Air Travel Tips: What's in your liquids bag? | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

07 September, 2013

Air Travel Tips: What's in your liquids bag?

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So my recent trip to Chicago got me thinking: What are the most efficient ways to pack liquids for air travel with the current restrictions for carry-on baggage? Just in case you aren't familiar, they are:

3-1-1 for carry-on luggage = bottle of 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less (per volume); 1 quart transparent plastic bag hermetically sealed; 1 bag per passenger placed in the inspection container. One quart size bag per person limits the total volume of liquid that each passenger can carry.  The 3.4 ounce (100 ml) container size is a security measure. Medically required liquids, such as baby formula and food, breast milk and medications are allowed in excess of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for the flight. It is not necessary to place medically required liquids in a zip-top bag. However, you must tell the Transportation Security Officer that you have medically necessary liquids at the beginning of the screening checkpoint process. (From the TSA website)

With most domestic airlines in the USA charging extra fees for hold luggage and the liquids restrictions being so strict it can be hard to fit everything into your tiny allotment, especially if you're the type of person to wear liquid makeup (me!) and go on trips for a week or longer (also me!)

I did manage to fit pretty much everything I needed into my quart bag for the week-long trip, so I figured I'd share what I brought and some general tips on packing makeup and toiletries for travel.

My liquids bag. Yes, I really like to push things to limit.
But as long as the bag closes easily you're OK!

Here's a full rundown of what's in my bag:

Skincare items:

Pictured above: The contents of a Sulwhasoo "Innerise" skincare sampler kit that I purchased off eBay - that's a first serum, toner, emulsion, essence and cream. Phew. That may seem like overkill but the containers are small (5-15ml each) and I do love my moisturizers. Next to the Sulwhasoo kit is a sample of Shiseido White Lucent foaming cleanser... I actually raided my sample pile for a bunch of random foaming/oil cleanser packets that I happened to have, because those little packets are much less bulky than bottles so you can throw a ton of them in without using up too much space. Of course I took this photo after my trip, so I had already used most of them up by then. :P

Pictured above: A couple of Innisfree "It's Real" sheet masks, Etude House "I'm Blooming" moisture mist in mini size, and a sample pack of TonyMoly Intense Care Dual Effect sleeping pack. Can you tell that I like to keep my skin hydrated? Lol. You sometimes see people using sheet masks on longer flights to rehydrate and relax, though our flight was only two hours so I waited until we got to the hotel. Mists are a really useful thing to have in your bag in general, because they are very refreshing on a hot summer day and are also good for quick rehydration when you're stuck in an overly air-conditioned or heated space. I suppose the sleeping pack is probably self-explanatory. :)


Pictured above: Precious Beauty Lip Therapy with aloe, e.l.f. Essential Eyelid Primer, Wet 'n' Wild Megaliner liquid eyeliner, Milani Runway Lashes mascara, and Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush lip gloss. No real story behind these items... they're all makeup items that I've been using regularly lately. It doesn't hurt that they're mostly cheap drugstore brands, because nobody wants to leave their most expensive cosmetics behind in a hotel accidentally. Not pictured because I forgot to include it: A mini-sized bottle of TonyMoly's Catchu lip tint. I like using lip tints under gloss and the sample-size bottle takes up a lot less space than the full one!

Pictured above: Sample packets of Lioele Dollish Veil (purple) and Etude House Precious Mineral BB cream, plus a mini perfume roller. These have been my two go-to BB creams lately, but rather than take up a ton of space in my bag with the huge containers and their giant pumps, I bought some sample packets off TesterKorea and eBay. I brought four of each and that was more than enough for the week! As for the perfume roller, I bought it off eBay and decanted my favorite fragrance into it. One can also buy miniature sizes of most perfumes, but the roller is convenient because it comes with a little cap to protect it from leaking, plus it was only a dollar and looks so cute. :)


Pictured above: A Bath & Body Works "PocketBac" hand-sanitizer, Basuch & Lomb "Opcon-A" antihistamine eye drops, and Jergens Original Cherry-Almond moisturizer in travel size. Not pictured: Neutrogena Dry Touch sunscreen (because I made my boyfriend carry it in his liquids bag, haha). I try to always carry hand sanitizer with me because the New York subway system is FILTHY (sorry, but it's true) and I feel like the water in airport bathrooms doesn't really get hot enough to actually kill germs. The eyedrops are sort of necessity because I have killer allergies and these are one of the few OTC drops I've tried that actually work for me, but not every store sells them so I didn't want to take a chance on not being able to find them in Chicago. And the Jergens lotion makes for a good all-purpose body moisturizer... hands, elbows, legs, you name it - it's bound to get dry after sitting on an airplane for a couple hours.

That's it for my liquids bag... but what about non-liquid cosmetics?

Non-liquid cosmetics and general tips:

  • Things like powder eyeshadow, blush, setting powder, pencils etc. do not count as liquids and can (and should be) packed in a separate bag. Personally I pack my dry makeup in a padded vinyl makeup bag, then wrap it in something soft (like a t-shirt) in the middle of my suitcase to prevent it from getting broken in transit.
  • Consider bringing makeup remover wipes instead of liquid. They won't get off waterproof mascara, but if you're the sort of person who just wears a little bit of BB cream and lipstick they do an OK job.
  • As for tools, your eyelash curler and round emery board is probably fine, but there are rules about sharp stuff. The TSA is now allowing scissors under 4 inches, so I guess that means nail scissors are OK!
  • According to the TSA blog, solid stick deodorant does not count as a liquid and can be brought on board in any size outside of the quart bag. Please be aware that aerosol, liquid and gel deodorants do count as a liquid and should be packed accordingly.
  • If you're staying in a hotel at your destination, consider leaving basic toiletries such as shampoo, soap and toothpaste behind, as most hotels will provide them free of charge or for a nominal fee.
  • For those of you who do prefer to check in your bag, PUT YOUR LIQUIDS IN PLASTIC BAGS. I cannot stress this enough. Even if you tape your bottles shut they can explode while they're in the air, and it's better to have that big gooey mess contained within a plastic bag rather than all over your clothes.
  • If you're using disposable/food storage plastic bags for your liquids (such as the Ziploc bag I used above) consider bringing extras in your suitcase. Plastic bags can break in transit, and if something does leak you'll want to quarantine it from your other stuff once you're past the security checkpoint.
  • Don't forget that certain foods and bottled drinks count as liquids too! If you're planning on bringing food with a gel-like consistency (such as peanut butter or hummus) then the same restrictions apply. As for water, consider bringing an empty bottle through security and filling it up at a fountain once you're through - or just buy an overpriced bottle at one of the airport shops past security. :)

How do you deal with the liquids restrictions on airplanes? What are your must-have travel toiletries?

Please note: I don't have any affiliation with the eBay sellers linked to above, they're just sellers I've purchased from before or ones that I discovered randomly! Please make sure to read seller feedback carefully before purchasing on eBay.

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