We just got back from our first (but not last) international trip of the year – Jamaica, baby! I actually earned the trip from doTERRA for being awesome. True story. 😉 And it was amazing to hang with 600 other like-minded, heart-centered, and fun-loving oil freaks like us. Many Dirty Bananas were consumed.
I had a lot of questions on what essential oils I took with me, but more than anything, whether or not traveling with essential oils is possible or difficult, especially internationally, so I wanted to share my experiences. I actually travel quite a bit. Even when we were on the road in the RV, we would fly back to see family. And I fly out to different areas where our team is growing to help teach oil classes, as well as attend the essential oil convention and certain training and Leadership retreats each year.
But I also just love to travel. This year we have a trip planned to Belgium for a month, and we’re thinking about Mexico after that. Travel is in my blood, and I can’t stay settled without knowing I have an adventure on the horizon. Unfortunately with travel comes concerns too: clean water, bad food, restless sleep in a hotel bed, uncomfortable plane rides. So I absolutely won’t go anywhere without my oils. Can you imagine? I’d be a wreck. Or a raving B. Also a true story.
What Essential Oils to Travel With
This obviously varies on what you use and where you’re going. But the pic above is a peek into my travel case for Jamaica. I use to bring all my oils (no joke), but when you like to venture off the beaten path, carrying less is important, so I’ve cut it down to just the essentials. (Heh. Get it? Essentials?) From the upper left to right, here’s what’s inside:
- Deep Blue roll-on: I carry this for sore muscles and hips from long flights.
- Bergamot: It’s my happy oil. I wear it in a pendant. Because I can get cranky (I know you’re shocked by this) I smell it from my necklace as needed. It’s also good for a drop in tea to calm a nervous belly.
- White Fir: While I love my Deep Blue, White Fir is Justin’s favorite oil for tired muscles and butts.
- Arborvitae: The! best! bug! repellant! in! the! world! Justin also uses it for his deodorant, which is a good thing since he’s a bug magnet.
- Elevation: Again, a happy oil. It’s also good for energy boosts.
- Lavender: In case of any minor skin irritation, bug bites, to help us get comfortable in lumpy hostel beds, and most importantly after-sun care. I wish I had remembered my Helichrysum, because those two together are SO good for skin care.
- Frankincense: Because when it doubt, call Frank.
- Breathe (the oil and the blue throat drops in the middle): Just in case of any environmental discomfort that can occur on airplanes. We didn’t need it, thankfully.
- Balance: Flying, lots of people, crazy-scary taxi drivers who do 100kph around mountain curves…basically anything that leaves me overwhelmed, scattered, exhausted, or absolutely terrified of my imminent demise at the hands of the Death Cab, and I use this blend to settle me back down.
- DigestZen: Between questionable water and heavy (or questionable) food – and yeah, too much alcohol once or twice – this one saw the most action for settling occasional stomach upset.
- OnGuard throat drops: These are the gold looking candy-like things in the middle. We brought these along to support our immune system. We like to pop either the OnGuard or Breathe throat drops when we board a plane. (Sucking on something also helps our ears acclimate to pressure changes.)
What did we use the most of? Lavender, for sure. I forgot sunscreen on my face the first few days; my nose was soothed and cooled quickly and I never even peeled! So cool! After that I started using it every evening in my lotion, just in case, and even though I kept forgetting my sunscreen (no bueno!!!) I still had no issues.
Now Onto HOW to Travel with Essential Oils
We never have any issues on the plane or going through security, and I always carry-on. I have had logistics issues though, so here are my recommends for both safe travel with essential oils AND getting through security.
- I’d recommend carrying-on: Primarily for the next two bullet points, but also so they aren’t getting banged around or exposed to heat or cold in the belly of the plane.
- Make sure they’re closed super tight: It SUCKS to arrive at your hotel and realize one of your bottles leaked all over the place. This is more likely to happen with oils that have a thinner viscosity, so close them well.
- Make sure they’re sitting upright: They are more likely to spill, and citrus oils are more likely to corrode caps, if they are laying on their side or upside-down for the whole flight. I arranged the little travel bag above so it was sitting upright in my carry-on. And I put it right on top in my bag so that when I put my bag under my seat, I could adjust them to be sitting upright through the flight.
- Make sure they’re clearly labeled: They should have the original labels on them so security can see what it is and what’s in it. Yes, I realized you could theoretically put anything in any bottle, but that’s not the point. The point is that security be able to identify what the hell you have 15 small liquid bottles full of. I don’t bring my own blends in empty roller bottles. (I have brought my own blends in regularly labeled brand name bottles.)
- Make sure they are in the Ziploc bag: Just like any other liquids, if they fit in that plastic bag you’re good.
- Don’t worry about them going through the scanner: It’s harmless and doesn’t damage the oils. You CAN request they don’t scan them, but THIS is when you can get issues with security objecting to your carrying them on. You might be forced to check them and then they’ll be scanned anyway.
- Take only what you need: It’s got to fit in ONE plastic bag with all your other liquids and gels, so you might want to narrow it down to just your favorites. (I HAVE traveled with a case that was the size of a CD case and holds 64 1/4 dram vials. I had to take the foam insert with all the oils out to fit them in the plastic bag, and it was the only thing that caught the attention of security and the only time I got questioned. Now that I just travel with my favorites, I never get stopped or questioned.)
- If they ask what they are, just tell them: I’ve had security ask if they were flavors for e-cigarettes once. But 90% of them don’t ask at all. If they do? Just tell them. They’ve probably heard of essential oils. If not you’ll get the opportunity to educate them. Worst case scenario – and I know it might cause you physical pain to do so – but you could always say “they’re like perfumes”.
Because the bottles are all under the required 3 ounce limit, you will not have a problem. Like I said, multiple times each year I’m traveling with essential oils, all on different airlines and internationally, and I have zero issues. (I will add, Jamaica has been our only international trip, but once we hit a few more countries, I’ll come back and update this to assure you it’s all good elsewhere too!) See? Traveling with essential oils is easy peasy! No need for withdraws.