Skate Around TSA Liquid Rules With This Game-Changing TikTok Hack

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When it comes to matters of airport safety, the rules are the rules. We won't contest that, though we are fond of clever packing hacks and rebels in the travel space who do things a little differently, provided they aren't causing any harm. Recently, some clever social media creators have found some wiggle room to get around the notorious liquid requirement from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a protocol that's been fully ingrained in us for the last 18 years.


For a quick refresher, the 3-1-1 liquids rule stipulates that liquids, gels, creams, pastes, and aerosols must be carried in a container of 3.4 ounces or less and placed in a clear quart bag with a zip top, making it a bit tricky for carry-on enthusiasts to pack everything they need in one go. As well, only one bag of liquids is allowed per traveler.

The rule applies to liquid-like items, too, such as soup, dip, honey, syrup, canned pet food, or anything that assumes the shape of its container. Basically, if it can be spread, sprayed, or spilled, it's dubbed a liquid (sadly, we're looking at you, peanut butter). Breast milk is an exception to the TSA's 3-1-1 liquid rule, as it's considered a medically necessary liquid, but everything else is fair game for confiscation. However, creator @cocotakes says you can get around the rules with a simple hack, as told to her by a TSA agent 10 years ago.


How the travel hack works

In a short viral video on TikTok, creator @cocotakes explained that her toxic trait is consistently wanting to bring items that stretch the TSA rules. For example, for an upcoming trip, she wanted to pack overnight oats and a jar of olives for martinis at her brother's graduation. So, the night before the flight, she threw all the items into the freezer, ensuring they would be frozen by morning and, subsequently, they registered as solids at the security checkpoint. When asked if the items would melt, the creator included an update and said her items were still frozen by the time she reached the airport though, admittedly, she doesn't live too far away.


While there were some doubters, a creator named @laueinaaaa was quick to verify the claim in the comments. As a former airport employee for a year, she said the staff members were instructed to use this hack for sauces and soup in their packed lunches (yes, staff members still have to go through TSA). Another commenter named @knotyourdestinyy said she tried the freezing hack with jello shots and sailed through TSA, earning her more than 2,000 likes on the platform. You have to admit, that's dedication.

More tips for optimizing your liquids

Whether you're packing your favorite water bottle for a long-haul flight or treating yourself to a tasty souvenir to enjoy at home, the TSA says the freezing practice is kosher, so long as your items are completely frozen by the time they reach security. You can't even have a tiny bit of slush at the bottom or your items could get confiscated. To avoid any disappointment, don't pack any of your prized containers like your favorite reusable tumbler, just in case your items melt during a slowdown at airport security and are thrown away.


Thanks to other videos on social media, we found more ways to optimize your liquids. For perfumes, @portableprofessional recommends a portable atomizer to pump out your desired amount of fragrance, using the gauge on the side for reference. For makeup remover, @genxgpsy1968 says to load up your cotton balls with coconut oil, as technically liquid(ish) items that are "preloaded" no longer count as liquids anymore. Creator @theoryofsimple has a similar suggestion, saturating enough reusable makeup remover pads for the length of her trip (figure one to two per day), tossing them in a bag for the freezer, and then gently squeezing out any excess liquid right before the trip. 

For all other toiletries, a set of travel pouches will make life easy. The containers are TSA-approved, the kit comes with funnels to seamlessly transfer liquids through the wide-mouthed containers, and the material itself is leak-proof. We have to admit, we're seriously impressed with all these travel hacks.