Packing Wine & Beer in Your Luggage | How to Safely Transport Beverages on Your Trip

Hi there, it’s Ernest from Trip Astute. In
this video, we’re exploring a common question, especially for those of you
traveling back from Europe … How to transport wine and beer in your luggage? (light chiming music) I’ve struggled with the idea of
transporting alcohol from my travel destination. While it seems intuitive to
me that I would transport them via carry-on rather than my checked-in bag,
you really don’t have a choice. Security protocols for most
international flights in the US require that you transport liquids via checked-in luggage. So, suppose you’re visiting France, Italy, or Germany, and you pick up
a few bottles of wine or beer. What’s the best way to transport it back in your
suitcase? Well, the most efficient way would be to use your
clothing to minimize the impacts and vibrations. Most travel experts
advise putting your bottle in a sealed bag, then placing them in a pair of socks.
Then, wrap the bottles with the thickest clothing that you have in your suitcase.
When placing the bottles and cans inside your suitcase or bag, you want to create
as much buffer as possible from the sides of the suitcase. Basically, you want
to avoid having the bottles or cans from touching the edge of your bag. You want
to use your clothes and shoes to create layers on all sides, then place the
bottles and cans toward the middle. I suggest staggering the bottles and also
making sure that there’s enough material so the bottles and cans don’t touch one
another. You want to pay special attention to the neck of the bottles
too, as it’s definitely the most likely spot to break while transporting. Also,
keep in mind that while these packing tips apply to any type of bottled or canned
beverage, there are specific limits defined by the government. Here in the US,
Customs will allow you to bring in an unlimited amount of wine as long as it’s
under 24 percent alcohol by volume. And according to the rules, only one liter of
the wine that you import is duty-free. Anything above the liter is subject to
a three percent tax. While it’s not much of a fee, and to be honest, it seems to be
rarely enforced, it’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning to
transport wine. Also, transporting liquor is a whole other issue and topic. I
won’t get into the details, but just know that the United States TSA prohibits any
air travel with liquor that’s over 140 proof. So, getting back to beer and wine,
here’s some additional tips to keep in mind. Number one: Use wine skins and
bottle protectors. There are several inexpensive products that are geared to
help travelers transport wine bottles. While you can use a normal plastic bag,
these specialized pouches often provide extra cushioning, as well as absorbent padding and sealing to protect the contents of your bag from any potential
leaks. They’re fairly inexpensive and some are even reusable. Number two: Keep a
copy of the rules with you. Every once in a while, you may encounter an airline or
airport employee who hassles you about checking in your beverages. Having a copy
of the TSA and airline rules with you can help in case you encounter any
problems during the check-in process. I’ll include a link to the TSA
guidelines in the video description below. In addition, if you’re traveling
internationally, you may want to do a quick google search on your departure
country’s rules before your trip just to be safe.
Some countries may restrict the amount of wine or beer that can travel out of
the country, or impose special fees. Number three: Consider shipping your alcohol
instead. If you’re traveling domestically, it might be easier to have your alcohol
shipped to you directly so you don’t have to worry about packing it. However,
if you’re traveling internationally, it’s usually cheaper to transport your wine
or beer via your luggage, even if you have to pay additional baggage or custom
fees. This is because by using your luggage, you can usually avoid the
value-added tax imposed during shipping, also known as VAT. Number four: Consider
bottles instead of cans. While cans may seem more durable
since aluminum is more malleable, they are actually more prone to bursting if
compressed. This is especially true if your luggage gets stuck under a bunch of
other heavy suitcases. So, if given the choice, you’re probably
better off transporting bottles instead of cans. Number five: Use a hard suitcase. A
hard suitcase is a much better choice if you’re planning to transport alcohol. In
general, hard suitcases should protect the contents of your bag more
effectively, and may reduce the additional compression from being
stacked under other bags. It’s not a requirement, but if you have the option, I
would opt for a hard suitcase if you’re planning to transport your beverages.
Number six: Carry a collapsible duffel bag. A small collapsible duffel bag can
easily save the day if you happen to stuff your bag with alcohol and you run
out of space for all your clothes and personal items. Rather than over stuffing
your suitcase, you’re better off having the extra luggage space if needed.
Number seven: Buy a wine suitcase. If you’re a wine enthusiast or someone who
buys a lot of wine while traveling, then your best bet is to buy a dedicated bag
for this purpose. There are plenty of options out there, and most are fairly
pricey, but if you’re buying expensive bottles of wine, then this is by far the
safest option for transport. Have you ever checked in wine or beer in your
suitcase? If so, did it survive the flight? Let us know in a comment section below.
We’ve included Amazon links to some of the products mentioned in this video. As
always, Trip Astute does get a percentage if you use our link. It doesn’t cost you
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next time, travel safe and travel smart.


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