5 Best Carry-On Sunscreens | Travel-Size Makes Life Easier

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All you need is carry-on luggage and travel-size sunscreen. 

This guide discusses protecting your skin from sunburn using one of the best carry-on sunscreens for short trips. It’ll save you money at the airport and make your vacation smoother.

Are you planning a beach getaway in the near future? If so, you’re probably thinking about what to pack.

Filling your suitcase with all your vacation must-haves can be tempting. But bringing a full-size bottle of sunscreen in your checked luggage is unnecessary if you’re only traveling for three to four days.

Instead, opt for carry-on luggage and travel-size sunscreen.

Sunscreen vs Sunblock: What You Need to Know About Ultraviolet Rays

Sunscreens and sunblocks are essential parts of protecting yourself from the harmful rays of the sun, but knowing which one is best for you can be tricky.

Sunscreen is designed to protect against UVA rays, which cause skin damage through wrinkles and ‘photoaging.’

Sunblock, on the other hand, focuses on UVB rays, which are the rays that cause sunburn and associated skin damage.

However, with advances in protective formulations, it’s now possible to get products that offer broad-spectrum protection, meaning they protect against both UVB and UVA rays — helping you avoid wrinkles and sunburn.

Best Carry-On Sunscreen

1. Sun Bum Original

Sun Bum Original: best carry-on sunscreen

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Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion is the perfect choice for vegan-friendly, reef-safe sunscreen.

This three-fluid-ounce bottle of UVA/UVB protection is packed with Vitamin E and free from harsh and paraben-free ingredients, including Octinoxate and Oxybenzone. Sun Bum cares about your skin, so it’s made with all-natural ingredients that will keep you protected during long days in the sun.

The convenient travel size means you can take it anywhere, so wherever adventure takes you — stay confident knowing you’re being safe while having fun.

A vegan, cruelty-free sunscreen option provides superior coverage without harming our beautiful Earth or its inhabitants.

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion feels light on your skin yet strong enough to protect against harmful UV rays, even on extended exposure. It’s the perfect combination of form and function.

So stay fresh with maximum safety granted by this fantastic product from Sun Bum.

2. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch

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Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch is a revolutionary new sunscreen designed to protect your skin while feeling light and comfortable.

The three-fluid ounces allow you to carry it wherever you go, ensuring that the sun’s harmful rays can never catch up with you. Offering superior UVA protection thanks to Helioplex Technology, this broad spectrum SPF 55 sunscreen won’t clog pores or leave behind a greasy feel — just an invisible yet reliable layer of defense against UV radiation.

Its unique dry-touch formula goes on easily and absorbs quickly for an undetectable finish that doesn’t feel heavy or sticky.

Despite its lightweight composition, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch is waterproof and sweat-resistant, providing long-lasting coverage throughout the day, even when exposed to outdoor elements such as water or sand.

Independent studies have also observed that it effectively helps prevent sunburns and reduces premature signs of aging caused by exposure to UV rays.

Protect yourself from sunlight’s damaging effects without compromising comfortability by trying Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch today.

Its easy application process makes it perfect for any skin type, and its lightweight composition ensures you won’t feel weighed down by traditional sunscreens.

Get reliable protection without sacrificing comfort with Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch. It’s the perfect sunscreen to help keep your skin safe this summer.

3. EltaMD UV Sheer

EltaMD UV Sheer

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EltaMD UV Sheer is a SPF 50+ travel-size sunscreen with powerful sun protection in a 1.7-ounce package. Perfect for your on-the-go lifestyle, this lightweight and moisturizing formula helps to protect against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The transparent zinc oxide stimulates natural collagen production, while hyaluronic acid soothes and nourishes the skin, leaving you with a soft, matte finish without any white cast or greasy residue.

Plus, it’s water and sweat resistant, so you can stay out longer even when engaging in outdoor activities.

With EltaMD UV Sheer sunscreen, you get superior sun protection with no hassle or inconvenience — perfect for those looking to guard their skin against damaging UV rays without compromising their busy lifestyles.

4. Banana Boat Sport Performance

Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30, pack of four cabin-size sunscreen

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Banana Boat Sport Performance: the ideal sunscreen for your active lifestyle.

This cabin-size sunscreen, one-ounce tube comes in a pack of four and is designed to keep up with you no matter how hard you push yourself. SPF 30 protection from UVA and UVB rays will keep your skin safe while providing superior coverage to other sunscreens on the market.

Unlike traditional sunscreen, which can often be greasy or run into your eyes when you sweat, Banana Boat Sport Performance was explicitly made to be more breathable and lightweight so that it won’t cause unbearable itchiness or irritation during physical activity.

It also provides water resistance meaning that no matter what activity level you get into, this sunscreen will never wash away!

Choose wisely by protecting yourself with Banana Boat Sport Performance — the best choice for active lifestyles. With its unique formulation, you get superior coverage and improved comfort and safety thanks to its UVA/UVB shield technology which helps protect against premature aging caused by sun damage.

So why wait? Get out now and enjoy life without worrying about burning under the sun’s harmful rays — pick up some banana boat sport performance today.

5. Coppertone Sport Sunscreen SPF 100

Coppertone Sport Sunscreen SPF 100

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Coppertone Sport SPF 100 sunscreen lotion is the perfect size to keep in your bag when you’re on the go. The convenient 3-ounce size fits into most cabins and protects you from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays while conveniently moisturizing your skin.

It rubs on easily, doesn’t clog pores, and won’t run into your eyes, so you feel confident knowing that it will provide maximum protection for up to 80 minutes before needing reapplication.

Coppertone Sport sunscreen lotion gives athletes a reliable defense against getting burned, whether competing or just enjoying nature.

Whether indoors or outdoors, no matter what sport or activity level you enjoy, this product ensures maximum coverage with minimal effort — so that staying safe comes naturally.

Benefits of Carry-On Travel

Avoid Checked Luggage Fees 

When traveling with carry-on luggage, you don’t have to worry about paying extra fees for checked luggage.

Depending on your chosen airline, those fees can range anywhere from $25-$100 per bag.

That means when you know you won’t need more than one bag for your entire trip, it’s much more cost-effective to take advantage of airlines offering free carry-on service instead of paying additional fees for checked bags.

This will save you money that could be put towards other vacation activities or souvenirs. 

Lighten Your Load 

Carrying around large items like full-size bottles of sunscreen can cause strain on your body and make it difficult for you to enjoy your vacation without muscle aches and pains.

Using travel-size sunscreen instead, you lighten the load and reduce the strain on your body, allowing you to move around freely and stay active while protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. 

Convenience Factor

Travel-size sunscreen is also highly convenient because it fits easily into any pocket or purse — making it perfect for carrying around throughout your travels.

No matter where life takes you during your vacation, whether swimming at the beach or exploring local attractions, having travel-size sunscreen handy ensures that you stay protected at all times — with minimal effort required.


Taking travel-size sunscreen with you on a short trip is essential to avoid hefty baggage fees and minimize strain from carrying heavy items all day. 

Packaging lightweight items like these make sense if convenience is critical when planning a successful beach getaway.

So before heading out on your next holiday destination, remember that all that matters are carry-on luggage and travel-size sunscreen.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should sunscreen be applied?

The skin needs to be thoroughly protected from damaging UV rays by sunscreen all year round. To do so, applying sunscreen before any outdoor activity and reapplying every 2 hours or after swimming, sweating, or towel-drying is essential.

Additionally, it is vital to use a very water-resistant formula that is sweat-resistant for optimum sun protection. This type of sunscreen will provide better coverage for most active lifestyles and sports activities, reducing the need for reapplication as frequently.

How much sunscreen can I take on a plane?

When traveling by plane, following the liquid restrictions when packing sunscreen is essential. The TSA advises that containers of sunscreen are allowed on board as long as they are smaller than 3.4 ounces (100 ml).

This rule applies to all creams, lotions, gels, pastes, and aerosols, such as spray sunscreen. Larger sunscreen containers need to be packed in checked luggage for safety reasons.

To maximize space in their carry-on, many travelers buy single-use sunscreen packets from their local drugstore before flying.

These small packages often contain enough sunscreen for a full day’s sun protection and can be carried easily through security checkpoints. Allowing for easy transport, following these rules will help make sure you have a stress-free trip.

Does TSA allow full-size sunscreen?

Travelers should always be prepared for their flight, including practically packing necessary items. Sunscreen is a critical item to take on a flight, especially when heading to a sunny destination.

However, due to TSA restrictions, full-size sunscreen bottles are only allowed if packed in checked luggage. Although it may seem restrictive, this measure has been implemented for safety reasons and must be adhered to by travelers.

All passengers should double-check the size of their sunscreen bottle before packing, as only containers, less than 3.4 oz (100 ml) can be carried onto the plane in a carry-on bag.

Is stick sunscreen considered a liquid when flying?

When considering the contents of your carry-on while traveling by plane, it’s essential to know what counts as a liquid and what doesn’t. Stick sunscreen is an item that often comes with travelers and is considered solid regarding airline regulations.

Generally, stick sunscreen can be packed safely in your luggage or taken aboard as part of hand luggage, and as long as it is within the specified weight allowances for both hand luggage and checked-in baggage, there should not be any issues at the airport.

However, if flying internationally, you should check with your airline carrier for restrictions and other rules that may affect items allowed through security checkpoints.

What is the best travel-size sunscreen?

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion is the best travel-size sunscreen. Not only does it boast an impressive SPF 50 to protect skin from UVA and UVB radiation, but it’s also vegan and reef friendly.

Conveniently sized for travel, this three-fluid-ounce lotion also helps soothe your skin with Vitamin E while providing the perfect amount of moisture to keep you looking great.

With its extended-lasting coverage and moisturizing ingredients, Sun Bum Original is sure to be your go-to sunscreen for all those sunny destinations.