Look, we’re all grown-ups here, so let’s be frank: Sex toys are fun, and when they’re especially good, it would be nice not to leave them behind when we’re traveling. But the world is full of sex-toy horror stories in which accidentally activated vibrators were suspected as bombs or the TSA waved someone’s personal bestie in front of a crowd of strangers.
We don’t want that to happen to you. That’s why we’ve put together a handy guide to handling your sex toys on a flight. No bomb threats. Minimal embarrassment. Super-simple.
1. Keep them from turning on
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s the easiest thing to forget. If your toy has removable batteries, take them out and replace them when you arrive. You could also slip a small piece of plastic between the battery and the connector to keep it from turning on.
If your toy doesn’t have removable batteries, try leaving it on until the battery’s drained. You can always charge it as soon as you get to your own private room again.
If neither of these seems plausible, you can tuck the toys inside a protective item — people have had success with boots, Bubble Wrap and paper towel tubes.
2. Keep them protected
In case a TSA agent does need to inspect your item further, it would be wise to have it protected so a stranger’s hands weren’t all over your toy. Put it inside a clear plastic bag that won’t get in the way of the agent’s inspection. If you’re keeping the toy inside a boot, the bag will also keep you from getting an unfortunate case of athlete’s vagina. (That’s a joke. Moving on!)
3. Leave the big guns at home
The TSA has made it clear that there’s nothing illegal about traveling with sex toys, and they are OK and permitted as a carry on. However, they do need to be less than 7 inches long, which is a rule for all “tools” brought on airplanes. The last thing you want is your metal dildo being mistaken for a club, so leave anything over 7 inches at home or ship it to yourself if you can’t be without it.
4. Keep lube in a container under 3.4 ounces
This is the case for all liquids on airplanes, and lube is no different. Look for travel-size options to keep things simple. Alternately, purchase lubricant once you’ve landed at your destination.
5. If you do get searched, be frank
You can ask to have your bag searched in private if you feel it would be more discreet, but if a TSA agent is holding your magic wand in their hand and asks you what it is, you’re better off telling them the truth. They see more toys than you probably expect.
6. Make sure your destination is toy-friendly
In many international countries, including Saudi Arabia, India and the United Arab Emirates, sex toys are still illegal. Strangely enough, Alabama also has a ban against them. Take a few moments to Google your destination before you pack.
7. If you’re bringing many toys, consider checking your bag
Although handcuffs, ties and even some whips have been approved by the TSA for carry-on, if you’re going to be nervous or embarrassed, consider checking your bag. As with earlier advice, still pack your items in plastic bags, and put them where the agent can easily reach them without having to dig through your whole pack.
8. Be wary of hotel soaps for cleaning
Soaps often contain a moisturizer of some kind, which means oil, and oil is a quick way to ruin a silicon toy. Protect your investment by packing a small container of trusted soap or purchasing some when you land.
Upgrades to consider for travel toys
Buy toys with travel-lock features
Get a sex toy that doesn’t look like one
The more innocuous-looking, the fewer questions you’re likely to get in a security screening. The Lelo Ora and the Crave are two such toys, but there are plenty out there — find one that works for you.
Get a toy with a USB port
If you’re a frequent international traveler, you know that plugs and voltages change depending on the country you’re in. A USB port on your toy makes charging via laptop simple and keeps you happy.
Consider app-supported toys
If you travel away from your sexual partner a lot, app-activated toys can be a fun way to keep the spark alive between you while you’re gone. The We-Vibe is a popular and relatively inexpensive model. But definitely save it for once you’ve landed –—you’ll probably set off alarms if you wear it through screening.