Tripping on Travel With Sex Toys
Dear Leather and Lace Spice: My husband and I wonder if you have any advice for your readers about how to travel with sex (adult) toys toys? We are planning a romantic second honeymoon and would like to bring some sex toys with us. But we’re just taking carry-on bags and I’m kind of tripping on traveling safely with sex toys that aren’t in checked bags. We are worried that the TSA will search our suitcases and either confiscate them, or at the very least, cause us some embarrassment. Do you have any suggestions on how to travel with “adult” items, especially when flying?
Alison’s View: Many of our readers want to know if it is ok to travel with sex toys and we are asked this type of question quite often. There was a widely publicized news item not too long ago about a woman who checked her suitcase with some vibrators in it. When she got to her destination and opened up her bag, she found a personal note from a TSA agent inside that said: “Get your freak on, girl!” The woman was surprised, but she wasn’t really offended. She did report this, and the agent who scribbled that comment on an official search notice was supposedly fired.
If the idea of someone searching your bags is mortifying to you and worse you will be subjected to someone inspecting your carry-on luggage, whipping out your sex toys, waving them around and questioning you (and they’ll make you turn everything on while you silently, squirm) is even worse, it might be best to purchase them at your destination, or have a very good sense of humor!
If you choose to travel with adult items, especially when flying or visiting friends and family, you need to be able to have the courage to stand proud. They’re not illegal to carry on board an airplane (at least, not yet). The obvious first thing to do is remove the batteries so the devices won’t turn on, before they are supposed to turn you on, later on! It also ensures that the batteries won’t leak while in transit. Look for adult toys that have a locking feature, such as the ones by LELO. Whether you check your bags or take them on board, it makes sense to carefully pack your “toys” in a padded or protective, cloth bag, layered in-between your clothes not just to protect them, but to make them less obvious. Toys in a bag at least gives you some extra time to explain to the TSA agent what they’re about to see. That might be enough for them to understand that it’s not a security risk, and they might not pull everything out to inspect them. Obviously, if you are bringing anything liquid (e.g. lube or massage oil) and you’re taking a carry-on, you’ve got to fit that lube into the clear quart-sized bag, but at least there it will be masked by other “liquid” items, as long as it is less than 3 ounces. It is the container size that matters, so even if the bottle is half empty, if the the container is more than the standard size, the TSA will confiscate it and throw it away.
Once at your destination, play away! But while some families and friends respect total privacy, others do not. So if you’re traveling to someone else’s home, keep your toys quiet and discreet. Leave the big, noisy, showy stuff at home. This will stop raised eyebrows when youngsters enter your room and search uninvited through your things, and then bring your vibrator downstairs to exclaim in front of your entire clan: “Auntie, what is this for?! ”
The TSA agents probably have seen a lot worse than your tube of lube, or your adult toys. But if you are singled out at security, just act like it’s no big deal, and they will do the same. If your friends and family find your adult stuff, remember that it was your choice to bring it, so it’s best not to make a big deal out of it, look sheepish, or apologize. This may seem like common sense advice, but the right attitude and preparation can make traveling with sex toys even more satisfying!
Tony’s View: There can be issues when traveling with sex toys, but you can minimize the risk. I personally wouldn’t travel with rechargeable toys. You have to worry about the cords, and you have to worry about recharging them at your destination. Those cords can raise eyebrows with security, and if your expensive rechargeable gets confiscated, you are going to be out a lot more money than if you just lost a standard, battery operated toy. As to traveling with battery operated toys, don’t take the batteries, just pick them up at your destination. The TSA is worried about the X-ray signature, and toys without batteries have very little X-ray signatures and therefore aren’t so likely to attract attention. Dildos are another matter. The rules is that if something can be used as a weapon, you cannot carry it on board an airplane. Therefore, something that is 8 or 9 inches long and plastic or even Lucite, it won’t be a problem. But something that is 8 or 9 inches long and that is glass, is. And don’t even think about taking your 18″ double-ended, because it can be used as a club!
Just so you know, even though the TSA people might have read all three books of the “50 Shades” trilogy, they’re still going to be very unforgiving about bondage gear in your carry-on bag. So leave those things at home or get what you want at your destination, or ship it back and forth.
When traveling with liquids such as lubricants and massage oils, especially in carry on luggage, I tend to repackage them in the small hand sanitizer bottles that you can pick up at any drugstore or even empty travel size bottles you can get at the drugstore. If you want to minimize your chances of search, lay out your condoms side by side don’t stack them. When stacked, the aluminum foil presents and much larger X-ray signature than when they are flat.
Ask yourself whether or not you really need something before you pack it. And if you think it might be a problem to pack, you can always consider ordering it and shipping it to your destination. If it’s not expensive, you might just enjoy it on your trip, and leave it behind when you’re ready to go home, or ship it home but not carry it with you in your luggage.
Have a great trip!