Tips for Packing Glass Bottles in Luggage

Packing Beverages in Glass Bottles Isn't as Hard as it Seems

Wine shop in Rue Mouffetard displaying baskets of bottles.
Dennis K. Johnson/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

It is likely that you will want to take home a glass bottle or two of wine, beer, liquor, or other bottled goods or beverages. But how do you get your glass-bottled item home? Unless you buy it in the duty-free shops that are past the security lines in the airport, you cannot carry it on the plane according to airline regulations.

So, how to protect the bottles in your checked baggage that you purchased while traveling in the country of your choice?

Check out the following tips that can minimize the chance of a broken bottle spilling all over the contents of your suitcase. Nothing is guaranteed, but if you follow these tips, your chances of arriving home with an intact bottle are better than if you did none of these things.

Bottle Types Matter

Only pack glass bottles that have never been opened. Smaller bottles may be easier to pack than larger bottles. If you can find smaller sized sets that take into account different flavors or variations of a favorite national drink, for example, then tucking it into your suitcase should be easy and relatively risk-free.

Protect Your Suitcase Items

The best way to minimize damage from a potentially broken bottle is to wrap your bottle in a self-sealing bag, like a Ziplock bag, and pressing out all of the air and making sure that the bag is completely closed. If you do not have a self-sealing bag, place it in one plastic bag, wrap tightly, and then place it in another plastic bag.

Cover the opening of the first plastic bag with the second, and then, wrap tightly again.

Cushion the Bottle

Roll the bottle in a large, soft garment or cloth, such as a towel, sweater, or pair of pajama pants. When you pack the bottle, place it in the center of your suitcase, so that the bottle is cushioned by clothing on all sides.

Any hard objects should be packed away from the bottle or padded with clothing so that the bottle will not be cracked if you bag's contents shift.

Buy Bottles Packed for Air Travel

Some popular brands of alcoholic beverages come in packaging meant for travel, such as boxes with plastic inserts that keep bottles protected and from shifting around when they are packed. If possible, this may be a good option if you are especially worried about getting them home.

Shop for the Bottle at Home

If you have valuable items that you fear you might get ruined if a bottle should break in your luggage, then it might make the best sense to forego making the purchase while you are traveling. You can attempt to find the beverage in your home country. Some specialty suppliers may stock it, or you might be able to find it online. There is a chance you may only be able to find that bottle in the country you are visiting, but look online and check.

Customs Check

You may have to declare your alcoholic beverage if you pass through U.S. Customs. If you are ever asked to unpack your glass bottle to show airport security the contents, take time to wrap the bottle back up before placing it back in your suitcase.