Ask around and you’ll find hundreds of different methods for dealing with anxiety while flying, but one of the things that’s hard to avoid is security.
When you’re looking to travel with any medical herbs that you have, you might think that you’re going to be in for a hassle. Thankfully, if it’s legal where you are, things should be a-okay at the airport.
Here are five tricks just in case you feel like you need help getting them through.
1. Don’t Hide
One of the things that are going to make things look suspicious or raise eyebrows unnecessarily is if you try to conceal or to hide something. Because of the way that scanning staff is trained at airports, they stop to take a look at things that are anomalous. If you take your perfectly natural and safe legal herbs on a flight jammed inside of a shampoo bottle, you’ll look suspicious.
Don’t try to shove anything into anything else in order to be safe. These tricks are frowned upon and make TSA and travel agencies distrust you. Don’t worry about the herb if you know it’s legal.
While you might worry about whether the staff knows it’s legal, but they probably already do.
If you’re carrying tea or tea bags, people know what that is. If you want to make your own tea bags, keep things closed and tightly sealed. Putting anything in a bottle requires you to seal it tightly.
Protect the things you have but don’t try to conceal things or to trick the x-ray scanner. These machines know what to look for and the people running them only take a second look when you’re making strange packing decisions.
2. Check Bulk Herbs
Just to be safe, you should always check any bulk items that you’re not sure about. If you’re going away for a very long trip or you’re heading out to share samples at a conference, put your dried plants in your checked baggage. They might have a dog sniff around to prove that it’s fine, but that eliminates a lot of the hassle.
Once you step off a plane, if they have a problem, they’ll hold you for questioning. However, if everything seems fine, they’ll let you go on your way. While this is all very inconvenient, it’s worth getting on your plane on time by putting things in checked baggage.
While a little delay when you land to look at your checked baggage is a pain, it’s much easier than being pulled out of line when you’re trying to make your flight. If they think what you’ve packed is suspicious, they can still delay your flight, but it’s less likely if you’ve put things in packed baggage.
If you travel with roots or chamomile, you might open up your bag to find a note from security. It’ll say that they looked in your bag and found nothing, but allow you to know that someone else has in fact snooped in your bag. No, you’re not crazy.
3. Use Labels
If you can start with original containers, you’ll have much better luck with air travel than a random assortment of little jars, bottles, and baggies. If you have the essential oil bottles that you started with, use those. Commercial teas should be left in their original packaging whenever possible.
Because things are cheaper in bulk, it’s tempting to travel with them in our own packaging. While taking those big jars with us is unfeasible, there are some single serve pouches and other ways to travel with it. You might have to buy single servings of the things you rely on to make things easier.
If something were homemade or travel-sized, think about how they would be packaged. If there’s no travel size option, do your best to improvise. Include the original label or make a photocopy to put on a small reusable jar.
Label things as clearly and as explicitly as possible. Liquid items are no different, as they should be labeled and it should be clear that they are what it says on the label. If it’s a lemon essential oil, it should be clearly listed, not left for the security staff to try to guess what’s inside.
4. Be Careful With Non-Solids
If all else fails, use the TSA liquid rules for essential oils. Your containers need to be less than 3.4 ounces or 100 mL if you want to travel with them as carrying on. If you have any creams or pastes, they’ll have to follow this rule as well.
Expect for TSA agents to screen things but try to be understanding. Not everyone knows as much about the herbs and treatments that you have as you do. Be patient and do your best to explain things clearly.
Traveling with medicinal herbs takes some careful planning. If your herbs have been turned into any other substance, you’ll have to label things.
5. You Can Always Mail Things
If all else fails, you can mail everything ahead of time.
Rather than dealing with bringing them through security and having to explain what everything is, your hotel can accept packages for you. It’s the next best thing you can do other than fill them in on everything related to the herbs and their info.
This makes life much easier if you’ve had to deal with security in the past being confused about what you’re carrying. Save yourself the trouble and send it in the mail. Some people will assume herbs are illicit drugs, so just avoid a headache altogether.
Medical Herbs Are Supposed to be Relaxing
If you’re stressing about your medical herbs, you’re already moving in the wrong direction. Medical herbs should be relaxing, not anxiety-inducing. However, if you follow the rules above, you should have no trouble going through the airport with them.
For help sleeping when you’re traveling, check out our latest guide for relaxing.