Can Perfume Be Checked in Luggage at Airport?

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You're far from home, but smell like home.
You're far from home, but smell like home. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The smell of air travel -- a combination of sweat, greasy airport food and the odors of your fellow passengers -- lingers on you for hours after arrival. Unpacking your suitcase to find your favorite perfume makes all of that melt away. Though airport security measures make flying with some liquids a complicated endeavor, packing your perfume in your checked luggage is far easier than finding the perfect scent was.

Official Guidelines

Packing perfume in a carry-on bag takes some advance planning; the Transportation Security Administration only allows travelers to carry liquids through security in amounts of 3.4 ounces or less. Checked luggage is another story, however. You're not limited in the amount of perfume you can pack in your suitcase (though it's always wise when packing checked luggage to check your airline's weight limits). And while flammable liquids in luggage are strictly regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, you are allowed to travel with potentially hazardous materials as long as they're toiletries, such as nail polish remover, hairspray and perfume. When flying internationally, check with the country's embassy and your airline for luggage rules, but you'll likely find that checked perfume is allowed. Bottom line: you probably won't face any official objections when packing perfume in your checked luggage.

Packing Perfume

A small leak in your perfume bottle is all it takes to ruin all the contents of your suitcase. Since your checked baggage might pass through the hands of careless airport workers or go tumbling down a bumpy conveyor belt, a bottle of perfume must be packed with extreme caution. Cushion the bottle as much as possible to prevent jostling. Place the bottle in its original packaging if possible, or carefully cut a crevice into a thick piece of foam and nestle the perfume inside before fitting the foam into a small box. In a pinch, wrap sturdy tape around the bottle cap to prevent leaks and tuck the perfume into a thick sock. Pack the perfume at the center of your suitcase in between layers of clothing or tucked into a shoe for extra protection.

Perfume Alternatives

Unless you're headed on a lengthy trip or just can't bear to live without your favorite bottle of perfume, you might find that scented alternatives are easier to pack and diminish the risk of leaks. Your local department store might carry travel versions of your chosen scent; look for small, plastic vials that won't break as easily as your glass bottle. A solid stick of your favorite brand is even easier to pack since there's no chance it will leak, and in its solid form you can carry your perfume in your carry-on if you wish. A scented lotion might fulfill all your travel needs, too. The scent will linger through a full day of sightseeing, and the added moisture is beneficial in dry climates.

Considerations

Consider whether your favorite scent is appropriate for your destination. You wouldn't pack your most beloved wool sweater for a trip to Jamaica, and your heavy, woodsy perfume might seem out of place there too. Now's the time to take stock of your perfume collection and pick out a new scent if necessary. Smell the samples at the perfume counter and try to find a scent that matches your destination. Opt for light florals and fruity scents for a warm or tropical locale; warm amber or vanilla notes work better in chilly temperatures. No matter how delicious you find your perfume, resist the urge to spritz it on before your flight. The scent could be overpowering in the tight confines of the plane, so wait to spray it on until you're unpacking at your destination.

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