TSA Travel-Size Rules and Essentials


Planning a trip, whether for work or pleasure, can send us through a whirlwind of emotions: excitement, anticipation, sometimes anxiety. The transit portion of the trip can be the most stressful with getting to the airport on time and past security. Even experienced travelers sometimes forget the TSA travel-size guidelines which slows everyone down. Downsizing your toiletries can be the key to sailing through security and starting your travels on the right foot.  

3-1-1 Liquid Rule

The TSA travel-size requirements on liquids in carry-on luggage cause the most mistakes and most time lost in the line at the airport. Remember the 3-1-1 rule as you pack: liquids must be in containers smaller than 3.4 fluid ounces. The containers must fit in one clear zip-lock bag. Only one bag per person.

The only exceptions are medications and fluids such as milk needed for children. These items need to be clearly labeled and stored separately, and you need to inform the TSA agent. They do have to be screened, but you won’t have to throw them away like you would any other liquids.

What to pack?

Fitting everything you need for a trip into one quart-sized bag can be a challenge. Start by assessing your personal grooming products: what do you use on a daily basis, what do you need to take, and what would you like to take if there’s room?

Consult this list of liquid, toiletry essentials to help you determine what to pack:

  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Face & body wash
  • Shaving cream
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Hairspray/gel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Makeup: foundation, liquid eyeliner, lipstick, mascara, etc.
  • Makeup remover
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Nail polish & remover
  • Oxford & Wells Premium Ironing Starch

What if one of your required items doesn’t come in an approved TSA travel-sized bottle? Never fear: this doesn’t mean you have to check a bag. Simply fill a reusable travel size container with your product. Many times the “travel size” 3 oz. is more than you need for a trip, so get a variety of 1 oz. and 2 oz. bottles. You can even get tiny jars to put a travel-sized amount of makeup in. Think “mini” on everything: mini nail polish bottles, samples of perfume, etc. For a long-term trip, we suggest you purchase items as you go rather than bringing full-sized bottles.

Your brand name shampoo may be non-negotiable to you, but you might use the hotel shampoo which would save you space. A quick phone call can confirm which amenities are available at your accommodation. You may be able to eliminate several standard items.

Another space-saving tip is to consider any items that can be replaced or combined. For example, you could use facial cloths instead of face wash and makeup remover. Many liquid based cosmetics could be substituted (pencil instead of liquid eyeliner, powder instead of a cream rouge), effectively cutting back on the number of liquids, creams, and gels in your bag.

The Often Overlooked

Don’t forget that aerosols count toward your liquid allowance and must be in the clear bag at the security check as well. Toiletry related aerosols such as hairspray and deodorant are allowed; however, any aerosol not intended for personal hygiene is most likely off limits. Incidentally, don’t forget about the liquids you may have packed that are unrelated to your personal grooming. It can be too easy to overlook other liquids in your luggage. For instance, if you buy a souvenir snowglobe on your travels, that contains liquid, and it must meet the TSA’s regulations.

Bon Voyage!

With your approved TSA travel-sized essentials you are ready to explore without checking a bag. You’ll look crisp and fresh at your destination thanks to Oxford & Wells fine care products. Shop with us today for travel sized packs of your favorite Oxford & Wells fragrance.