Travel season is still upon us and this summer has been a busy one with travel back to pre-pandemic levels. 2.884 million passengers went through TSA checkpoints on one day (!!) in June. That means travelers are taking to the skies again in record numbers.
Although you can’t bring full sized alcohol into the cabin with you as per FAA guidelines, checking alcohol from a special trip like a favorite brewery or distillery from your travels or bringing your favorite bottle of wine to your family across the country can be done but it takes finesse to make sure it is packed correctly. Not packing liquids safely and securely can make a mess and cause a lot of headaches like alcohol soaked souvenirs. I once ruined all the chocolate I bought from Belgium because of a leaky beer bottle.
There are many items on the market you can use to protect your drinks like fancy suitcases to specialty shaped wine bags and more. But I find there are easy things you can do to make sure your beer, wine or spirits makes the journey safely with stuff you have already at home. Please do remember if you are traveling internationally or are coming back to the U.S., make sure you are following customs rules properly.
Bring The Following Supplies With You
Here’s what you’ll need: a couple of freezer bags that are large enough to hold a bottle or a few cans. Companies now make jumbo freezer bags that are perfect for this. Packing/duct/any strong adhesive tape is optional but adds an extra layer of security. An essential packing item is a towel (I like a beach towel because they have large surface area) to cradle the alcohol in and wrap up your precious cargo. In case there is spillage, the towel will act as a barrier between your items and the liquid.
How to Pack Up The Alcohol
Put the alcohol into the freezer bag and seal close tightly, pushing all the air out of the bag. I pack one wine/spirits bottle per bag or three beer cans/bottles per bag. Tape the top of the bag shut for extra security although this is optional but recommended. Next, put the alcohol in the center of the suitcase with the towel underneath it. Then, wrap the towel around and over the alcohol so it is secure, like wrapping up a gift. You shouldn’t be able to see the alcohol once this is complete.
Close the suitcase and lift/shake a few times. Everything should be snug and you shouldn’t hear the liquid jostle around or feel anything move. If everything feels secure, then you are good to go!
It’s recommended that the minute you get to your destination, especially if it’s beer, put it in a fridge or a cold, dark place like a closet to keep it as fresh as possible.
I’ve used this way to pack alcohol countless times and I’ve never had an issue but this isn’t foolproof as there is always a risk something could go wrong. With several layers of protection from plastic bags to the big towel, you should be okay.
The peace of mind knowing your gifts and souvenirs are safe will help you travel with less stress. Enjoy your vacations and relax, perhaps with a drink in hand. Cheers!