Can I Pack Sunscreen in My Checked Luggage? 3 Awesome Alternatives

Disclosure: We earn a commission on qualifying purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. We are also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

Are you dreaming of flying far away to a sunny, hot destination for your next vacation? Then you’ll want to remember one essential item when packing: sunscreen. “But can I pack sunscreen in my checked luggage?”

With the sun’s rays beaming down from above, it’s best to make sure you won’t be getting any unwelcome souvenirs in the form of sunburns.

Luckily, with some extra planning and preparation, you can make sure your travels go as smoothly (and safely) as possible. In this blog post, we guide you through bringing sunscreen on a plane.

How does sunscreen protect your skin?

Suntan lotion acts as a barrier that helps shield the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays from entering and damaging your skin.

When exposed to UV radiation, skin cells put up a fight against sun damage by producing melanin as a protection mechanism for the skin, but suntan lotion is meant to be a “backup” supply of sun protection and give your skin an extra boost.

By reflecting away harmful UV rays, suntan lotion helps reduce burning, redness, and other sun damage issues like sunspots, leathery patches of skin, wrinkles, reduced elasticity, and permanent pigment changes.

Can I pack sunscreen in my checked luggage?

Can I pack sunscreen in my checked luggage? According to the TSA, sunscreen is allowed in checked luggage.
According to the TSA, sunscreen is allowed in checked luggage.

It’s no secret that the sun can be relentless, so it’s always good to be prepared for a sunny day, even if your travels take you by plane.

Fortunately, checking sunscreen doesn’t have to mean risking a bottle of lotion exploding in your suitcase; rather, it is totally safe and permissible to include it in checked bags.

That being said, there is a weight limit of 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces) per container, as stated by TSA regulations.

So while bringing sunscreen on your voyage is entirely doable, make sure you check the size of the bottle beforehand to avoid any problems at the airport.

Recommended Sunscreen

Choosing the best sunscreen for your trip: Spray vs Lotion

Are you a beachgoer who seems to get sunburned no matter how many times you reapply your sunscreen? We’ve all been there. It can be frustrating, especially when you think you’ve done everything right.

But maybe it’s not your application technique that needs improvement — maybe it’s the type of sunscreen you are using. We’ll explore the pros and cons of spray sunscreen vs lotion sunscreen so that you can make an informed decision about which one to use on your next beach trip.

Best Sunscreen Spray

Let’s start with spraying sunscreen. On one hand, it is easier and less messy to apply than lotion sunscreen; in fact, some studies have found that people tend to apply more evenly when using a spray-on product.

It also tends to be more lightweight and less greasy than lotions. However, there are some downsides to using spray-on products. For starters, they usually have a lower SPF rating than lotions (which means they might not offer as much protection against the sun), and they are typically more expensive too.

Now let’s take a look at lotion sunscreen. When it comes to protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, lotions often provide a higher level of protection due to their higher SPF ratings compared with sprays.

Additionally, because lotions tend to be thicker and longer-lasting than sprays, they can help keep skin moisturized for longer periods of time — a major plus if you plan on spending hours outdoors in the sun.

On the downside, lotions can be difficult to apply evenly (especially on parts of your body like your back), and they tend to be messier than sprays.

So which one is better? Ultimately, it depends on your individual needs and preferences. If ease of application is important to you, then spray-on sunscreen might be the way to go; however, if maximum protection against UVA/UVB rays is what matters most, then opt for a high SPF-rated lotion instead.

Whichever option you choose, just remember that proper application (and reapplication) is key when it comes to avoiding painful sunburns.

How to safely pack sunscreen in checked luggage

Ah, summertime — the perfect time for a vacation. But before you jet off, it’s important to remember that sunscreen is essential if you plan on spending time outdoors.

The tricky part comes when you have to figure out how to pack sunscreen in your checked luggage without having it explode or leak all over your belongings.

Don’t worry; we’ve got the answers. Read on for some tips and tricks on how to safely pack sunscreen in checked luggage. 

illustration of beach holiday items in suitcase including sunscreen

Pack your sunscreen strategically 

When packing sunscreen in your suitcase, place it in an area of the bag that will be least likely to experience a lot of movement, such as near the center of the suitcase or against a corner with extra clothing items for padding.

If possible, try not to put the bottle directly against other items that could easily burst or break during transit (like glass containers).

And lastly, make sure that your sunscreen is not placed too close to any liquids like shampoo or conditioner which could cause leakage if they were punctured during transport. 

Secure your sunscreen container 

To further protect your sunscreen from leaking all over your clothes and other belongings, consider using a zip-lock baggie or plastic wrap. This can help keep any potential messes contained and make sure that everything else inside your suitcase remains safe from contamination.

You might also want to consider double-wrapping each item just to be extra sure nothing gets ruined.

Bring travel-size containers 

One of the best ways to prevent any kind of a mess while traveling is by bringing travel-size containers with you instead of larger bottles. This way, there will be less chance for leaks because the smaller bottles are more secure than regular ones and won’t take up as much space either.

Be mindful, though — you don’t want them too small because they may get lost in transit. 

Packaging and transporting sunscreen can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. With these tips and tricks, you should have no trouble packing sunscreen in checked luggage without worrying about leaks or explosions ruining all of your hard-earned vacation gear.

Make sure you follow TSA guidelines when transporting any kind of liquids, and always double-check the size requirements for containers so that everything makes it safely through security checkpoints without incident.

Can I bring full-size sunscreen in my carry-on luggage?

Planning a beach getaway? Want to ensure you’ll have enough sun protection on board?

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to squeeze in full-size bottles of sunscreen in that carry-on bag.

To be allowed through security and onto the plane, your sunscreen needs to meet the 3-1-1 rule: containers must hold less than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) of liquid or gel so they can fit inside an average quart-size zip-top plastic bag.

Make sure you check sunscreen labels for size limits or buy travel-size bottles if you need larger quantities of sunscreen for your trip. Alternatively, pack your full-size sunscreen bottles in your checked luggage.

Best Carry-On Size Sunscreen

How one traveler got severely sunburnt

Sarah Jones had been dreaming of a tropical getaway for months. She was desperate to escape the dreary London winter and bask in some much-needed sunshine. When she finally booked her trip to Aruba, she couldn’t wait for the time to come. 

When Sarah arrived in Aruba in January of 2023, it was like a dream come true; bright blue skies with fluffy white clouds and crystal clear waters as far as the eye could see. Every day, Sarah made sure to be up early so that she could make the most of her vacation by spending all day at the beach. 

But what Sarah didn’t know was that no matter how much fun you’re having under the sun, there are always consequences when you forget something very important — sunscreen.

After seven days straight without any protection from UV rays, Sarah’s skin felt like it was on fire when she stepped off of her plane back home in London. 

The pain only got worse over time, and before long, it became unbearable for poor Sarah, who had no choice but to miss an entire week of work due to being bedridden with severe sunburns. It took weeks before she finally recovered enough to go out into public again — reminding herself never again would she forget such an important detail while enjoying her next beach holiday.

Her advice to sunny-destination travelers is to “always pack some sunscreen in your luggage and apply it during the day.”

How to treat sunburn

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of getting a sunburn, you know that not only is it painful, but it can also lead to long-term skin damage if not treated properly.

To help ease the discomfort and reduce the chances of scarring or irritation in the future, there are several steps you can take to heal your sunburned skin.

Immediately after exposure, make sure to stay out of further sunlight and use cool compresses on the affected area. On top of this, be sure to drink plenty of water to hydrate and also apply special sunburn creams or aloe vera gel to prevent infection and retain moisture in the skin. If treated properly, your sunburn should heal without causing any long-lasting harm — just make sure to wear high-quality sunscreen the next time you head out.

Alternatives to sunscreen: How to protect your skin while traveling 

We’ve all heard the warnings about applying sunscreen when we’re out and about, especially when we’re on vacation. But what if you don’t want to slather your body with chemical-laden sunscreen every day? Or what if you forget to pack your SPF?

Don’t worry — there are plenty of alternative ways to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones. 

1. Wear Protective Clothing 

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from the sun is to cover up your skin with clothing. Look for clothing that has a high SPF rating and is made from a tightly woven fabric that will block most UV rays.

You can also find clothing made specifically for outdoor activities such as surfing or hiking that have built-in UV protection. Rash guards and other types of UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) clothing are made by companies such as Quiksilver and Patagonia and offer excellent protection against the sun’s rays.

However, you’ll still have to apply sunscreen to exposed skin, such as your wrists, hands, face, etc. So, pack a bit of sunscreen in your checked luggage.

2. Stay out of direct sunlight 

Another easy way to protect yourself from the sun is to stay out of direct sunlight during peak hours (10 am -2 pm).

This may seem like an impossible feat while traveling, but it’s actually quite simple — just stick to shady spots during these hours. If you need some shade, try wearing a wide-brimmed hat or seeking out natural sources like trees or umbrellas.

You can also opt for a beach umbrella or tent if necessary; these days, there are plenty of options available in bright colors and stylish designs, so you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing style just because you’re trying to be safe in the sun. 

3. Avoid reflective surfaces 

A less obvious source of harmful UV radiation is reflected light, which bounces off surfaces like water, concrete, sand, and glass and increases exposure even further.

When possible, avoid spending too much time near reflective surfaces (such as pools) during peak times. If this isn’t possible, make sure that you’re wearing protective clothing or applying a generous amount of SPF 30+ sunscreen at least 15 minutes before exposure.

As important as it is to lather up with sunscreen before heading outdoors, there are plenty of alternatives available today that offer just as much protection from UV radiation without having to slather chemicals all over your body every day.

Whether it’s wearing protective clothing such as rashguards made by surfing apparel companies or avoiding direct sunlight during peak hours— or both — there are plenty of ways for travelers to enjoy their time without worrying about getting burned by the sun’s powerful rays.

So go ahead and explore without fear. With these precautions in place, you’ll be able to relax knowing you’re protected against harmful UV radiation while still enjoying all that nature has to offer.


Sunscreen is a must-have when packing for your next journey, no matter the length. While sunscreen in carry-on luggage is limited due to the 3-1-1 rule, full-size sunscreen bottles can be safely and securely placed in your checked luggage.

Knowing that you have packed everything you need for your well-deserved vacation will leave you feeling relaxed and prepared for whatever the journey brings.

So remember — pack what you need, double-check the 3-1-1 rule if your sunscreen is going in your carry-on, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are well-prepared for your trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you bring canned sunscreen on a plane?

If a trip is on the horizon, it can be difficult to decide what toiletries you’ll want to bring with you. You may love your favorite sunscreen and worry that you could have to leave it at home, but there’s no need to worry.

Canned sunscreen can be brought both in checked luggage and carry-on luggage within limits — up to 3.4 ounces or 100 ml if it is within your carry-on.

So don’t hesitate — bring whatever sunscreen makes you feel comfortable and protected when traveling by plane.

Can I bring aerosol sunscreen in my checked luggage?

Traveling with sunscreen can be a tricky business, but no worries — it’s possible to bring aerosol sunscreen in your checked luggage. With the proper precautions, you can protect your skin and enjoy that tropical getaway knowing your belongings are safe and secure.

Just remember, there are often restrictions on what types of aerosols are allowed, so make sure to check with airlines and security guidelines prior to packing. But aerosol sunblock is definitely allowed in checked luggage. Protect yourself, and have a safe trip.

Is it safe to pack spray sunscreen in checked luggage?

When you’re flying, you may worry about leaving your sunscreen in your checked luggage due to its spray form. However, there’s no need to stress; it is indeed safe to pack spray sunscreen in checked luggage. Not only is it allowed by the TSA, but people have done this many times before with no reports of shrinkage or leakage.

Plus, most brands of spray sunscreen feature airtight and leak-proof cans that keep their contents comfortably locked away until they reach their destination. So don’t be afraid to pack that bottle of spray sunscreen into your suitcase; it will get there just fine!

Can you bring 6 oz sunscreen on a plane?

As we all know, the security measures at airports can be very strict, but with TSA-approved items, travelers are sure to have a hassle-free flying experience. Unfortunately, one item you cannot bring as a carry-on is a 6-ounce bottle of sunblock into the plane cabin.

Airport authorities have restricted this item because of size and safety concerns. This can prove to be inconvenient for travelers who may think they can just pop on some sunscreen for their flight. To avoid any problems with security personnel, it’s best to just place your sunscreen in your checked luggage instead.

Ultimately this will guarantee a smoother travel experience without any worries about confiscation or delays due to misplaced items.