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Can You Bring Lotions on Planes?

By Oscar Brumelis


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Body and face lotions are counted as liquids by the TSA. This also includes most other variants of lotions, like body creams, gels, pastes, butter, and similar alternatives. Even thicker body ointments are considered liquid. If you can smear it, it’s considered liquid.

When packed in hand luggage (carry-on or personal item), they’re limited to 3.4 oz (100 ml) bottles or smaller. You also have to put them in your quart-size bag together with your other toiletries.

Only medically-prescribed lotions are allowed in larger quantities in hand baggage. But you’ll have to show the TSA agent your prescription. Otherwise, they’ll be treated like any other liquid.

It’s also worth noting that half-empty lotion bottles that are over 3.4 oz (100 ml) aren’t allowed. That’s because the TSA agent has no way of telling how much lotion is left inside. 

In checked bags, TSA allows lotions in larger quantities. You could even fill your suitcase to the brim with lotions and it would still be allowed. There also aren’t any restrictions on how you should be packing them.

Traveling With Lotions Internationally

Generally, the rules for traveling with lotions are identical across the world. In hand baggage, they’re limited to small 100 ml containers and they aren’t restricted in checked bags.

Only Australia and New Zealand have different rules. Both of these countries have incorporated new 3D CT scanners in their airports, which can safely screen liquids in larger quantities. When you’re flying domestically in Australia or New Zealand, your lotion bottles aren’t restricted to 3.4 oz containers in hand baggage.

How to Pack Lotions in Luggage

To avoid spills in your luggage, here’s how you should be packing lotions in your luggage:

  • Avoid placing the lotion bottle near the edges of your suitcase to avoid punctures and direct hits
  • Always wrap your lotion in soft clothing
  • Tape the lid to the bottle to keep it from accidentally opening
  • Put the lotion bottle in a separate Ziploc bag if packed in checked baggage
  • If in hand luggage, always put it inside your bag of toiletries. Remember to keep it somewhere accessible because you’ll need to take it out when going through security

There are Some Travel-Friendly Alternatives to Lotions

It goes a bit against common sense but there indeed are some “solid” lotion alternatives, which don’t have any packing restrictions. You can find solid stick moisturizers and solid lotion bars if you look around online, sold by Blush and other large brands. These usually need to be applied to wet skin in order for them to work.

Another option is to use moisturizing wipes. Even though they contain a bit of liquid inside, they are considered solid items by the TSA. You won’t have to put them in your toiletry bag when going through security. They’re also super easy to use when you’re on the plane.

Summing Up – Traveling With Lotions

You can fit roughly 6-8x 3.4 oz (100 ml) containers in your 1-quart bag of toiletries. For traveling, it’s usually enough to bring just one small bottle of lotion. But it’s hard to find a small lotion bottle. So the best thing that you can do is to transfer it from a larger bottle to a smaller one.

If you need to bring larger quantities of lotion, your only option is to pack it in your checked baggage or buy it at your destination.

About Oscar Brumelis

Oscar is a freelance writer who loves traveling and hiking. He's been to over 30 different countries and hiked over 2000+ miles throughout his life.

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