How to Fly With Wine Without a Worry
When I was 17, I brought back 13 bottles of wine from France in one suitcase. I was lucky that none of the bottles broke since they were poorly packed and that customs didn’t take away any of the wine considering I was underage.
“It is not legal for travelers under the age of 21 to import alcohol – even as a gift.”
– US Customs & Border Protection
But I made it through and was able to give my family a wonderful taste of France!
Everyone enjoyed the specialty wines that they wouldn’t have been able to try without me because these wines weren’t sold in the US, and even if they wanted to ship them over, it would be a nightmare because of the paperwork, costs, and laws.
Fast forward 11 years, now that I’m a more responsible and smarter adult who actually appreciates wine, I would go about bringing home wine to the United States differently. Here’s how to fly with wine without a worry!
Use Specific Luggage for Wine
Instead of haphazardly throwing 13 bottles of wine in my suitcase hoping that my t-shirts and shorts would create enough of a cushion that they wouldn’t break, I would buy a specific luggage carrier for wine such as this the Wine Check Luggage.
The Wine Check Luggage holds up to 12 or 15 bottles of wine and is specifically designed to be checked onto the airplane because:
- is crush resistant and safeguards the bottles,
- maintains the temperature and pressure levels of your wine to keep it at its finest,
- meets the weight limit of 23kg (50 lbs), and
- is reusable for lots of wine trips to come!
So when you go to a vineyard, don’t be shy! Get 12-15 bottles of wine ‘cause that’s the way oenophiles (wine aficionados) do it right.
If getting 12-15 bottles seems a bit excessive, or you plan on hopping around Europe a lot, and only want to get one to bring you back to the day you tasted wine in the countryside of France, then get a single bottle protector, and nestle that baby into your luggage.
Order the Wine Luggage to Europe
If traveling with as little stuff as possible is your thing like me:
- For the first time using this, order the Wine Check Luggage to your hotel or wherever you’re staying. That way you don’t need to order before the trip and bring something else to the airport.
- For anytime after, if you don’t want to travel with a second bag, leave the styrofoam insert at home, flatten the bag, pack it in your suitcase, and order a new insert to your destination in Europe.
Either way, you’ll be traveling with only one bag to the airport and return with two, which includes the luggage with the wine.
Avoid Baggage Fees
If you are only traveling with a carry-on, and you come back with the Wine Check Luggage, then you’ll have no fees on a second bag. But if you are already traveling with a checked in bag, and the Wine Check Luggage will become your second checked in bag, you may incur a fee.
To avoid baggage fees, first research your airline’s baggage fees and rules. If your second bag will incur a fee, try doing things such as getting an airline credit card, booking a higher class ticket, upgrading your flight, packing light, maximizing your carry-on luggage, and more.
Get more details on how to avoid baggage fees on your second luggage here.
Declare the Wine
Besides being underage and bringing wine in, I didn’t declare my wine because I thought I wasn’t allowed to bring all that wine back into the US, but I was wrong! You can bring all the wine you want back as long as you declare it.
There is no limit to how much wine you can bring back as long as it’s for personal consumption and not for resale because there is no limit to alcohol with less than 24% alcohol.
However, if you bring back more than a liter of wine, there is a customs tax, which is about $1-2 per liter of wine. Considering how inexpensive but great wine from Europe is, this tax is not much at all.
Even better though, because no one wants to fill out all the papers for only a $10-20 tax, most likely, you won’t have to pay tax at all!
If you have any other questions about flying with alcohol and any duties you may have to pay? Check out this informative guide to international travel with wine bottles.
For all you wine lovers out there, how do you travel with wine? I’d love your suggestions. Comment below!
Thank for stopping by! xo.