Does TSA Consider Vaseline A Liquid?

Figuring out what you are and aren't allowed to bring in your carry-on can sometimes feel like a game of chance that nobody signed up for. After all, aside from the usual suspects like shampoo and sunscreen, there are still plenty of unexpected and bizarre things out there that TSA considers to be liquids, or that can't be carried on board unless they're in your checked luggage.

That said, you don't need to be carrying around multiple full-sized bottles of shampoo through the security checkpoint in order to get flagged by TSA. Sometimes, something as ordinary as, say, a tub of Vaseline can do the trick. Because despite its thick and gel-like consistency, Vaseline — along with similar products made from petroleum jelly — is precisely one of these unexpected items that the TSA considers a liquid.

This ultimately means that travelers who wish to bring some Vaseline along in their carry-on must stick to the TSA's 3-1-1 rule, which states that liquids and creams can't be any larger than 3.4 ounces, and all of your liquids must fit in a single quart-sized bag per passenger.

How to travel with Vaseline

Luckily, the fact that Vaseline is considered a liquid doesn't mean that you need to leave the product at home. Instead, it just means that you need to be a little more prepared and plan ahead. For starters, the easiest thing to do is to head over to your local pharmacy or supermarket and purchase a travel-sized version of the product. That way, you can rest assured that you won't have any issues getting it through security.

Alternatively, another option is to purchase a reusable travel kit and simply use your at-home tub of Vaseline to fill up one of the plastic containers that comes with it. This option is definitely a lot messier, though — so don't say we didn't warn you!

Last, but definitely not least, if you're still set on bringing the whole thing with you, there's really no other choice left than to simply check your bag at the check-in counter. However, keep in mind that this option will definitely cost you — especially if you didn't choose that option while you were booking your flight — and you're probably better off just buying a new Vaseline container at your destination. Although with this strategy, you'll be back at square one when it comes time to bring it home.

Other common toiletries that TSA considers liquids

Ideally, one of the best ways to make sure that you don't get stopped traveling with any unexpected items that you can't bring through TSA is to do your own research carefully and pack accordingly. This includes visiting the official TSA website, which carefully lists and categorizes everything that is and isn't allowed through the security checkpoint — including things like food, sporting equipment, tools, and beyond.

For example, a few common toiletries and personal care items that face the same restrictions as Vaseline include things like: toothpaste, body wash, moisturizer, perfume, aerosol deodorants, and even contact lens solution in certain circumstances (although contacts themselves aren't considered a liquid).

Finally, keep in mind that certain medications (including those in liquid, gel, or aerosol form) are exempt from the size and quantity limits placed by TSA on regular items. All you have to do is let one of the agents know what you're traveling with — and keep medicine in its original prescription container — and then hand them over for an additional screening procedure. At the end of the day, knowing what is and isn't allowed won't just save you a hassle, but it'll also help you get through airport security a lot faster — which ultimately means a much more enjoyable travel experience from the get-go.