So you just went on the best trip ever, hit up a few wineries, bought a few bottles, decided against shipping them, and now you have to fly home. Don’t fret, your bottles can come with you.
Go ahead and put a fragile tag on your bag, but from the way I’ve seen airlines throw things in and out of cargo, that tag means nothing.
If you don’t have convenient access to bubble wrap, do your best to protect your bottles by wrapping them in your sweaters or using your shoes as barriers.
It is wise to pack your bottles snug and close together, so they have less room to roll around. You may also want to pack the bottles in the center of your suitcase, with your clothes lining the edges to act as a barrier between all the bumps and bangs your suitcase will endure.
Pro tip: Did you pack boots? Guess what fits perfectly in a boot? A wine bottle.
What works even better, of course, is using something specifically designed for this problem. The VinniBag is inflatable so you can add or take out air to make more room in your bag. A single VinniBag is $28, but a broken bottle and stained clothes is a bigger investment. Once you have a VinniBag, you’ll find more use for it than you realize.
Keep in mind, you have to keep your wine in a checked bag. Due to the TSA rule prohibiting liquid containers of more than 3.4 ounces, your drunken self attempting to carry a bottle onto the plane will not fly (see what we did there?).
For you crazies who can’t handle the idea of going without wine for the hour between arriving at the airport and getting to your gate (no judgment, we understand), some airports have wine shops like Vino Volo that are right past the security gate at dozens of airports around the U.S. You can enjoy a glass or a whole tasting to make your flight home bearable.
If flying internationally, you will need to go through customs. Through U.S. Customs, you get to travel with one liter of alcohol duty-free. The rest may potentially be subject to a 3% tax, a considerably small price.
For all future times you travel, just know yourself and assume you are going to buy wine. Plan accordingly and leave room in your suitcase, bring some bubble wrap, a Vinni Bag, or alpaca-lined Ugg boots to give your bottles a more comfortable flight home than yourself.