Top vitamin packing  tips for traveling

Traveling with Supplements: Tips, Tricks and the TSA

By: Brooke Diaz

Scientifically Reviewed By: Michael A. Smith, MD

Whether you're traveling for business, pleasure, or both, careful planning is essential, from what you take in your carry-on luggage or how you maximize the space in your checked baggage to how many shoes you need to bring. You need to pack what you'll need to survive a few days (or weeks, if you're lucky!) away from home.

And if you prioritize your health and nutrition, that's going to mean packing the vitamins and supplements that are in your routine, plus possibly a few additions (more on that in a bit).

If you're tempted to leave them at home, we'd argue that a vacation or business trip is the worst possible time to lapse from your routine! Travel is about memory-making adventures and discovering new places (or visiting familiar ones), which means you'll eat differently or enter time zones that may tip your sleep schedule off balance. The right supplements can help you adapt, promoting digestion, immune health, restful sleep, muscle recovery and more.

The only catch? How to pack them. Different government agencies have varying policies for traveling with supplements, plus you want to ensure they arrive undamaged by heat or the weight of the other items you've put in your suitcases.

Not to worry! Here are some ideas to help you pack vitamins and stay on track to support your health and well-being while you're away from home.

Can you travel with supplements?

Yes! On planes, trains or automobiles, vitamins can make the trip with you. Of course, how you pack will vary depending on what type of trip you're embarking on. For example, if a road trip is in your future, you can organize and store your supplements in a way that makes them easy to find. On the other hand, if you're traveling by air, the rules change (more on that later). Pro tip: Always check the supplement bottle for any special storage instructions.

Why do the rules change when you travel by air? Because when you go through security screening, you must follow the guidelines set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA recommends clearly labeling your supplements to keep things moving steadily and speedily through airport security.

When you bring vitamins onto your flight, remember that you are responsible for handling, displaying, and repacking your supplements when or if screening is required. And all final decisions are up to the discretion of the TSA checkpoint officer. It's always a good idea to check the laws in your area and where you're heading to before flying.

Do supplements have to be in original containers when flying?

It depends. If your supplements are in solid form (think capsules, tablets, or gummies) you can pack as many as you want, and they don't have to be in their original containers.

Thinking about bringing liquid vitamins? You'll want to keep them in their original containers. There's a volume limit of 3.4 oz or 100 mL, and the supplements must be packed in your checked luggage in a clear quart-sized Ziploc bag. Thankfully, many liquid vitamins you may consider (vitamin D, for example) are often sold in increments of 30 milliliters.

Herbal supplements like ashwagandha are not considered different from other vitamins and dietary supplements, so the same rules around solid, liquid, and powdered forms apply.

But while you may not need to keep your supplements in their original containers, it will make things easier for everyone if you keep all your supplements clearly labeled. (That way you won't accidentally swap your morning multivitamin with your evening melatonin…oops!)

How do you fly with powdered supplements?

Are powder supplements part of your nutritional routine? You're not alone. We love a good whey, collagen, or super greens scoop to enhance smoothies, but the bulk-size plastic jugs they come in are not exactly conducive to travel. Talk about taking up unnecessary space!

The good news? There are no restrictions on powders when flying between U.S. airports. Keep in mind that powders over 12 oz (350 mL), must be placed in a separate bin during the checkpoint screening process and might mean additional screening or opening. To skip this step and make things easier, TSA recommends placing powder over 12 oz in your checked bag. Either way, be sure to place it in a plastic bag to prevent spillage or make it easy to place into its own bin during checkpoint screening.

10 tips and tricks for traveling with supplements

Ready to pack your supplements like a pro? Here's a cheat sheet for your next trip!

  1. Pick your priorities:

    Staying healthy and enjoying your trip is a top priority. Before you set off on your travels, take inventory of what supplements make the most sense to pack for your specific needs. This is especially important if you are strapped for space or time. Pro tip: Your stay-well travel strategy should focus on supporting digestive, sleep and immune health.
  2. Probiotics for gut health:

    An unquestionable upside of travel is that you get to indulge in delicacies that delight your palate, but the downside may be that your gut microbiome, home to trillions of organisms, can be sensitive to changes in routine, diet, sleep, food choices and more. Packing probiotics is a win for your gastrointestinal health.
  3. Safeguard your defenses:

    Undoubtably, staying healthy when you travel is crucial for making the most out of your trip (whether it's a romantic getaway or not). Vitamins D and C may take the spotlight for immune support, but zinc can be the ace up your sleeve to help support optimal immune function while you travel.
  4. Sweet dreams everywhere:

    Whether it's a business trip or a much-needed vacation, following your sleep hygiene as best as you can is a non-negotiable when you travel. Pack your melatonin, ashwagandha or preferred sleep-friendly supplements to help your body keep up with the adventures by getting the quality sleep it needs.
  5. Powder power hack:

    Pour the powder into a heavy-duty resealable bag or other secure container and fasten the scoop with tape or a twist tie to the container. Label the bag or container clearly with something very straightforward (i.e., "whey protein"). It'll help when you go through security because it can be confirmed easily with swabbing. Bringing a water bottle and a small funnel will make it easier to mix your beverage.
  6. Gear up for increased activity: It's not unusual to log many more steps than usual when you're on vacation, even if hiking's not on the agenda. After all, you've got a lot of ground to cover! Plus, you might be inspired to go for a victory lap around a new-to-you city or dance the night away. A fast-acting joint support supplement can help you stay comfortable every step of the way.
  7. Manage your subscriptions:

    Perhaps a long-term trip away is on the horizon. If that's the case and you have a subscription plan for regular supplement shipments, check your subscription at least one week before the next shipment and adjust the address and frequency as needed.
  8. Pack smart:

    Secure your supplements in your carry-on luggage and seal everything tightly. If you're bringing liquids, consider putting them in a plastic bag in case the pressure from flying causes spillage.
  9. Consider the climate:

    Even if your vacation isn't somewhere tropical, your luggage may be exposed to a variety of temperatures while you're in the air. Liquids, powders and gummies tend to be more vulnerable to heat than tablets, capsules and other solid forms. So, if you normally get your vitamins in liquid form, consider switching to a solid just for your vacation.
  10. Get a supplement case:

    If you removed your vitamins from their original packaging to save space, you could just stick them in a labeled resealable bag, but we recommend investing in a compact case with individual compartments for each day to make it easier to stay organized. Another great option is purchasing individually packed supplements with the dosage directions still intact. You can also take a photo of each bottle's label for easy access to directions.

And check! Your travel cheat list is set. You're ready to travel and enjoy the world with your must-have supplements by your side.

About the Author: Brooke L. Diaz has written for some of the world’s most notable brands—including Aveda, Macy’s, Gap and Chopra Global. She is certified in youth coaching and meditation and teaches strength, movement, and mindfulness to elementary-age children with her small business, Camp Vitamin C™. She’s also a dedicated mother of two.



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