Jetting off to a new destination and wondering how to pack perfume in your carry-on?

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Once, I had to bid a tearful farewell to my favorite bottle of Dolce Gabbana The One at the security checkpoint.

The officer was unmoved by my pleas, and into the bin it went.

But, live and learn, right?

This is why I’m writing this post.

So, let’s dive into the rules and tips to save your precious perfume from meeting the same tragic fate as mine.

TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States has a 3-1-1 rule for carry-on luggage.

This rule states that any liquids, aerosols, and gels, including perfume, must be stored in containers that can hold no more than 3.4 ounces (100 millilitres).

These containers should be placed in a single, clear, quart-sized plastic bag and presented for inspection at the security gate.

UK Regulations:

In the United Kingdom, the rules for liquids in carry-on luggage are similar to the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule. These rules also apply to all liquids, aerosols, and gels, including perfumes. Note that there are plans to ease these restrictions by mid-2024, allowing passengers to bring liquids of up to 2 litres in their carry-on bags. Until then, passengers should continue to follow the current regulations.

Perfume Sizes:

Most perfumes are sold in bottles that are 50 ml or 100 ml, which are under the 3.4 oz limit and can be brought on a plane in your toiletries bag.

However, remember that the space inside the quart bag is limited. You might only be able to fit 6 or 7 bottles in your toiletries bag, and you probably also need room for your other liquid items like shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, and mascara.

Travel-Sized Bottles & Perfume Atomizers:

  • Choose the Right Atomizer: Opt for an atomizer with a pump-to-fill system.
  • Transfer the Perfume Carefully: If your perfume bottle allows and your atomizer has a wide mouth, you can use a small funnel to pour the perfume in. If it has a refillable bottom, place the atomizer on top of your perfume bottle and pump to fill. Be careful during this process to avoid spills and unnecessary exposure to air, which can degrade the perfume.
  • Seal It Right: Once your perfume is in the atomizer, ensure it’s sealed correctly. Over-tightening can cause the atomizer to crack or the seal to break, leading to leaks. Conversely, a loose seal can also result in leaks or exposure to air.
  • Pack It Properly: Despite being small, your atomizer still needs to go into your quart-sized bag with your other liquids for the security check. To give it extra protection, consider placing it in a separate small ziplock bag before placing it in the quart-sized bag. However, keep in mind that changes in cabin pressure during the flight can cause even well-sealed containers to leak.
  • Consider Solid Perfumes: Solid perfumes can be a great alternative to liquid ones, as they don’t fall under the liquid restrictions. However, they may not have the same sillage or longevity as liquid perfumes, and some people may have skin sensitivities to the wax or other base materials used in solid perfumes.

When You Pass The Security Here’s What You Can Do:

  • Add a Protective Layer: Wrapping your perfume in a protective layer like bubble wrap, a small towel, or a sock can provide some cushioning. However, remember that this might not be enough to protect a glass bottle from rough handling or extreme pressure. Consider using a hard-shell mini case or a padded pouch for added protection.
  • Use a Ziplock Bag: Placing your protected perfume bottle inside a ziplock bag can help contain leaks, but ensure the bag is sturdy and the seal is completely closed. You might want to double-bag it for extra security.
  • Pack Strategically: Position your perfume in the middle of your bag, surrounded by soft items like clothes. However, avoid overstuffing your bag as pressure from packed items can also cause the perfume bottle to break.

Duty-Free Fragrances

Duty-free shopping can be a great way to purchase larger bottles of your favorite perfume. Once you’ve passed through security, you’re allowed to buy liquids in larger quantities, including perfumes, at duty-free stores. These items are not subject to the same liquid restrictions as carry-on items from outside the airport.

However, it’s important to remember that if you’re on a round trip and plan to bring your duty-free perfume back home, you’ll need to go through security again. If the perfume exceeds the liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage (the 3-1-1 rule), you won’t be allowed to take it with you on the plane. To avoid this, consider placing your duty-free perfume in your checked luggage on your return journey, if possible. Trust me, it’s better than trying to explain to a stern-faced security officer why your perfume is a “special case”.


Can I put my perfume in my carry-on bag?

Yes, you can put perfume in your carry-on bag as long as it complies with the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule. The perfume must be in a container that holds no more than 3.4 ounces (100 millilitres) and must fit in a single, clear, quart-sized plastic bag.

Will TSA throw away my perfume?

The TSA may discard your perfume if it exceeds the liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage (the 3-1-1 rule) or if it’s deemed unsafe for any reason. To avoid this, ensure your perfume complies with the 3-1-1 rule and check the TSA’s guidelines on traveling with liquids.

Can you bring full size bottles of perfume on a plane?

Full-size bottles of perfume can be brought on a plane if they are under 3.4 ounces (100 millilitres). If they are above this size they need to go in checked luggage. If you buy a full-size bottle of perfume at a duty-free store after passing through security, you can carry it onto the plane regardless of its size.

Can I take my 100ml perfume on a plane?

Yes, a 100ml bottle of perfume can be taken on a plane in your carry-on bag as it falls within the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid restrictions. However, it must fit in your single, clear, quart-sized plastic bag along with your other liquids.

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About the Author


Content Manager & Editor

Maria became location independent in 2016 when she quit her job and became self-employed. She is currently traveling around Spain while working on her own projects. Email her at maria @

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