Can toothpaste be packed in your checked luggage?
In short, you can bring as much toothpaste as you want in your checked baggage. Whether it’s prescription toothpaste, travel-sized toothpaste, or regular old toothpaste, the TSA rules don’t prevent you from packing it in your checked baggage. It’s a good idea to put it in a toiletry bag, or a clear plastic bag inside your checked baggage, in case of leaks. You don’t want to arrive at your final destination with a toothpaste mess inside your checked baggage.
How much toothpaste can you pack in your carry-on luggage?
The TSA’s 3-1-1 rule is really helpful if you’re wondering if your tube of toothpaste can go in your carry-on baggage. Basically, you are allowed to bring liquid items that are no more than 3.4 ounces, or 100 millilitres. All liquid items in your carry-on luggage must fit in a quart-sized bag. This should be a clear plastic bag, so TSA agents can easily look inside when you cass through the airport security checkpoint.
What if my prescription toothpaste is bigger than what’s allowed by TSA’s 3-1-1 rule?
TSA rules have exemptions for travelers who must bring prescription toothpaste in their carry-on luggage. Here’s a link to TSA’s website for more information. It’s a good idea to let the TSA agents know you have prescription toothpaste in your carry-on luggage when you first arrive at the security checkpoint. This will allow the TSA officers to examine your tube of toothpaste. If you forget to flag your prescription toothpaste to airport security, you might be subject to additional screening.
Why is it a good idea to pack my tube of toothpaste in my carry-on baggage?
Well, first of all, because you’re allowed to! Toothpaste is specifically mentioned in the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, and TSA agents are used to seeing toothpaste passing through the security checkpoint. As long as you respect the size limits, and put it in a clear bag (a resealable bas is always a good idea), you won’t be subjected to any additional screening. But the most important reason for packing a tube of toothpaste in your hand luggage is the likelihood that your checked baggage gets lost. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your final destination without a tube of toothpaste and all the accompanying necessities from your toiletry bag. I therefore always travel with a travel size toothpaste in my carry-on luggage.
Where do I get travel-sized toothpaste tubes?
I always used to visit my local pharmacy for common travel items like deodorant, toothpaste, etc. I would head straight to the travel section to buy those mini-sized containers, as I didn’t want to go over the TSA liquid limit. Over time, I discovered that I could bypass the travel section when it came to picking up a tube of toothpaste. Lots of regular size toothpaste are actually within the TSA size limits. And they’re much cheaper! It’s a good idea to look closely, as some of the small tubes in the regular toothpaste aisle are exactly 100ml, or 3.4 ounces.
Aside from a tube of toothpaste, what other important items should I pack in my toiletry bag?
Here are the other top 15 personal items, which I always include in my carry-on luggage, alongside my tube of toothpaste:
- Toothbrush. It almost goes without saying, if you include a tube of toothpaste in your little clear plastic bag, you’ll also want to pack a toothbrush. Your toothbrush does not need to be stored in your quart-sized bag as it’s not a liquid product. Plus, it’s always a good idea to be able to freshen up your breath while you’re traveli
- Hand lotion. A lot of people find that their skin gets dry while travelling. It’s always a good idea to carry some hand lotion. Remember that just like your tube of toothpaste, it must be in 3.4-ounce containers (or smaller).
- Tissues and hand sanitizer. Frequent travelers always keep these items accessible in their carry-on luggage. For easy access, consider putting them in your shoulder bag, backpack, or in the front pocket of your roller bag.
- Wet wipes. We all know that airplanes are not the cleanest places, it’s a good idea to travel with some wet wipes. Give your seat area a quick wipe down after you pack away your carry on items in the overhead bin, but before you settle into your seat.
- Lip balm. Airplane cabins are notoriously dry, take care of your lips, put some lip balm in your shoulder bag or in the front pocket of your carry-on luggage.
- Deodorant. It seems obvious that you would pack deodorant…but some people put it in their checked baggage. What if your carry-on luggage is all that arrives with you at your final destination? You’ll be glad you put that deodorant in your hand luggage.
- Facial wipes. Facial wipes should always be included carry-on baggage. Although they’re moist, they don’t count as a liquid, so you don’t have to worry about them during the security screening process, and they can be left out of your clear plastic bag.
- Prescription medication. I always say, pack your prescription medication (prescription toothpaste as well as all other prescription mediation) in your carry-on luggage! You don’t want to start out your travel without essential prescription medication, in the event that your checked luggage is lost.
- Toiletry bag & resealable bag. Make sure you have easy access to your quart-sized bag of liquids, so it can be pulled out at the TSA checkpoint. It’s always a good idea to pack a few extra resealable bags for wet swimsuits, dirty items, etc. Your toiletry bag can store all of your non-liquid carry on items.
- Eye mask. These are good things to throw into your toiletry bag. They’re especially useful for sleeping on long international trips.
- Ear plugs. I just hate it when I’m flying internationally, and my seat neighbour stays up talking all night. Ear plugs help to drown out the noise, they’re also useful at noisy hotels.
- Emergen C. I swear by these little packets of vitamin C. I take one every morning with breakfast while I’m travelling to help keep my immune system strong. Consider tossing a few into your carry-on luggage next time you travel.
- First aid kit. All you need are a few basic items in your carry-on luggage: band aids (for cuts and blisters), some pain killers, sanitizing wipes. You never know when you might need a little bit of medical help.
- Compression socks. Last year, for the first time, I started wearing compression socks on long international trips. I find that my feet get swollen after a whole night of international travel by plane, and these tight fitting socks seem to really help out. They’re an easy item to roll up and stuff into your hand luggage.
- Blanket. If you’re going on a shorter flight, you might choose to omit this item from your carry-on luggage. However, if you’re spending a longer period of time on the plane, consider packing a blanket in your carry-on baggage. Read my post, Can you bring a blanket on the plane? for more about this.
My concluding thoughts on personal care items and carry-on luggage.
Whether you’re travelling for work for the first time, gearing up for some international travel, or looking to streamline things for your next trip, a packing plan for your carry-on luggage is always a good idea. Take a look at this article, 42 Essential Carry-On Items, for more great ideas on preparing your carry-on luggage for smooth sailing through airport security on your next trip.