Yes, You Can Bring Vitamins on a Plane: The TSA, Tips, and More

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    It can be confusing to figure out how to travel with your vitamins. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take.

    We all have to travel sometimes. Whether it’s for a planned family getaway or for a business trip, traveling can be a real source of joy. But our health care routines don’t stop just because we’re spending time away from home. To get the most out of traveling, it’s important to figure out the best ways to bring our vitamins and supplements along with us.

    Why it's important to bring vitamins while traveling

    Your vitamin routine is an important part of your health. Vitamins help your health in many ways, supplying your body with necessary nutrients and even making up for vitamin deficiencies. Taking your vitamins is also important for supporting your immune system. Keeping your immunity up and staying healthy while traveling is a good way to make sure you get the most out of your trip.

    TSA rules on traveling with vitamins

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a government agency that sets the rules for the transportation systems in the United States. They have some rules for how you can transport your vitamins.

    Any medications in pill or solid form – vitamins qualify under this definition – must go through security screening. The TSA also recommends that any medication be clearly labeled, since this will help accelerate the screening. When it comes to prescription medication labels, some states have different requirements. Be sure to check the laws that apply to the state you’re heading to. Powdered supplements should be placed in your checked back if you’re bringing more than 12 oz; otherwise it may need to go in its own bin during X-ray screening.

    If you’re traveling with medically necessary liquid medication, you must inform your TSA officer and then separate the medication from your other belongings before the screening begins. You must also declare accessories associated with your liquid medication – IV bags, freezer packs, pumps, and so on. Clearly label these items, too. That said, liquid vitamins would likely not qualify as “medically necessary” medication. (More on traveling with liquid vitamins below.)

    Keep in mind that you are fully responsible for displaying, handling, and repacking your medication when screening is required.

    Can you take vitamins in your carry-on or personal item?

    Yes, you can take vitamins in your carry-on and personal item luggage. While not required, it can help the screening process to have your vitamins clearly labeled or in their original containers.

    Liquid vitamins and supplements do still have volume limits of 3.4 oz, or 100 mL, just lke all carry-on liquids. It’s important to remember that the TSA website does note that all final decisions are up to the discretion of the TSA checkpoint officer.

    Checked luggage regulations for vitamins

    Liquid vitamins can be packed in your checked luggage and are not subject to the 3.4 oz requirement for carry-ons.

    TSA's stance on powdered vitamins

    There are no restrictions on powders when flying between U.S. airports. Just note that powders over 12 oz, or 350 mL, must be placed in a separate bin during the screening process and may require additional screening or need to be opened. To make things easier, place larger volumes of powders over 12 oz in your checked bag to skip additional screening.

    TSA's regulations on herbal supplements

    Herbal supplements that are capsules, powdered, or tablets have no restrictions. Liquid herbal supplements must follow the liquid restrictions and be limited to 3.4 oz, or 100 mL, for carry-on and personal item luggage.

    Checked luggage does not have any restrictions for herbal supplements in any form.

    Do you need any special documentation or prescription to carry vitamins on a plane?

    The TSA does not require any special documentation, prescription, or doctor’s note for you to carry vitamins on a plane. But if you want extra support to create a smoother travel process, you can consider doing any of the following, which may simplify the screening process:

    • Make sure all products are in clearly labeled bottles, or keep them in their original bottle.
    • Carry a letter from your healthcare provider, on official letterhead, stating your medical need for the vitamins or supplements.
    • Have a backup plan for if your items are confiscated from TSA for an unforeseeable reason. For example, know where you can purchase more at your destination.
    • Split your vitamins between your carry-on and checked baggage. In unlikely circumstances, this gives you more options if your carry-on vitamins are confiscated or if your checked luggage is misplaced.

    Do vitamins have to be in original bottles when flying?

    The short answer: no. However, keeping vitamins in their original bottles when flying can help reduce questions and potential complications during the screening process. The great thing about Care/of’s personalized vitamin packs is that they are unopened and clearly labeled as Care/of products and therefore may reduce hassle during TSA screening.

    Will the TSA open your vitamins?

    Typically, TSA will not open your vitamin packages. You are not required to declare or notify TSA of your vitamins in your luggage. The only exceptions are with liquid supplements or powders over 12 oz (350 mL), the latter of which you need to place in a separate bin during the X-ray screening process. All decisions are ultimately up to TSA checkpoint agent.

    5 Tips for traveling with vitamins

    Liquid vitamins

    Per TSA regulations, liquid supplements can only be transported below a certain amount: 3.4 oz or 100 mL. You may want to consider leaving liquid vitamins at home. They may not be worth the hassle. You can opt for capsule or pill form of these supplements while you are traveling. If you do pack liquids, be sure to put them in a plastic bag; that way, if they spill, they won’t get all over your belongings.

    Look for vitamins that come in tablets, capsules and soft gels

    You’re allowed to travel with vitamins in tablet, capsule, and soft gel form, per TSA regulations. Soft gels are not considered liquids.

    Pack vitamins in carry-on bag

    If possible, you may want to find a way to pack your vitamins in a carry-on bag. That way, you have easy access to your vitamins, and you’re not at risk of being without them in the event that your checked luggage is lost or delayed. Another good rule of thumb is to pack a few extra of each supplement, in case you end up traveling a little longer than you originally thought you would.

    Care/of’s daily pill packs make it easy to travel with your supplements. Pack enough packs for each day of your trip, plus an extra one or two just in case!

    Have a pouch or pill case to store vitamins

    Having a pouch or pill case to store your vitamins can also make them easier to transport. Perhaps you’ll want to invest in a container for the amount of days you will be away. Some containers are even labeled by time of day or by days of the week, helping you stay consistent with your vitamin routine. If your supplements need to stay cold, you can travel with a frozen gel ice pack. Just know that the gel ice pack must be frozen or partially frozen at the time of TSA screening, or else it will be considered a liquid and subject to liquid volume restrictions.

    How you pack your vitamins is up to you. When dealing with Care/of personalized supplement packs, though, everything is pre-packed for you. You just grab and go!

    International travel considerations

    When traveling back to the U.S. from an international location, TSA states that powders over 12 oz, or 350 mL, stored in carry-on luggage may require additional screening at the TSA checkpoint, which is similar to travel within the U.S. as well. If the officer cannot resolve the questions about the powder, it may be disposed of. TSA recommends putting powders in your checked bag for best chances.

    For travel regulations when flying out of international airports, best practice is to check that the travel regulations of that particular airport or country.

    Final takeaways

    The work of staying healthy doesn’t stop just because you’re traveling! Fortunately, there are ways to safely and easily bring your vitamins along with you. Buy a nice travel pack and stay up-to-date on the TSA guidelines. When possible, try to bring your vitamins as part of a carry-on item.

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    Mia McNew, MS
    Medical Content Reviewer
    Mia McNew is a nutrition science researcher with bachelor's and master's degrees in nutrition science and biochemistry. She holds additional certifications in clinical nutrition and formerly managed a private nutrition practice focusing on fertility and the management of chronic health and autoimmune disorders. She is currently pursuing a PhD in human nutrition with a research focus on disability, underserved populations, and inequities in popular nutrition therapy approaches. She has extensive experience as a fact-checker, researcher, and critical research analyst and is passionate about science and health communications that provide practical support.
    Victoria Peck-Gray, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Victoria is a registered dietitian and functional nutritionist who helps people with resistant weight loss and PCOS transform their metabolic health and lose weight through a functional nutrition and lifestyle approach that addresses root causes. She is owner of her private practice, Wonderfully Made Nutrition and also leads her group metabolic coaching program for women called The 4 Method.