to checked luggage, things are easier. There are no restrictions on how much lotion you can bring if you check it in your luggage. If you have a lotion that exceeds the 3.4 oz limit you can bring it on the plane in your checked luggage. Although, there are no restrictions on how much lotion you can bring in your checked baggage if you carry excessive amounts it may raise suspicion. TSA may inspect your bags if you have an excessive amount of lotion and ask questions. 

If you are going to bring lotion on a plane in your checked luggage, make sure that you follow the tips to avoid spillage or other disasters:

  • Check that all lotions are correctly closed and sealed well.
  • Tape your lotions and creams to ensure that they don’t open while you are traveling.
  • Separate all lotions and creams into a bag. This bag does not have to be clear or quart-size. This technique of putting all these items in a separate bag is to safeguard against spillage. You do not want your lotion to open and stain your clothes.
  • Depending on how long you are traveling, be mindful of how much lotion you are bringing. Bringing a lot of toiletry items can affect the weight of your bag. You want to avoid bag fees. However, if you are active duty military many airlines will waive any baggage fee with proof of ID.
How Much Lotion Can You Bring on A Plane
Photo by Tyler Nix

What about medically prescribed lotions and creams?

Medical lotions and creams also count as liquids. However, the TSA will make an exemption if you have special lotions or creams that you need to bring on board. Medical lotions and cream should be put in a separate bag from your toiletries. They should also be put in a different bin during screening. You need to declare to the TSA agent at screening that you have medicinal lotions and creams. Your medications will get additional screening. 

Although TSA does not require that your medications have a prescription label, you should be prepared to present them. You may need to verify that your lotions and creams are needed for medical purposes. Make sure that prior to traveling that you print out necessary prescription copies. You may also want to consult with your doctor about bringing medical medications on a plane. If you decide to pack your medications into your checked luggage, make sure that you tell your doctor. Some medical lotions and creams may have temperature restrictions. You don’t want to pack lotion in checked luggage and damage its consistency. 

Can You Use Lotion on A Plane?

Unlike other items such as nail polish that have a distinct and disruptive smell, lotions and creams can be more pleasant. There are no restrictions on using lotion on a plane. We recommend that you are courteous to your fellow passengers. If your lotion has a strong smell that uses the bathroom or waits until you land. Strong smells can disrupt other passengers and depending on the scent, could trigger allergies in those around you.

Before opening your lotion or cream, make sure that you check to make sure that it won’t make a mess once you open it. If your lotion tends to be less viscous, be mindful of opening next to others. You don’t want to have any spillage or accidentally spill next to others. Flying can make sure skin is dry so it is not a bad idea to bring lotion on a plane so you can make sure you stay moisturized. 

Photo by Juriel Majeed

Alternatives to Lotion

If flying with lotion seems too complicated or if you just prefer to pack all of your toiletries in your checked luggage, you can always purchase lotion bars. Lotion bars are a lotion that looks like a bar of soap. They contain moisturizing ingredients that can help with dry skin. Lotion bars are highly recommended for dry hands and elbows. If you are flying, those are probably the areas of your body that tend to feel dry. To apply, you simply rub the lotion bar, as if it were soap, on the parts of your body that you want to moisturize. 

One downside to lotion bars is storage. Much like soap once you open it, you need to find a container to store it in. A soap container will do to safely store your lotion bar. It can also take up additional space in your toiletry bag. However, the nice thing about your lotion bars is their convenience. They are not considered a liquid and you can bring it on a plane with no issues.

Moisturizing Wipes

Many companies now sell moisturizing body wipes that can be used to clean your body and also provide moisturize. If you are going on a long trip body wipes may be better than bringing lotion on a plane. Body wipes do not need to follow the 3-1-1- TSA rule. They are also easy to travel with. Body wipes already come in a storage container and you do not need to worry about spillage. Exercise caution when closing and sealing your wipes. You want to make sure that they are correctly sealed. If your wipes are not correctly sealed, air can get in and dry out your wipes. Wipes can easily go in your carry-on or checked luggage. Be mindful of how scented they are. As mentioned before, you do not want to disrupt your fellow passengers with strongly scented wipes.

Traveling with Lotion on a Plane

Bringing lotion on a plane is all about following TSA guidelines and doing what is most comfortable for you. Make sure that you inform yourself about what you can bring on a plane before flying. Traveling can be complicated but we are here to address all your travel needs. Don’t forget to check our website for special military discounts on flights, airfare, and exclusive travel packages

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