If you plan to take to the skies this summer, you should know that certain carry-on rules are in effect. No, not the rules that your airline has, but the restrictions placed on travelers by the Transportation Security Administration or TSA. The TSA is tasked with keeping people safe while traveling. Here is what you need to know about bringing liquids with you.

Just Say: 3-1-1

Airline passengers and their luggage are screened as they pass through X-ray. To make it simple for passengers to know what to bring, the TSA has a 3-1-1 rule that applies. Just so you know “311” stands for information; it also aligns closely with the size of the liquids you can bring.


The TSA allows bottles containing 3.4 ounces of fluid or less by volume. You can also bring one quart-sized plastic, zip top bag and place that in the screening bin. Your liquids must fit in that bag and only one bag is allowed per traveler.

When passing through screening, TSA may check your baggage. Each time that a bag is checked, this slows down processing. Ensure that your liquids are in order to allow for a seamless pass-through and on to your gate.

Liquid Considerations

If your trip is short (domestic) you can place your liquids in your checked luggage. The same container sizes apply, but it won’t hold up your personal x-raying as that will be handled separately.

For mothers traveling with babies, you can bring baby formula and food. The TSA allows food, formula and breast milk in reasonable quantities. Be prepared to declare these items when arriving at your checkpoint and expect officers to examine these items for further screening.

If you have medications, these can be brought with you too. Medications should be labeled with name of the prescription, the doctor’s information and pharmacy details on the label.

Flying International

If you are flying internationally and are ready to make your return home, you are allowed to bring with you liquids larger than the 3.4 ounce (100 ml) limit ascribed to domestic fliers. As long as these items were purchased in duty-free shops and placed in secure, tamper-evident bags you are free to bring them with you.

Larger liquids will be screened and may be included with your carry-on. If the unable to be screened and cleared, you will be instructed to place them in checked luggage or otherwise you will have to leave them behind before you enter airport screening.

Safety Considerations

Airline passengers should know that TSA rules and restrictions are subject to change. By following the traveler information section on the TSA website, you can keep up with the updates and avoid problems at the airport.

See AlsoHow to Save Big Bucks on Amtrak