Are Liquids Allowed In Personal Item?

One of the things a lot of travelers like to take good advantage of are personal item bags. Some people like to pack extra items and the question of having liquids in the personal item bag comes up from time to time. We looked into this topic to find the answers for you.

Generally speaking, you are allowed to have liquids in your personal item. A traveler can carry one clear, resealable quart-size plastic bag with liquids up to 3.4 ounces. However, you can only carry liquids in your personal item if you do not have any liquids in your carry-on.

Carrying liquids during travel is important for some people, but the rules can be confusing. Fortunately, we are here to help! Keep reading this post because we will give you advice on what to put in your personal item bags, as well as other travel suggestions you might need.

A passenger holding plastic bag with liquids above container personal items, Are Liquids Allowed In Personal Item?

Are Liquids Allowed In Personal Item?

Seasoned travelers know that one of the best ways to enjoy air travel is going onboard with just a carry-on bag. This is because it allows travelers to spend less time waiting in line for bags to get checked in and having to retrieve them after the flight.

Tourist putting a toiletry bag with liquids in the suitcase

However, some people find that not everything can fit in a carry-on bag. It can also be quite difficult to take out items from a carry-on, especially if you need them quickly like travel documents or your laptop. This is where a personal item comes in.

A personal item bag is a "carry-all" bag where travelers put items that didn't fit their carry-ons or things that they need to access during the flight. These bags should be smaller than your carry-on and they should fit under the seat in front of you.

Most personal item bags come in the form of purses, laptop bags, diaper bags, or other similar bags. Most airlines will allow passengers to bring one carry-on bag and a personal item, but make sure to check their regulations before the flight.

Since personal item bags are separate bags from carry-ons, people often ask if they can bring liquids in their personal item. The answer is yes, you can bring liquids in your personal item bag as long as you are not carrying liquids in your carry-on bag.

Can I Have Liquids In Both My Personal Item And Carry-on Bag?

For those who are wondering if they can carry liquids in both their personal item bag and carry-on bag, the answer is no. Despite the fact that these two are separate bags, TSA will only allow passengers to have one liquids bag in their possession.

The TSA is pretty strict about this rule, which they implement through the screening process travelers have to go through before their flight. However, there are exceptions to this rule and there are certain considerations that allow travelers to carry liquids in their personal item.

If the liquids are medication or infant and child nourishment such as formula milk, travelers can carry these liquids outside of their 3-1-1 liquids bag. The liquid can also be more than 3 ounces, especially for the case of nourishment for children.

Travelers with medication should declare their medicines to the TSA officer to make their screening process easier. Because of the nature of these liquids, the medication can be in their personal item bag so that it can be easily accessible when necessary.

What Should I Pack In My Personal Item Bag?

Medical face mask, alcohol spray bottle, alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel, tote bag, purse, smartphone, earphone on pink background

Your personal item bag shouldn't have too many things inside it because these bags are quite small. It also wouldn't be comfortable for you to walk around with a heavy bag along with a carry-on while you are traveling.

When packing a personal item bag, always remember to stick to the necessities. It can be tempting to bring more stuff with you but consider your personal item as a bag that contains all your "must-haves" that you cannot live without.

The Basics

Wherever you're going, it's important to have the basics with you in your personal item. These are:

  • Wallet, ID, passport, and other travel documents
  • A jacket and a scarf, in case the flight gets too cold
  • A travel pillow, eye mask, ear plugs, and a travel blanket if it is a long-haul flight and you need to sleep
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses if you use them and sunglasses
  • Notebook and pen to write down anything that you need to take note of
  • A book or an e-book reader for some in-flight reading


As we have explained earlier, travelers can bring liquids with them inside their personal item bag if they don't have them in their carry-on bags already. If you are traveling with liquid toiletries, make sure that it is less than 3.4 ounces and it can fit a quart-sized clear bag.

For travelers who like to have backup toiletries or a small hygiene kit in their personal item bags, you might want to consider shifting to solid toiletry products. Items like bar shampoos, toothpaste tablets, and sunscreen sticks are some of the options you might want to try.


If you're traveling for work, you'll most likely be bringing electronics with you. Most electronics can be placed in personal item bags, as well as their accessories. Here are some electronic devices most travelers take with them on a flight:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • E-book readers
  • Phone
  • External batteries or power banks
  • Chargers for all electronic devices
  • Headphones or earbuds

Food and Drink

When traveling, it's always a good idea to bring some snacks with you. People with strict diets or allergies should also have some snacks with them to prevent health issues from happening because of the wrong snack food.

For those who are considering bringing their own snacks onboard, there are a few things to consider.

  • Make sure that the food is not smelly or spicy, as the smell can be pungent to other passengers.
  • Also, make sure it isn't perishable and you should consume all produce before you reach customs upon arrival. If not, you will have to throw out your food because of regulations.
  • Try to avoid bringing crumbly food because it can be a mess (and a pain to clean up.)
  • As much as possible, refrain from bringing nuts because it might cause severe allergic reactions to other passengers.

Check out this collapsible water bottle on Amazon.

It's also a good idea to travel with a refillable water bottle while traveling. A collapsible water bottle is great because you can keep it with you without the bulk of a regular water bottle. Fill it up with water after you go through security, right before your board your flight.

Best Bags To Use As Personal Item

The best bag to use as a personal item bag varies from person to person, depending on how comfortable they are carrying this bag during their travels. For most people, the best personal item bag is a small backpack or a great tote bag.

Small backpack

Backpack standing in front of luggage scanner at airport terminal

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A small backpack is a great personal item bag because it can carry most of your extra stuff without any issues. They also make for great daypacks during travels because they are easy to carry and it allows you to move easily without using your hands.

Tote bags

See this tote bag on Amazon.

For most female travelers, another great bag to use as a personal item is a tote bag. They are big and spacious enough to handle everything, even a laptop or tablet. They are also easy to carry around, especially if they have a strap included.

Laptop bags

Grey laptop case sitting on brown comfortable sofa protects laptop and stylish glasses

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This bag requires no explanation—it carries your laptop and other electronics, as well as your other stuff. Get one that has enough space for your extra items and turn it into your all-rounder bag.

Final Thoughts

A personal item is a great way to carry extra items with them that won't fit in a carry-on. When traveling, remember to pack your belongings as lightly as possible and bring only one liquids bag with you. With these tips in mind, you'll surely have a hassle-free, fun vacation.

Planning to travel with just a carry-on bag with you? We have a few articles that might interest you!

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