Planning an adult trip away should be (almost) as much fun as the trip itself, but figuring out how to get sex toys through airport security is pretty daunting if you haven’t done it before. After all, it’s not like you can just ring up a travel agent and get their top tips.
Everyone deserves a fulfilling sex life, so if you do want to take your sex toys on vacation there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. That said, there are a few things to bear in mind if you want to keep your toys safe and save yourself some red-faced stress on the security line. To help you plan ahead, here’s everything you need to know about taking sex toys with you on your next trip away.
1. Keep your toys clean and safe.
Rule number one: Keep your toys wrapped up in a cloth or drawstring bag. You don’t want something that’s destined for intimate use to be collecting dust and crumbs at the bottom of your suitcase — or worse, snuggled up against your shoes.
It’s also a good idea to keep things tucked away just in case security needs to search your luggage. Random spot checks are rare — but they do happen, so keep everything under wraps and away from prying eyes. Most toys come with their own bags, but if you’re in the market for a new one and want something a little different, then check out Etsy for a range of colorful velvet and lace options.
You also need to keep your toys wrapped up because some plastics react when they come into contact with each other. Silicone famously doesn’t like other silicone (including silicone-based lube), and most porous jelly toys warp when they’re stored next to each other. Rather than risking it, keep all your plastic toys separate, and don’t put them in a Tupperware container or plastic bag. Otherwise, you might end up with something that looks a little like a melted gummy bear by the end of your trip.
2. Buy travel-friendly versions of your favorites.
Space isn’t so much of an issue if you’re checking your bag in, but if you’re just taking hand luggage then you’ll need to get creative with your packing.
Bullets, small butt plugs, and cock rings are compact and can be popped in your suitcase without too much of a bother. You can also get mini versions of your favorite vibrators, including the magic wand. If you’re a guy and you want to take a Fleshlight, then consider swapping it for a sleeve — they offer the same sensation, but without the bulky, hard plastic shell (and they’re less obvious-looking in the event of a bag search).
You may also want to take your cheaper toys on holiday, just in case you lose something, or it gets damaged on the journey over. You don’t want your brand-new $100 vibrator breaking en route.
3. Plan ahead with a sex toy checklist.
Taking battery-powered toys? Pack spare batteries. Taking a mains-powered vibrator? Take an adaptor. Taking a rechargeable toy? Top it up before you leave. It sounds like common sense, but it’s so easy to overlook these things when you’re caught up in the excitement of planning your trip.
Other things to add to your checklist include lube and sex toy cleaner — which you should use both before you travel (just in case security does go through your bag), and before you actually use the toy itself.
4. Don’t forget to take out the batteries.
We’ve all heard horror stories about some poor lady’s vibrator spontaneously going off in a suitcase. The chances of this happening to you are slim (most vibrating toys have a travel lock option — use it!) but it’s better to be safe than red-faced. Another reason you should whip those batteries out pre-flight, and any other time you’re not using it, is that leaving them in can corrode the toy and drain the battery life.
Most batteries are okay for air travel, but some airlines have restrictions on alkaline batteries — including AAA and AA, the most popular batteries used in sex toys — going into the hold. Just to be safe, put them in your carry-on.
5. Double check the airline’s rules on liquids.
If you’re taking lube, then it’s fine to put it in your checked bag. If you’re only taking hand luggage, then make sure it’s 100 milliliters/3.4 ounces or under. Anything over that and you’ll have to hand it over to security to dispose of — and that includes a 250-milliliter bottle that’s only half-full.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the plastic bags you put all your liquids in at security are see-through, so if you don’t want your fellow travelers to see what you’ve got in there, then either take the label off or pour it into a smaller container. And don’t forget to put the lube lid on tightly — bottles have a habit of popping open on planes.
6. Be careful about bondage.
Bondage items are a little trickier to take on vacation. Whips, floggers, and paddles could be classed as self-defense items and confiscated, so unless you’re willing to take that chance, leave them in the bedroom.
Handcuffs, rope, nipple clamps, and hoods are usually considered okay, so store them next to each other and if possible, put them in their original branded bags and add labels to let security know what each item is. These should all go in your checked luggage though, not your hand luggage. Be warned: They may be confiscated. It’s a risk that’s yours to take.
If you have to take bondage items with you in your hand luggage, then choose carefully: blindfolds, feather ticklers, and bondage tape should be okay as they’re non-threatening, but be aware that it’s up to the discretion of the airline. If questioned, just breathe, smile, and calmly tell security they’re personal items and keep your head held high. They’ve seen it all before.
7. Opt for discrete-looking toys.
If you’re worried about the x-ray machine picking out the shape of something unmistakably x-rated, then invest in a toy that doesn’t look like a sex toy.
Obviously, if you’re taking a dildo, then there’s not much escape — but for vibrators, there are plenty on the market that don’t have that famous “rabbit” shape, including ones that look like a necklace, a USB stick, and a body massager. Although bear in mind, if your vibrator looks too obscure, or like a weapon, security might freak out and chuck it. To be safe, put it in the original packaging and label it.
Also, if you’re taking Viagra, then put it in a secure, preferably zipped compartment of your bag where it has no chance of making an escape. You don’t want a load of universally recognized little blue pills flying all over the place while you’re trying to pull your jumper out of your bag. It does happen.
8. Check if your toys are legal on the other side.
Sexual customs vary wildly around the world, so save yourself the headache of getting your toys binned at security and double check the rules. Some countries completely prohibit adult toys and porn, including Thailand, India, Vietnam, the Maldives, and Malaysia. If you live in the US, then you’ll be fine in every state except Alabama, where the sale of sex toys is a criminal offense.
If the worst happens and your luggage is detained or your bag is searched, be honest and stay confident: You’ve done nothing wrong. You’re also entitled to ask for a private screening with more than one agent present. In the unlikely event that you encounter unprofessional conduct, contact your local embassy and make a formal complaint. Remember: No one should ever be shamed for enjoying a healthy sex life.