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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

4-1-1 on your 3-1-1 Liquid Bags

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If you're going to be a one bag packer, then you've got to understand the rules of what you can and can't take with you on your trip. We'll start with the 3-1-1 bag.

3-1-1 refers to the rules regarding liquids that you can carry on to an airplane with you.
  • 3 refers to "3.4 ounces," the maximum size bottle you can bring.
  • 1 refers to "one quart," the size bag you can put your bottles in.
  • 1 refers to "one bag," which is the total number of quart sized bags you can fill with 3 oz. bottles.

Some tips of the trade:
  1. If you can buy liquids at your destination, do that!
  2. Take your 3-1-1 bag out of your luggage before going through security. You're going to have to pull it out anyway, might as well keep the line moving by being prepared.
  3. Only put liquids in your 3-1-1 bag. Put all other toiletries together in a separate bag.
  4. "Travel Size" shampoos & sunscreens are only about 1 oz. each. If you'll be gone more than a few days buy 3 oz. travel bottles and fill each with products you already have in the house.
  5. "Travel Size" toothpaste also only comes in a 1 oz. tube. In the regular toothpaste aisle you can find 3 oz. tubes (I know Colgate makes them) that are surprisingly large.
  6. Stick deodorant can be any size and you don't need to put it in your 3-1-1 bag.
  7. Consider carrying small bar soap instead of body wash. Bar soap does not need to be in your 3-1-1 bag.
  8. Carry back-up quart size bags or only use the quart-size bag for traveling. They get gross if you use your toiletries out of this bag.
  9. I carry liquid detergent because I have the space in my 3-1-1 bag. If you don't, consider powder detergent.
  10. "Common size facial cosmetic and medicinal products in a tube, for example mascara, lip gloss, and lip balm are not required to be placed in the 1 qt. bag." (source)
  11. On a recent trip to Africa, I brought bug repellent wipes that didn't need to go in my liquid bag and they worked great. There are also sunscreen wipes but these weren't as effective as lotion for me.

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