Dawn’s FAQ of the Week: Liquids in my carry-on bag?

“I want to pack everything in my ‘carry-on’ luggage. But what about liquids?”

It’s certainly a challenge packing for a once in lifetime trip within the strict luggage guidelines imposed by most air carriers in Africa, which is typically 33 pounds per person including carry-on luggage. The two guiding themes here are “pack light” and “don’t forget anything important!”

A common packing strategy for ADS guests is to try and fit all their luggage into a carry on bag for the international flight to Africa.  This is not an easy task, but should you choose to travel this way you will be rewarded with no lost luggage, less hassle at airports and overall a lighter load to manage!

First of all, be sure you review your specific airline carrier’s requirements for carry on luggage.  Most airlines publish size and weight requirements on their website.  For example, here are KLM’s requirements:  KLM Carry-On Luggage Requirements

The worst thing that can happen is you carefully pack all your important items into your carry on luggage, only the have the airline make you ‘check it’ anyway because you exceeded their allowable weight or size requirements!  So if in doubt, go ahead and plan to check a bag.  Just be sure to put all of your really important items and at least 1 change of clothing into your carry-on bag, just in case your checked bag gets delayed by a day or two.

All that being said, if you decide to try and get everything in your carry-on bag after all, here are some tips regarding liquids, which is the most common dilemma I’m asked about regarding a carry-on:



• TIP#1:  Review current TSA rules for liquids 3-1-1 rule. TSA published 3-1-1 rules

• TIP#2:  Use hotel amenities. Most hotels and camps include complimentary toiletries such as shampoo and shower gel. Some hotels even include body lotion and hair conditioner, but if these items are really important to you I would consider bringing at least a small supply of your own.

• TIP#3:  Go Solid with Sunscreen. Like this one by Hawaiian Tropic.

• TIP#4:  Insect repellent pre-packaged wipes, like these OFF! Deep Woods Towlettes

• TIP#5:  Facial cleansing wipes instead of liquid facial cleanser, like these Olay Wet Cleansing Towelettes 

• TIP#6: Pack multiple small bottles.

•TIP#7:  Contact lens solution is considered a “medically necessary” liquid and is allowed in your carry-on luggage even if the amount is greater than 3 ounces.  You simply need to declare it to the TSA agent when you are going through security.

•TIP#9: For more helpful advice about specific products that work well as alternatives to liquids for carry-on luggage, you can read these helpful tips at the following link on Bootsnall website.

Happy Packing!