I recently realized I needed to look at a whole new aspect of travel, traveling with sex toys. For the first time I found myself with a couple of items I wanted to take on a trip. I wanted to learn the best way to transport these items within the limits of TSA regulations. I know there are others traveling who might want to bring some toys and accessories with them. Whether it’s a sex positive conference, a weekend get away, or even a trip to Desire, I hope sharing these sex toy travel tips with you will help.
Let me start with liquids. The carry-on limit for liquids is 100ml or 3.4 oz. This includes lube of any kind. If you really need to have lube in your carry-on you should make sure it does not exceed this amount. You can purchase travel/trial size containers of lube at several stores. If your favorite brand does not come in a trial size you can put some in a travel size container. Just keep in mind that there is a maximum of how many of these containers can be packed in your carry-on bag. A good way to remember is the 3-1-1 rule recommended by the TSA: 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume); 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring.
Larger size containers can be put in your checked luggage. So if you really need that full sized container of your favorite lube you can always pack it in your suitcase. I would suggest putting it in a ziploc bag that is closed securely. The change in air pressure can cause containers to leak and I don’t think you want to spend time at your destination cleaning the contents of your suitcase. Putting it in a clear bag will help the TSA agent who is inspecting your luggage see it clearly without opening the bag.
Dildos and butt plugs are easy to travel with because they are usually made of rubber or silicone. You can pack it in your carry-on just be prepared for an inspection. Wood and glass can also go in your carry-on bag. Glass should be carefully packed and put in a bag just in case it breaks. Metal dildos should be checked. Sometimes the metal dildo can be thought of as a “blunt instrument” and confiscated. Pack your dildo in a clear ziploc bag to protect it from being handled if an agent needs to go through your bag. This is really important for dildos packed in your checked luggage since you won’t be there when they inspect the bag. Clearly labeling the bag may help too. I wrote on my toy’s bag that it was a sex toy and what it was made out of even though it could be clearly seen. Not everyone working in TSA will easily identify your toy. Agents have been known to remove items simply because they can’t tell what it is and whether or not it’s dangerous.
Vibrators are usually fine in carry-on just make sure the batteries have been removed. This is also important to remember with battery powered toys in your checked luggage. I read several stories about people being called off the airplane because their bag was buzzing. Be on the lookout for items with watch batteries because they are easy to miss. If you can’t remove the batteries because it’s rechargeable make sure you engage the safety lock or at least double check that it’s turned off. Vibrating items will show up in x-ray in your carry-on luggage, specifically the metal components, so there is a chance they will ask to inspect your bag.
Strap-on harnesses aren’t difficult to travel with but it is recommended to pack ones with metal pieces in your checked luggage. If you decide to wear the harness on the plane be aware that anything metal on the harness will trigger the metal detector. Wearing a harness is not recommended. Put it in your carry-on, or better yet your checked luggage. This goes with any type of harness such as BDSM accessories.
All BDSM toys should be checked. Whips, canes, paddles, clamps and floggers are all thought of as weapons rather than instruments of pleasure. The same goes for cuffs, straps, collars, bridles, gags and other bondage gear. Electro-stim toys need to be checked too. You also may want to save yourself the trouble of having to explain these items to the agent while at the security check point. Double check with the TSA that the item is not prohibited. Most BDSM toys and instruments are allowed but specialty items may not qualify. Check before you pack to avoid losing them.
Anything you don’t want being touched should be put in a clear ziploc bag. The TSA agents wear gloves but it’s more for them than it is for us so who knows how much they’ve touched before they handle your intimate items. Be prepared to show and explain anything in your luggage especially your carry-on.
Also keep in mind that piercings may go off in the metal detector. A drawing or photo of the piercing will often suffice but you may be assigned a same sex agent to visually check it. Many people will remove their piercing and pack it in their luggage before traveling. Others opt not to remove either because they can’t or because stainless steel or titanium piercings don’t always trigger the metal detector. Be prepared if it does.
Lastly, always remember that you and your toys should be treated with respect and dignity. There is never an excuse for being rude or embarrassing someone in public. You can request to have a bag inspected privately if you don’t want your items taken out right there at security. No one has the right to ridicule or judge what you have. Make sure you let authorities know right away if you feel like your rights are being abused or you are not being treated fairly. Your privacy is still important even while the TSA is trying to ensure safe air travel.
TSA rules are always subject to change so make sure you check before you start packing for your trip. The decisions made by agents are not always consistent either. An easily identified item to one agent can be seen as a mysterious and dangerous item to another. There is always the risk of theft from your baggage so you might want to keep special items at home. Keeping these items in your checked luggage may not ensure it will be there at your destination but stands a greater chance of making through security than carry-on items. You can opt to ship items to your destination to avoid security hassles and better insure their safe arrival. Or just leave everything at home and treat yourself to a sexy shopping trip at your destination. You can always mail your new acquisitions to your home at the end of the trip.
Most importantly, I want to remind you if you are traveling internationally please be fully aware of the rules and regulations in the country you are visiting. Be mindful of cultural and social differences and, most importantly, what they consider illegal and grounds for arrest. Something as simple as a porn on your laptop or an erotic magazine in your carry-on can have drastic consequences in other countries. Have the contact info of your country’s embassy handy just in case.
You can still have a sexy trip while being an informed and mindful traveler.
Here are a few links I found helpful:
About TechnogeishaTechnogeisha is a sex positive kinkster with an insatiable curiosity. She and her husband spent lots of time hanging with the LA fetish crowd but never truly opened up. That all changed after finding Life on the Swingset. No longer content to be a virtual voyeur, she is actively pursuing the life non-monogamous. Having a passion for research (that apparently borders on fetish) has led her to mine the internet and devour books for information about all aspects of open relationships and sexuality. It’s wonderful to be invited to share that passion with all of you. Technogeisha not only writes but works behind the scenes on the Swingset as Managing Editor. You can find her on Twitter as @Technogeisha and on Facebook as Miko Technogeisha