Can you bring sunscreen on a plane?
Whether you’re headed to an exotic tropical destination with picture-perfect beaches or a famous city with spectacular architecture, traveling usually means spending a lot of time outdoors. That means remembering to pack sunscreen. Can you bring sunscreen on a plane, or do you need to buy some at your destination?
Can you bring sunscreen on a plane in your carry-on bags?
If you have a favorite sun care brand, it makes sense to stick with that instead of buying a bottle of greasy, heavy sunscreen on site. The good news is that you can pack your preferred sunscreen in your carry-on. There’s just one catch: Container size.
According to the TSA, you can only take along containers of sunscreen no bigger than 3.4 fluid ounces or 100 ml in your carry-on bag. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunscreen, skin cream with SPF protection, or an aerosol. If it’s over 3.4 fluid ounces (100ml), you’ll have to put it in checked luggage (or surrender it at security!). The TSA quickly retracted a statement in April 2021 which allowed full-sized sunscreens on carry-ons; 3.4fl.oz. is still the limit of your sunscreen container.
If your sunscreen container is smaller than 3.4fl.oz., you may also carry multiple containers as long as you meet the 3-1-1 liquids rule, where they all fit in one quart-sized bag.
Can you get sunburned on a plane?
If you’re like other skin-conscious travelers, one reason you might want to bring sunscreen on a plane is concern about getting sunburned through airplane windows.
You’re probably not going to get sunburned on a plane even if you’re sitting in the window seat, but you may still be exposed to UV rays. The various layers of cabin glass are good at blocking UVB rays, which cause sunburns, but not all aircraft windows block harmful UVA rays.
That said, most modern passenger cabin windows are made with three layers of plastic and are effective at blocking UV rays, so sun exposure is less likely to affect you. One way to ensure that you block these rays completely is to pull down the blinds if you are sitting by the window.
For peace of mind, you may want to reapply sunscreen every few hours.
Can you bring sunscreen on a plane in Europe?
European rules are nearly identical to U.S. rules for liquids. In carry-on luggage you can only take one liter (or should we say “litre!”) total and 100 ml per container.
Can you bring sunscreen on a plane in your checked bags?
The TSA allows for containers of no more than 500 ml or 17 fluid ounces in your checked luggage. You also need to keep the total amount of liquids in your checked toiletry bag under 2 liters, or 68 fluid ounces. This means you can pack a large bottle for the whole family, or have everyone pack a big bottle for themselves to be sure there will be enough throughout the trip.
Another great option is to give everybody their own travel-size bottle. That way, it’s easy to reapply without having to dig through the beach tote or the luggage.
When planning your trip, keep in mind that adequate coverage — where you cover your entire body — usually requires about one ounce of sunscreen (adding another 2-3 fingers’ worth for your entire face and neck). You need to reapply in the sun every two hours. That means each person on vacation is likely to go through a 17-ounce bottle in four or five days.
Can you bring sunscreen on a plane — stylishly?
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