We handpick every product we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page.

Can you bring sunscreen on an airplane?

You still have to follow the 3-1-1 rule, even with sunscreen.

One thing you don’t want to forget to bring with you is sunscreen

One thing you don’t want to forget to bring with you is sunscreen

Evrymmnt/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Oftentimes, people are getting on airplanes to visit a sunny paradise and spend a few days relaxing in the sun. If that sounds like you, one thing you don’t want to forget to bring with you is sunscreen. Otherwise, you could be in for a rough couple of days towards the end of your trip! 

Speaking from experience, I spent five days in Hawaii without any sunscreen, and by the fifth day, I could barely go outside without being in pain. Don’t be like me. Pack your sunscreen.  

But with all the rules around what you can and can’t bring on an airplane, many travelers are left wondering whether you even can bring your own sunscreen, or if you should just buy some once you land.  

So, let’s clear up any confusion and get you ready for the trip of a lifetime. 

Is sunscreen allowed on airplanes? 

We’ll get into the different ways that you can and can’t bring sunscreen on an airplane shortly, but let’s get down to the nitty-gritty right away. The answer is yes, you can bring sunscreen on an airplane when you fly. This includes lotions, aerosols, gels, and any other standard form of sunscreen that you might find at the store. 

The only things you need to worry about when you’re packing your sunscreen are which bag you pack it in and how big the container is. 

Can you bring sunscreen in your carry-on? 

Many travelers seem to think that you can’t pack any liquids or aerosols in your carry-on bag, but that’s simply not true. You can bring liquids – including sunscreen – in your carry-on luggage, they just can’t exceed 3.4 ounces in volume. This requirement is outlined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and we’ll explain this rule more later on. 

There is some conflicting information about bringing sunscreen in your carry-on bag out there right now because of an errant report from the TSA from 2021. In this report, the agency stated that large containers of sunscreen could be packed in a carry-on bag if it was medically necessary. However, this was corrected in April of 2021, and the above rule still applies across the board. 

If you aren’t sure what classifies as carry-on luggage, all airlines have their own policies. Thankfully, there are standard carry-on bags that work for just about all airlines.

Here are some of the best carry-on bags to pack sunscreen in: 

Made By Design Hardside Carry-On Spinner 

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage 

Away Standard Carry-On 


Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Luggage 

Do personal items have different rules than normal carry-on bags? 

Just like with carry-on bags, all airlines have their own rules and guidelines surrounding the specifics of a personal item. But in most cases, these include things such as backpacks, tote bags, laptop cases, purses, and other small items.  

Some examples of personal items include: 

The Away Everywhere Bag 

July Carry All Backpack Series 2 

Open Story Traveler Backpack 

Open Story

Samsonite Upright Wheeled Underseater 

As long as you’re allowed to bring a personal item on the plane in the first place, the rules for carrying sunscreen are the same as they are for carry-on bags. So if you’re traveling light and only have a personal item, you can still bring your sunscreen as long as you adhere to TSA guidance. 

Can you pack sunscreen in a checked bag? 

If you’re planning on traveling with a larger container of sunscreen, don’t fret. The 3.4-ounce limit only applies to carry-on luggage and personal items. In your checked baggage, you can bring much more. According to the TSA’s sunscreen guidance, the container is limited to 17 fluid ounces (2L), which should be enough for most larger containers of sunscreen. 

Anyone planning on bringing a bigger container like this will have to check their bags, which almost always incurs an additional fee. If you’re not sure if you have to, just keep in mind that any bags that are bigger than the airline’s carry-on size limits will have to be checked.  

That said, there are benefits to checking a bag, such as more freedom in what you can pack, being able to just drop your luggage off at the kiosk, and having it arrive at your final destination. Here are some bigger suitcases that are perfect for checked luggage: 

Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Luggage 

American Tourister NXT Hardside Large Spinner Suitcase 

Protégé Jumbo 32” Arendale Rolling Spinner Upright Luggage 

SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable Luggage 

Flying with sunscreen in your carry-on luggage 

I’ve mentioned it a few times, so let’s talk about the underlying guidance that outlines all of this stuff about traveling with sunscreen (as well as other liquids). Commonly known as the 3-1-1 rule and adhered to by all major US-based airlines, the TSA stipulates the following: 

  • All liquid containers must be 3.4-ounces each or less 
  • All containers of liquid must be placed in a quart-sized resealable transparent plastic bag 
  • Each passenger is limited to one bag of liquids 

This rule covers all liquids, gels, and aerosols, including sunscreen. So if you want to bring it on the plane, make sure you have something like a quart-sized Ziploc bag to carry it in. If you want to get something a bit nicer, check out some of these other options: 

3-1-1 Travel Bags on Amazon 

1-Quart Clear Zippered Bags from The Container Store 

Container Store

Sea to Summit Traveling Light Clear Zip-Top Bag from L.L.Bean