Tips for Packing Wine in Checked Luggage

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Tips on packaging wine for airline travel

While on vacation we like to enjoy our favorite wines. Since wine costs 20-30% more at some of our vacation destinations, (especially the Caribbean), we try to pack a few bottles of wine in our checked luggage. We know there is a chance we’ll discover a wine soaked suitcase at baggage claim; however, to date, we have not had any problems with wine breaking in our luggage.

The key to successfully packing wine in checked luggage is to individually wrap each bottle and ensure the glass bottles do not touch in your luggage. After wrapping your wine – make sure to pack it in the middle of your suitcase. Do not place your wine directly against the sides of the suitcase.

There are several commercial wine shipping containers available that will work well for airline travel.

The Inflatable Bottle Pouch  – inflates with air and seals to prevent leaking.

Styrofoam Bottle Shippers – (insert links) These generally provide plenty of travel protection. When we order wine online we try to save some of these shippers for future travel.

 

OR you can opt for creating your own wine travel packaging system.

We often make our own wine packaging for travel because our bottles usually vary in size. Some wine shipping containers are made for specific size bottles and will not accommodate larger bottles.  We often pack a few bottles of wine and a bottle of spirits.  Our DIY packing system accommodates most any size bottle of wine/spirits for travel.

DIY – Packaging Wine for Checked Luggage:

WHAT YOU NEED:

  1. Cardboard (the inserts from cases of wine work really well for packaging in your luggage).
  2. Masking tape or packaging tape
  3. Padding (we recycle plastic shopping bags)
  4. Trash bags or large zip lock bags.

 

Tip: Prior to packing, make sure to check with your destination on how many bottles of wine or spirits each adult may bring.

 

Packaging a Single Bottle:

  1. Cut a piece of cardboard that is approximately 1.5 times the circumference of the bottle. i.e. the cardboard should wide enough to wrap around the bottle 1.5 times and should be 3/4″ longer on each end of the bottle. The corrugated lines should run parallel to the length of the bottle. Can you carry wine on an airplane
  2. Wrap the cardboard tightly around the bottle and tape the seam leaving a little space at each end. Tip: To ensure you do not pack the bottle upside down in the suitcase mark the end of the package notating which side is the top (or neck) of the bottle. This will minimize the chance that you will have a broken bottle as the neck is the weakest part of the bottle.

    How to travel with wine

    We used a shoe box to wrap this bottle

  3. Stuff plastic shopping bags on each end of the bottle and cover with packing tape. (Snug but not to tight). Ensure the bottle cannot move inside of the cardboard.

    Take wine on a plane

    completely fill with reused shopping bags and secure with tape.

  4. Double bag the wrapped bottle inside trash bags or large zip lock bags.
Can I take wine to the Virgin Islands

Double bag cardboard wrapped bottle before placing in luggage

  1. Pack 1/2 of your clothing and then place the wrapped bottle in the center of your suitcase with the bottle neck side up with respect to the top your suitcase.
  2. Pack the rest of your belongings making sure to provide enough padding around the bottle. *Your suitcase should be packed snugly so the bottle experiences minimal movement during travel.

 

On our last trip we packed a single bottle of wine using the above method. Our bags were randomly chosen for a TSA search. They ruffled through our suitcase and placed the bottle back against the side of the suitcase, and the bottle was not broken on arrival.

 

DIY – Packing for Multiple Bottles of Wine in Luggage

We like to create a padded “box” similar to, but smaller than, a case of wine.

  1. Start with an insulated bag. We use an insulated wine carrier or our insulated Whole Foods market bag. How to pack wine in your luggagge
  • Take card board and make “individual” bottle holders as shown and place inside of the bag. The actual inserts from a case of wine work really well. Best way to pack wine in luggage
  • Wrap each bottle of wine with a large zip lock or other plastic bag and place inside of the holders making sure there is card board in between each bottle. Pad the bottle necks with recycled shopping bags.

wrapping bottles for plane travel Packing wine to prevent breakage on plane

 

 

 

 

 

  • Double bag the entire package with bags or trash bags to help protect your clothing in the event a bottle is broken.
  • Place the double bagged package inside of your luggage, right side up, with clothing packed all the way around. It is important that the bag cannot move inside of your suitcase during travel to minimize the risk of breaking.

We have traveled with up to 6 various sized bottles, in a single piece of luggage, packed using the above method more than a dozen times without breakage.

Other Tips:

  • Pack only dark clothing in the suitcase that contains wine.  Even with careful packing there is always a chance a bottle of wine may break during travel.
  • Weigh your luggage and adjust accordingly.  Wine bottles are heavy and depending on your other items, multiple bottles of wine may put your luggage over the 50 lb threshold.
  • Reuse the recycled shopping bags while on vacation for dirty clothes, local shopping, or rental car trash bags.
  • If you are traveling to Wine Country, take a few insulated wine carriers with you for your return flight!

 

 

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links

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11 thoughts on “Tips for Packing Wine in Checked Luggage

  1. Kim Hilbert

    I hadn’t thought about this which is nice that you mention it. When you’re traveling you don’t think about how you’re going to bring things home until you’re faced with the bottles and you have to hurry and pack.

    1. Allison Post author

      Thanks Kim. I should probably add, the inflatable bottle pouch would be a great idea to take a few on a trip to a place like NAPA, where you might purchase wine to bring back home. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Pingback: First Few Days in St. Croix – A Rough StartFun Family Vacations | Fun Family Vacations

  3. Winederlusting

    Oh my I just might be your biggest fan here. Thanks so much for these awesome tips, super relevant to my obsession! On recent trips to both Iceland and Spain I’ve wanted to take back some special bottles of wine, and I usually just throw them in my checked back (in the center) and wrap them in shirts and stuff plenty of underwear around them. I didn’t even think about the random TSA searches and them possibly placing them on the sides or bottom! Great DIY ideas, bookmarked ^__^.

    -Greig

    1. Allison Post author

      Our friend put a bottle of red wine in the center of her suitcase and ended up with red clothes. Glad you haven’t had that issue. Hope these tips help out on future travels. Thanks!

  4. Laura Lynch

    There are some really great products now for helping with the wine transporting. We usually just wrap the bottles in clothes or use the bubble packs without sealing them so we can reuse them. We’ve never had a problem. We also do a lot of wine tasting around the PNW and Alaska Airlines allows you to check a case for free on some flights!

    1. Allison Post author

      Agreed – It’s a good idea to take airline friendly bottle bags along on winery trips. Good to know about Alaska Airlines. On our return trip from the USVI, the airline allowed us to check case of rum for free.

  5. Elizabeth

    We’ve used the inflatable wine pouch before on several occasions and been very happy with it. We did our own packing on our recent cruise so we could bring our allowed bottles of wine with us. So far no breaks!

  6. Heather

    These are great tips for wine lovers and can be applied to any glass bottled items. Always nice not to have to worry about breaking bottles or liquid spills.

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