I was on a long plane ride from Australia to Abu Dhabi this week watching ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ by my favourite director, Wes Anderson. Star of the movie is the fictional Mister Gustav H., who his supporting star says is ‘the most liberally perfumed man I have ever encountered’. I’d decided to leave my cologne at home for this trip, (Hugo Boss if you’re wondering, not Gustav H’s L’Air De Panache!) but it did get me wondering, can you take cologne or perfume on a plane?
Yes, you can bring cologne or perfume on a plane, but you’ll have to make sure it meets the liquid restrictions if you want to take it in hand luggage. Remember, these restrictions are about the container size, not the amount of liquid so you may have to decant to a smaller bottle to get through customs.
For the rest of this article, I am going to refer to both perfume and cologne just as cologne for simplicity, but the same rules apply for both.
Can You Bring Cologne on a Plane?
Yes you can bring cologne on a plane, but if it is to go in your hand luggage there are some restrictions.
Cologne is treated no differently to any other liquid, therefore it is has to meet the liquid requirements of bring less that 3.4oz or under 100ml.
Can You Bring Cologne in Checked Baggage?
Yes you can take cologne in checked baggage without any restrictions.
The main watch out would be that the bottle is well protected and the lid on firmly as cologne bottles have a nasty habit of leaking. Further down in the article I recommend some silicon travel bottles which can help with this.
Oh, and one further, quite niche restriction is below. Probably best not to take cologne bottles which look like a hand grenade!
Can You Bring Cologne in Hand Luggage?
Yes you can bring cologne in hand baggage, but to do so it has to meet the liquid size restrictions of 3.4oz or 100ml.
Remember it’s not the amount of liquid that matters, but the size of the container, so if you’ve been gifted a big bottle of cologne it will get taken from you, even if there is only a small amount left.
Your main option if this is the case is to transfer the cologne into a smaller container such as the ones below. Silicon containers are reusable and squidgy allowing you to get liquid out right to the bottom.
- Leakage Proof Travel Bottles: with three layers leak proof design it prevents liquid leakage or spillage, offers protection to your luggage and cloths without making a mess. Soft silicone tubes are...
- TSA Carry on Approved: 4 pack 2 ounce silicone travel bottles, perfect for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, hand sanitizer, shower gel. Packed with a high quality zippered clear toiletry bag,...
How Much Cologne Can You Bring on a Plane?
In checked baggage there is no limit on liquid other than alcohol so, in theory, you can bring as much cologne as you like.
In hand luggage the limit on any liquid is 100ml or 3.4Oz.
When it comes to duty-free allowance, this differs by countries, with some having a specific limit on cologne and others having limits on the value of goos you can bring in. WorldDutyFree.com has a list of all these allowances by country.
Do the Same Rules Apply To Duty-Free Cologne?
No, the same size limits don’t apply to duty-free cologne, but only on the first flight you take.
If you are have a further connecting flight, the cologne will need to be able to fit into your hand luggage for the next flight and meet the liquid limits. The removal of limits for duty-free only count for the very next flight you are on.
Is Duty-Free Cologne Cheaper?
According to GodSaveThePoints.com cologne and perfume are some of the best value buys in duty-free.
In the UK, the tax on cologne is 20%, so this will be automatically saved. Be careful, on the price comparisons though, because duty-free shops will often use the ‘recommended retail price’ as a comparison, a price that is rarely charged on the high street.
A simple solution is just to look up the product on Amazon to see if what you’re getting is a good deal.
What Alternatives Are Available?
If you’re looking for an alternative to taking cologne on a plane because you’re concerned about the liquid restrictions, then consider getting solid cologne instead, which isn’t subject to the same limits.
Solid cologne is more like a bar of soap, which makes it convenient for flying both because of the liquid limits and the lack of leaking from bottles.
- Concentrated cologne balm melts in your fingertips for precision scent application.
- Traveling tin is perfect for leather briefcases, gym bags, or desk drawers.
Transferring to Smaller Bottles
If you want to take your favourite cologne in hand luggage your best bet is probably to transfer it into a smaller bottle.
Amazon sell atomisers which are perfect not just for travel, but also to keep in the car or your work bag.
- Spray bottles Capacity : 5ml/0.2oz/pcs. 5 pcs per set, Clear Vial Inside to easily see how much perfume remains. Wide use: Perfect for storing your perfume, cologne,aftershave, makeup remover and so...
- Special design: Refillable perfume spray with easy pump-to-fill technology In 5 different colors (black, Silver,pink,gold,purple), good for you to carry or organise your different fragrances.
Bring Tester Pots
Another option if you’re not too picky about your cologne brand is to bring tester pots instead. These can usually be purchased in packs of three to five with multiple different brands inside. These are perfect for travel as they meet the smaller liquid limits and you’re not going to be too annoyed if one goes missing.
I hope you’ve found this post useful. It’s a simple one, but I’ve done my best to bring all the information together in one place.
The main aim of this site is to help people slot extended periods of travel into their careers, to learn more click here for all my best articles on the subject of sabbaticals.
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