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One of the most common questions in the TFG community is how strict the clear bag policy is for European travel. If you’re wondering the same thing, this article will cover everything you need to know, as well as offer some great tips for easily achieving the 3-1-1 rule. Take a look!
Europe Travel – What Size Clear Bags for Liquids In Carry On
Table Of Contents
While the TSA rules for liquids in carry on bags is pretty clear when leaving the United States, when it comes to traveling around Europe and hopping from country to country, some readers feel unsure on this topic. Exactly how strict is the 3-1-1 liquids rule in this popular continent?
When we asked TFGs this very question, the overall consensus was that European airports are usually quite strict when it comes to checking liquids, both in terms of the bag being clear and the bag’s size.
While it’s true that some airports in Europe are a bit more lax and may not require the bag to be transparent, it’s definitely better to be prepared with one, just in case. That way, you’re not holding up the security line and won’t run the risk of having to display your liquid products directly in the TSA bins — yuck!
The 3-1-1 liquids rule means 3.4 ounces (or 100ml), 1 quart-sized bag, and 1 bag per traveler. For a more in-depth rundown on this rule, take a look at our 3-1-1 article here!
These liquid limitations mean that a bit of toiletry downsizing is probably required. So, if you’re packing for Europe and want to make sure that going through security with your liquids will be a breeze, here are some top tips!
How To Achieve the 3-1-1 Rule for Europe
Have a TSA-Compliant Clear Toiletry Bag Ready
A clear bag is a must to ensure a smooth and hassle-free airport experience. You’ll always need to take out your liquids when going through security, and readers agree that most European airports will require a clear bag in a TSA-approved size.
Check out a few airplane outfit ideas to feel relaxed but still look chic when traveling!
While you could use the bags provided, Instead of doing this, it’s wise to bring your own clear bag that’ll keep your toiletries organized and clean! It’s recommended you have your 1-quart size bag ready and outside of your suitcase, so you can simply drop it into a tray at security and have a smooth inspection.
However, be prepared, as some European countries require you to use their bags. Readers say the trick is to transfer things over as quickly as possible, and after you go through the scans, put them all back into your own bag.
Go Small and Use Stackable Pots
Items like foundations, creams, gels, and other thick products still count as liquids and will need to go in your 3-1-1 bag. But if you don’t need an entire 3.4 oz travel bottle for some of those products, one amazing solution is to use small, stackable pots!
One reader shares that most travel-sized products and containers are too much for her, even on multi-week trips, so she opts for decanting into these smaller tubes.
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Because you can vary the sizes, say around 1 or 2 oz, handy little pots will save SO much space in your bag. This is definitely the answer for those products that you’ll only need a little bit of throughout your trip!
Replace Liquids With Solid Alternatives
One of the most efficient ways to downsize your liquid toiletries is to simply switch them over to a non-liquid version. Solid toiletries won’t count towards the 3-1-1 rule, and you won’t have to put them into your clear bag for security.
You’d be surprised how many products come in solid form, from lotion to face wash to sunscreen! You can even switch things like toothpaste, laundry detergent, and bug repellent over to a solid form, and they’re just as effective. A lot of readers love HiBar’s solid shampoo and conditioner sets, which come in a wide range of options depending on your hair needs.
Another fabulous product TFGs frequently talk about is a makeup remover towel that gently removes your makeup (even waterproof makeup!) with just a bit of water. It can be reused throughout your trip, packs down super small, and gets rid of the need for liquid makeup remover or a bulky pack of wipes!
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Use Cylinder Soft Tubes
If you need to bring as much of a certain product as possible or want the squeeze-cap option, soft travel-sized tubes are perfect. They’re durable yet soft, making them easier to pack and less prone to breaking in transit than the hard, plastic alternatives.
Because they’re designed for travel, they’ll satisfy the 3.4 oz maximum capacity requirements, and you can choose which sizes you need for your various products. GoToob is one of the most popular brands that’s offered in 1.7 oz, 2.5 oz, and 3.4 oz sizes.
Or, if you want an option with both pots and squeeze tubes, take a look at this travel set that comes in a TSA-approved clear bag and also has toothbrush covers and a spray bottle!
Flat Toiletry Pouches
Flat travel containers are incredible because they can fit a lot of products but also won’t take up any extra space if you don’t need to fill them up all the way. Another great bonus is that as you use up what’s inside, it’ll get smaller and smaller, leaving you with extra space in your bag!
Readers love that they’re super slim, flexible, and easy to pack while being sturdy and leakproof. One of their top picks is from Kitsch, which comes in a three-piece set or in a larger 11-piece set that covers all the bases with pump bottles, pots, and a spray bottle!
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Another reader-recommended pick is the YSUOA 12-piece set of clear pouches that include a convenient range of sizes. With a set like this, you can pick and choose how many containers will work to fit the 3-1-1 rule.
Buy Products at Your Destination
Many readers share that a great way to save space in your luggage is to simply buy products at your destination, especially bigger ones like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and sunscreen. Though, do some research beforehand to make sure you’ll have access to the right shops.
One reader shares that there are beauty shops and pharmacies all around the world and that you might just discover some new favorite products in them!
She adds that it’s a great way to learn about the area. (If you’re heading to Paris, readers RAVE about French pharmacies — they have amazing products at really affordable prices!)
With this method, you’ll be able to reduce a good amount of space and weight in your bag, saving room for an extra pair of shoes or some souvenirs on the way home!
Load Everything Back Into a “Carry-All” Toiletry Bag
Having your toiletries in separate bags isn’t the most convenient thing while traveling, so a lot of readers like to load their liquid toiletries back into a single toiletry bag to make the rest of their trip simpler.
The best toiletry bags will have plenty of pockets and compartments to store all of your products and then fold up neatly and compactly.
If you’re traveling Europe and looking for ideas on the best carry-on suitcases – check out this list!
Hanging toiletry bags are super useful when there’s not a lot of countertop space or if you want to be able to see everything clearly without unloading everything.
Whichever bag you choose, having all of your toiletries in one place is definitely the way to go so that nothing is misplaced and everything is ultra-organized!
Don’t forget another packing hack for Europe is to downsize makeup, learn how to do that in this article!
Printable Toiletries Checklist
To ensure that you don’t forget to bring anything on your trip, we’ve created a helpful and very thorough printable toiletries checklist. You can Click here or click the image below to open the editable file.
The list features unique categories to help you pack for your trip efficiently. It includes all the items listed in various categories above and has spaces where you can fill in your own information:
- You can write in an item’s weight (lighter items mean less overall baggage weight)
- You can note if you need to purchase something or if you already own it
- And most importantly, you can organize where you’ll pack each item including suggested packing organizers like these
Read this post for a printable packing list that includes clothes, shoes, and more!
3-1-1 Guide for Most Popular Destinations
Here is a short guide on some of the most popular destinations and their 3-1-1 policies:
The 3-1-1 rules are generally very strictly enforced in most airports around France.
Many airports, including CDG in Paris, provide their own clear baggies in case your toiletries aren’t in a (very) similar-looking one. Some readers have experienced the security at CDG requiring everyone to put their liquids into the provided bags, while other readers were able to get through with their own TSA-compliant bags, so the closer you can get to their bags, the better.
New scanners are currently being tested at some of the major airports in France that will eventually allow you to leave your liquids in your suitcase, but for now, you’ll need to abide by the 3-1-1 rules and separate your liquids for a smooth experience.
If you need more help packing for France, review our Paris Packing Guide!
The 3-1-1 clear bag rule for liquids is the same in Italy as it is in France, so as long as you follow those guidelines you’ll be good to go!
There are also a few airports in Rome and Milan that have high-tech scanners that don’t require you to take your liquids out of your suitcase as it goes through TSA (but the 3-1-1 size limits still apply). Even with these new scanners popping up, it’s still recommended to have your clear liquid bag ready to be taken out if need be, as not all terminals or security lines are guaranteed to have those new scanners.
Multiple airports in Madrid and Barcelona are expected to implement new 3D scanning technology in 2024 that will allow travelers to leave their liquids in their luggage and even carry on full-sized products. However, as of now, the standard 3-1-1 rules apply.
When traveling through Spanish airports, have your one transparent, quart-sized bag at the ready to pull out for individual scanning, and be sure each product is travel-sized.
If you need more help packing for this region, review our Ultimate Spain Guide!
London Heathrow abides by the traditional 3-1-1 rule, and readers say it’s one of the strictest airports in Europe. LHR (as well as Gatwick) states that your liquids must be carried in a transparent and resealable bag that’s no larger than 20 cm x 2 0cm (8 in x 8 in) and can be closed with everything inside. Many readers report being required to transfer their items to the clear bags provided by these airports while others reported having no issues using their own clear bags.
London City Airport has fully adopted new scanning technology that actually removes the 100 ml/3.4 oz liquid limit, allowing travelers to carry liquids of any size, as long as they stay under 2 liters altogether.
And at other UK airports, while new scanning technology is in the works, for now, you’ll need to make sure your liquids are in a single, clear, quart-sized bag.
If you need more help packing for this country, review our London Packing Guide!
In Dublin and most other airports in Ireland, the usual TSA rules for liquids are enforced, and you’ll need to present your liquids bag when going through the screening. As long as your toiletry bag is transparent, resealable, and no bigger than 1 liter, you’re allowed to bring whatever bag you’d like.
Shannon Airport and Donegal Airport have both introduced those high-tech TSA scanners that allow liquids bigger than 100 ml/3.4 oz. This means you can bring full-sized toiletries (limited to 2 liters total) in your hand luggage! (But keep in mind that this is only when flying out of these airports.)
If you need more help packing for this region, review our Ultimate Ireland Guide!
When traveling through Scotland security, you’ll need to present your clear, resealable bag for scanning. While airports in Scotland do provide 20 cm x 20 cm bags, as long as your own bag is transparent and no more than 20 cm x 20 cm (8 in x 8 in), you’ll be fine going through security with it.
If you need more help packing for this country, review our Scotland Packing Guide!
Airports in Greece require that your liquid bag be taken out of your luggage and scanned separately at security. The usual 3-1-1 rules apply, including the bag being transparent and resealable.
If you need more help packing for this region, review our Athens Packing Guide for Greece!
When flying through Austria, standard 3-1-1 rules apply. Your 1-liter (max) bag will need to be taken out when going through security.
If you need more help packing for this region, review our Austria Packing Guide!
In Germany, follow the standard 3-1-1 rules and have your bag handy for when you pass through security. You’ll be required to take it out at every German airport except for Frankfurt.
Frankfurt Airport now has many high-tech scanners that not only allow passengers to leave their liquids inside their luggage but also make the scanning process so much quicker! But remember that the size limits still apply.
If you need more help packing for this country, review our Germany Packing Guide!
Swiss airlines require that your travel-sized liquids be stored in a clear, resealable plastic bag that has a max capacity of 1 liter. Additionally, it will have to be presented at the security check, so make sure it’s easy to access. The airports will provide plastic bags if need be.
If you need more help packing for this region, review our Switzerland Packing Guide!
Your liquids must all be kept in a clear, resealable bag with a capacity of no more than 1 liter when traveling through Belgium. All items must be travel-sized, and the bag should close easily with everything inside. The bag will need to be taken out of your luggage and screened separately.
The rules in Danish airports are the same as above. You’ll need to ensure your liquids are packed in accordance with the 3-1-1 and clear bag policies, and you’ll need to present your bag separately when going through security.
If you need more help packing for this area of Europe, review our Denmark Packing Guide!
Schiphol Airport, the main international airport in Amsterdam, has switched over to CT scanners which allow travelers to leave their liquids (and laptops/electronics) inside their bags when going through security. But the 3-1-1 rule for the amount of liquids allowed still applies.
If you’re traveling through any of the smaller Dutch airports, be sure to abide by the usual 3-1-1 rules and be ready to take your clear bag out at security.
If you need more help packing for this country, review our Netherlands Packing Guide!
Airports in Portugal require that you keep your liquids in a clear plastic bag with max dimensions of 20 cm x 20 cm (8 in x 8 in). You can have as many 100 ml/3.4 oz items inside as long as the bag can be completely sealed.
Your liquids bag will have to be scanned separately from your luggage, as well.
If you need more help packing for this region of Europe, review our Lisbon Packing Guide!
The liquid rules in Hungary state that you must present a clear, resealable bag separate from your luggage when going through security. The size of the bag has to be, at maximum, either 20.5cm x 20.5cm or 25cm x 15cm. In addition, the bag will need to be screened separately from your luggage.
For more European packing guides, check out our full destination page!
The usual 3-1-1 rules also apply in the Czech Republic. You’ll have to pull out your liquid bag for the security check, so keep it handy. Plastic bags are provided at the airports as well.
Prague Airport will soon be using CT scanners which will allow both liquids and electronics to stay in the luggage during scanning, and it’ll also increase the 100 ml/3.4 oz limits. But for now, adhere to the rules above.
If you need more help packing for this country, review our Prague Packing Guide!
Product Comparison Chart
|BRAND | MODEL
|FEATURES | REVIEWS
|RATING | PRICE
|EzPacking Clear TSA Approved 3-1-1 Travel Toiletry Bag
|A clear bag is a must to ensure a smooth and hassle-free airport experience.
|Cableinthebay TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag
|It’s wise to bring your own clear bag that’ll keep your toiletries organized and clean!
|Paylak Stackable Travel Container
|Items like foundations, creams, gels, and other thick products still count as liquids and will need to go in your 3-1-1 bag.
|Accmor 20 Pieces Empty Clear Plastic Sample Containers with Lids
|Around 1 or 2 oz, handy little pots will save SO much space in your bag.
|HiBAR Shampoo and Conditioner Bar Set
|One of the most efficient ways to downsize your liquid toiletries is to simply switch them over to a non-liquid version.
|The Original Erase All Makeup
|A makeup remover towel gently removes your makeup (even waterproof makeup!) with just a bit of water.
|humangear GoToob Travel Bottle
|They’re durable yet soft, making them easier to pack and less prone to breaking in transit than the hard, plastic alternatives.
|Teapile Leak Proof Travel Accessories Containers
|This travel set comes in a TSA-approved clear bag and also has toothbrush covers and a spray bottle!
|Kitsch Toiletry Pouch Set
|They’re super slim, flexible, and easy to pack while being sturdy and leakproof.
|YASUOA 12 Pieces Travel Size Refillable Empty Squeeze Pouch
|With a set like this, you can pick and choose how many containers will work to fit the 3-1-1 rule.
|Neutrogena Beach Defense Water-Resistant Sunscreen Stick
|To save space in your luggage, simply buy products at your destination, especially bigger ones like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and sunscreen.
|Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, Face Cream & Makeup Primer
|If you’re heading to Paris, readers RAVE about French pharmacies — they have amazing products at really affordable prices!
|BAGSMART Toiletries Travel Bag
|A lot of readers like to load their liquid toiletries back into a single toiletry bag to make the rest of their trip simpler.
|Narwey Beige Toiletry Bag
|Having all of your toiletries in one place is definitely the way to go so that nothing is misplaced and everything is ultra-organized!
What are your tips to achieve the 3-1-1 policy while traveling in Europe? Share with us in the comments!
For more toiletry travel tips, please read:
- How Can I Downsize Toiletries to Fit a Carry-On Bag?
- How to Pack Creams, Toners, Foundation, and Other Liquids
- How to Downsize Toiletries: Save Space in Your Carry-On
- Best Inflight Skincare Products to Pamper Yourself On Board
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