Flying / Traveling with your Vape Device: What You Need to Know
Whether you’re packing for your next business trip or your annual family vacation, packing can be a little overwhelming. When you’re caught up between grabbing all of your toiletries, ensuring you packed enough underwear, and making sure you packed all the appropriate chargers, the last thing anyone wants to do is read through the TSA’s latest rules and regulations.
PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this article is for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as legal advice or counsel, or as instructions on what you should or can do as it relates to traveling with your vape on airlines or by other modalities. TSA and airline regulations and laws are in a constant state of flux, and we cannot, nor do we, guarantee that any of the information in this article is accurate or up to date with current regulations.
TSA – Fear Mongering at its Best
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) easily induces fear and anxiety among travelers. When you’re traveling with vape devices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and even frightened at the thought of being searched by airport TSA and your device being mistaken for something that it is not.
We’re here to tell you that traveling with vaping devices, and non-cannabis oils, juices or concentrates isn’t as overwhelming, or as risky, as it seems! We’ve read the most up to date TSA regulations and searched the internet for tips and testimonials in order to put together this trusty guide to help put you at ease.
Making the decision to travel with or simply buy a new vape upon arrival is something most of us vape users contemplate when traveling by air. But instead of leaving your non-cannabis oils, concentrates, and wax behind, you can tuck them away in your carry-on and avoid having to re-purchase items you already own.
Before you go: Shop All Hemper Vapes
From airport travel to trains and even road trips, we have you covered!
Before jumping into our helpful tips, it’s important we define the duties of TSA agents and security personnel at train stations.
Whether you’re flying or taking a train, airport TSA and train station personnel have one common priority: to ensure passengers do not pack items that may potentially result in equipment failure, explosions, or other related accidents.
Related: Top 10 On The Go Pipes
Established a mere eight days after 9/11, the TSA’s number one priority is to screen for items that may lead to aviation accidents and terrorist attacks. These items include flammable fluids, bombs, other explosives, and weapons. Put simply, the TSA does not actively search for vape kits or e-juices.
NOTE: Traveling with cannabis, dry herb or other cannabis related substrates is (last we checked) illegal at the Federal level. As such, if you primarily utilize your vape device for enjoying dry herbs, we suggest that you leave the herbs behind and simply travel with an EMPTY device only.
After purchasing your flight, or train tickets, packing is the next step. When packing your vape device or unit, always opt for your carry on. Although this may seem risky, packing your vape kit in checked luggage can be asking for trouble.
Packing – Best Practices for Safety and Portability
Your kit’s battery is an electronic component. It is hazardous to pack electronics in your checked luggage lest they cause airplane malfunction. Just like you wouldn’t pack any of your electronics in your checked luggage, you shouldn’t pack your vape kit in there either. Ultimately, packing your vape kit in your carry-on makes for a safer flight!
Read More About Smoking With Discreet Devices
When packing all of your vaping essentials, there are a few TSA rules you must comply with. For example, if you’re packing e-juices to bring with you on a flight, ensure they are less than 100 mL in volume and remember to place them in a plastic bag along with the rest of your liquids.
If you’re packing e-juice bottles, we recommend opting for options made with plastic. If you prefer glass e-juice bottles, don’t be afraid to wrap them in cloth, bubble wrap, or in a light layer of a different protective material.
Learn More: Tips for smoking in a hotel
Remember, TSA agents are humans. Humans are curious (some more than others). If you’re met by a curious TSA agent who asks you to remove any protective casing from your e-juice bottles, comply. If you’re asked any follow-up questions, it’s entirely up to you to decide how specific you’d like to be.
Saying “It’s e-juice for my vape” will cause you no more trouble than simply saying “It’s my oil.” Remember, TSA agents aren’t there to look for or ban you from taking a perfectly legal vape device on your trip…they just want to ensure the device doesn’t pose a safety hazard.
Once you’ve properly packed away your e-juice (if you even want to bother brining any), next up on the agenda is emptying your vape device’s tank. We do NOT suggest traveling with a vaporizer that has liquids in the tank.
With the constant pressure changes in plane cabins, leaking tanks could be a problem. To avoid a messy inconvenience, empty your tanks before boarding your flight. Disposable e-cigarettes are another option. Instead of packing your usual tank, consider bringing disposable e-cigarettes; they never leak!
Now that you’ve measured and bagged your liquids, emptied your tanks, and made sure you didn’t accidentally place your battery in your checked bag, it’s time to decide where – and how – you’re going to pack your vape kit in your carry-on.
Strategic Placement of Vape Devices and Products
Strategically concealing your kit within the contents of your carry-on makes it easier to coast through TSA. Travelers who opt for this technique prefer not to make TSA aware of the presence of their vape kits. We do not endorse nor encourage “hiding” of your device…but we also respect that some individuals would prefer to help protect their privacy.
And as a reminder, traveling with your device is ok.
Here are a Few Techniques we Others Have Reported Using Online:
- Instead of packing all of your clothing in your checked luggage, pack a few items in your carry-on. Whether you choose jeans, undergarments, or shoes, tucking your vape kit away in layers of clothes makes it easier for your kit to go entirely unnoticed by TSA. If this is your preferred method, it’s always best to store your vape kit in a secure case and roll it inside an article of clothing.
- Invest in a carry-on bag with discreet pockets. Instead of hiding your vape kit within your clothes, a bag with discreet pockets makes hiding your vape a little easier.
Questions to Anticipate
Even after you’ve discreetly packed your vape, there’s a possibility TSA will ask you questions if they come across your kit. Although explaining why you’ve decided to conceal your kit may be a little awkward, don’t be nervous! TSA has bigger fish to fry, and with the growing popularity of vaping it is highly likely these agents know full and well what your device is and what it does. They are likely more so concerned with making sure you are not brining on or attempting to transport any illegal drugs to use with your vape (this includes cannabis as it is illegal at the Federal level).
Calmly explain what your kit is and why you decided to conceal it. Here are some of our favorite answers!Related: How to Hide The Smell of Smoke
- “This is my vape kit. I wanted to make sure it was carefully packed to avoid anything from breaking or leaking.”
- “I like to be discreet when traveling with my vape.”
- “That’s my electronic cigarette.”
Although these are answers are likely to please TSA, remember, stay calm and continue to cooperate if an agent has additional questions. They are there to help, not hinder.
Often, travelers will pack a tobacco product and opt to tell TSA agents that they’re traveling with an e-cigarette. This is also an answer we stand behind. Odds are, your TSA agent won’t be able to tell the difference. Remember, do what makes you most comfortable and always follow the rules and regulations. This way, if you’re asked questions, you’re able to answer calmly and correctly, knowing that you’re in the right.
Other travelers prefer to pack their vape essentials at the very top of their carry-on. This packing method tells TSA that you’re an open book. You’re not doing anything wrong and you know it. Although you’re more likely to be briefly questioned by TSA, you won’t have to explain why you decided to hide your kit among the rest of your belongings.
Knowing the Rules Helps
After your bags have been packed, it’s time to head to the airport or train station! Before your departing flight, or train, it’s important you know the rules of your departing and arrival airport, city, and state if you’re flying domestically. Knowing the rules will ensure you’re easily able to get through TSA and other security.
Remember, just because something is legal at the state level, does NOT mean it is legal at the federal level. And as it relates to airlines, they fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (keyword = Federal).
For example, recreational cannabis is legal in the state of Colorado; however, it is not allowed inside Denver International Airport.
We’re not lawyers, nor representatives of the government. As such we’re not qualified, nor do we offer any legal advice on what you can and cannot carry across state lines or on airlines. We highly suggest you do you own due diligence and make sure you are up to date on the latest regulations and laws. The legal landscape as it pertains to dry herbs and cannabis related substrates for your vape devices is rapidly evolving.
Worst Case Scenario Situations
Some TSA agents may be overly cautious when it comes to vape devices. They may have heard of battery explosions and fires from malfunctioning devices. If this is the case one of a few things might happen:
- They may ask you to check your device versus carry on
- They may ask you to remove the battery from the device (if possible) and dispose of it before taking you device on the plane
- They may tell you that you either need to dispose of the device or not board
- They may outright confiscate the device
As you can see, none of the above are anyone’s idea of a great time, but in the event that they take issue with your device it most likely won’t be the end of the world either. And in the majority of cases you’ll be able to travel just fine with your device, no questions asked.
Cannabis at your Destination – the legal way
Presuming the state you landed in allows the use of medical (with a card) or recreational cannabis, one of your top priorities is going to be locating some herb for the duration of your stay.
Read more about Medical & Recreational Marijuana
Closing Thoughts - Follow the Rules & Be Prepared
Whether you’re travelling domestically or internationally, by plane, train, or car/bus, don’t travel with cannabis. If you do have a medical card, pack it anyway in case the state or country you are traveling to will recognize that card as authority to partake in cannabis related substrates for your device. This may not be the case, but it never hurts to be prepared.
Remember, e-juices and non-cannabis related oils and other substrates are ok to travel with, so long as you follow other rules like the amount of liquid you can bring aboard, etc. But no matter if the state you are in or traveling to allows cannabis (medical or recreational), it is still illegal at the Federal level and you cannot travel with it on a plane.
When traveling via train or bus, remember to follow the same packing procedures for air travel. Keep all of your vape kit components in your carry-on. Packing anything in your checked luggage will make your kit susceptible to breaking, and remember to empty your device tanks to prevent leaks.
PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this article is for informational and educational purposes. Nothing in this article is to be construed as legal advice or counsel, or as instructions on what you should or can do as it relates to traveling with your vape on airlines. TSA and airline regulations and laws are in a constant state of flux, and we cannot nor guarantee that any of the information in this article is accurate or up to date with current regulations.