How Many 100ml Bottles Can I Take In My Hand Luggage?

Flying can be quite an ordeal. There’s always so much to think about and make sure you get right otherwise, things can lead to delays, and having to throw things away and sometimes even fees. Which we definitely want to avoid at all costs!

Last year, I was travelling to Spain on a trip with some friends of mine, and I was pretty sure I had everything figured out. Had my nifty little hand luggage bag packed to the brim, and as they always ask you at the airport security “please remove your liquid bag from your suitcase and place it at the front of your tray”.

So feeling pretty smug at my perfectly packed bag of liquids, in containers all no more than 100ml, I popped my bag in the tray. I walk right through the gate, I don’t flag up cause I always remove all my jewellery! And the man says, “excuse me madam” is this your bag. “Ugh!” So I go over and he picks up my liquid bag, and removes my lovely moisturiser, and points at the number on the back, 125ml. I explain that there is clearly only about a quarter left in it, and there's just no way it could be any more, but he clearly states, that the container itself has to be 100ml or less!

So there I had to say goodbye to my lovely moisturiser, even though there wasn’t that much left! So I was feeling a little annoyed and went on the website to check out the facts. And there it was in plain writing!

  • Containers must hold no more than 100ml

So, of course the best thing to do is to check with the security advice that is easily accessible online, as to what you can and can’t take with you.

From what I have researched, apart from containers holding no more than 100ml, containers must also be held in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm. Luckily most airports provide you with these bags, not only before you go through security, but during the queue and security screening process. This did not used to be the case a few years ago, when any liquids that weren’t in a bag would simply get thrown in the bin.

So now onto your question of exactly how many 100ml bottles you can take in your hand luggage? Well, first lets answer the stupid questions. If they’re empty, as many as you like! But I’m sure they won’t be, the true answer to this question is 10. You can have ten 100ml bottles with you. Seeing as the volume of the plastic bag has to be 1 litres, you can fit 10 x 100ml in a litre. However, with fancy packaging and big lids and things like this, it is quite unlikely you will be able to squeeze it in. If you can figure out some kind of Tetris when it comes to packing your tiny plastic bag, you may be able to squeeze ten in there, but its pretty hard!

You could always use wash bags, here we have reviewed the best in mens wash bag for toiletries (of course women can use them too!)

For me, I travel with a lot of makeup items, and remember, any pastes, gels, serums, or anything else like that is still counted as a liquid. It has to go in your plastic bag. Although from personal experience, very very small items, like lip balms and creme eyeshadows, have always been absolutely fine floating around in the bottom of my handbag. That being said, items as small as this will fit easily into your plastic bag, so if in doubt, just pop it in.

You can fit ten 100ml bottles into a 1 litre plastic bag, but you can fit five, 20ml containers in place of one of those. So if you just think about it, and do the math, it should all work out fine for you!

You also have to make sure that the plastic bag you use is no more than 20cm x 20cm. There are some odd occasions that I’ve used a sandwich bag from home, that has been slightly bigger and managed to get away with it, but its better to be safe than sorry. If you end up having to move your items into a smaller bag, you risk having to throw some items away, which is the last thing anyone wants!

You are also limited to one bag per person, but thats not to say you can’t share! So if your travelling buddy is not a makeup fanatic, or travels lightly, then you can just ask them kindly to put some of your stuff in their plastic bag. Even better if you’re travelling with your kids, as they definitely won’t be needing the space, so just help yourself to theirs.

Bear in mind that the liquid allowance here does not apply to duty free items, so you can go crazy on liquids in duty free! You can buy all sorts, like perfume, makeup and enough alcohol to forget about the moisturiser you lost at security anyway!

So, a few things to remember, your containers must be 100ml or under, and they must be stored in a clear resealable plastic bag. Anything that is a paste or gel counts as a liquid, but just try and use your brain on this one. If its squishy, or moves, its probably a liquid. Also remember you can cram as many containers as you want into the bag, as long as the bag is not too big, and it is still able to be done up. If you follow all these guidelines, you’re going to sail through security, with little delay or worry, leaving you plenty of time to relax before your flight, enjoy the duty free shopping (where you can get your fix of liquids instead) and be on your way to your final destination!

Safe travels, and enjoy your trip!

About this Guide

Written By Alex
Last Updated On September 5, 2021
Reading Time 
6 minutes
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