Liquids, Gels & Aerosols In Your Carry On.


When travelling internationally, you need to obey the rules of the country you are leaving from *and* the country you are going to. Australia works on the Metric system – the USA works on a variation of the Imperial system. This can cause major confusion. Thankfully sanity prevailed, and the rules are the same for both the US and Australia now.

Here are the liquids, gels & aerosols in your carry on rules for Australia.

The TSA – basically the security people at the airport in the USA – requires liquids, gels and aerosols in your carry on luggage to be contained in a quart sized ziploc style bag. It can be a different brand – in Australia you are most likely to find Glad versions but there are also other versions available.

Items within the bag must be limited to 100 ml (3.4 ounces) – thus creating a whole new section of travel sized toiletries in the supermarkets and pharmacies.

There are many good reasons why this rule exists. Some people think it is due to 9-11 but it actually is due to series of events – an explosion that occurred on a plane in 1994 where liquid nitroglycerin was used, which was concealed in a contact lens bottle, and following that a foiled plot to explode 12 planes in 1995 – most importantly, the 2006 foiled plots. Liquid restrictions known as the 3-1-1 rule began across the USA on 26 September 2006.

If you want to read a bit more about this, the TSA blog has this great post about it. More on the liquid rules – why we do the things we do. Here is a great how to post from Wikihow – How to Pack Liquid and Gels on a Plane

People may be annoyed by it, and gripe and complain – that is their right. In many ways I believe this policy does us a favour – it is certainly better than the alternative which was not to allow liquids, gels or aerosols at all on planes and that did happen for a while after these foiled plots – and here are my reasons why.

1. Containers can leak. Inside your ziploc bag, as long as you have correctly zipped it, any liquids that leak out will remain inside the ziploc rather than spreading through your carryon.

2. Air inside containers with liquids in them can expand in flight, making your containers leak. I don’t want to get too technical about this, but here is a great thread on flyertalk for more info if you want to read up on it.

3. All your liquids and gels are now together in one convenient bag within your carryon, for ease of access during flight.

Items that are considered to be liquids, gels or aerosols include –

– all creams and lotions – bug sprays – bubble bath and bath oil including filled bath balls – gel deodorants – gel cap pills – hair styling gels – hair sprays of all kinds – hair straightener or detangler – lip gels, glosses, or liquids – liquid foundations – liquid soaps – make up remover or facial cleanser – mascara – mouthwash – nail polish and remover – perfume or cologne – shaving gel – toothpaste –

Food and Drinks –

ALL beverages – gel based sports supplements – jello – puddings – yoghurts or gel like substances

Also included as gels –

– baby teethers with gel inside – childrens toys with gel inside

For more information on what is and what is not allowed, I wish I could link you to a comprehensive list on the TSA site, however SeatGuru has a much better version and here is a link to that – click here.

I highlighted gel cap pills – please note these do need to be carried in your ziploc style bag, so if you have put any of those into your travel light medical kit, dig them out and put them into your ziploc. EG Nurofen liquid capsules, or any capsules with a gel outer coating, like some vitamins have.

What happens if you get it wrong?

You will possibly be pulled aside at  security, they may want to find the items they think are liquids which they saw on the security scan which are not in your ziploc, it will hold up the processing of passengers, and you might even end up in an office with some security people answering questions, if they think you were trying to conceal an item. This is Not.Good. So make sure you follow the instructions to the letter. 😉

If you are only taking carryon to Oahu Beedoo suggests –

Pack roll on deodorant, toothpaste, lip gloss, moisturizer, hand sanitizer, a Vicks Inhaler or an Olbas inhaler, a small roll on perfume – Avon makes a good range of these. If you need nasal spray for the plane, this goes in your ziploc bag too.

Do not worry about packing –

shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, larger bottles of perfume . These things are available very cheaply in the US and it is nice to have a change of shampoo and conditioner when you are travelling. The ABC store has a nice range of quite cheap toiletries, and they have a range of perfumes I like called Forever Florals – I like Pineapple Passion – they do stock several different perfumes.

Me personally I am not a great fan of the sunscreens available at the ABC stores, nor do they have an especially large range of shampoos and conditioners. For these items I would recommend you take a trip to either Walgreens near Ala Moana or Longs/CVS at Ala Moana as they will have a larger range at lower prices, and you will have a better chance of finding something reef safe sunscreen wise.

*Apologies for the not so optimal photo in this post – it gives you an idea of what I would take but this is not my actual pack for the next trip. I did not have a small sized toothpaste handy – added it to my shopping list.

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